Ladies of LandCare: Karen Wilkinson

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Today is International Women’s Day! In celebration, we are featuring our Regional Vice President of the Northwest, Karen Wilkinson.

How did you get your start in the green industry?

I began my career almost three decades ago with a small landscape company. Those early years were the very best training I could have ever asked for. I was able to serve in multiple roles, learning the business from the ground up and gained a better understanding of how to grow our company while strengthening client relationships and leading teams. 

What, in your opinion, are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?

People. I’m passionate about getting to know people and understanding how to positively impact them, whether that’s a client or an employee. At the end of the day, how we make people feel is what they will remember. 

Do you have any advice for women who are currently looking for opportunities in the industry?

If you want to stand out in an industry, then the landscape profession is for you. We are at the infancy of getting the perception changed that this needs to be a male dominated workforce. It’s exciting for me to share my personal experiences on what a fulfilling career this has been. I always tell people that, currently, this is one industry in which there is never a line for the women’s restroom. I’m on a mission to change that.

Who is your role model and why?

At the start of my career, I was fortunate enough to have a strong female leader who was my coach, mentor, and became one of my closest friends. She invested the time to challenge me, stretch my own perceived limitations, and make me get comfortable with being uncomfortable. She let me know the world was not fair, and that as a woman, I would need to work harder, longer, and smarter than my male counterparts. She didn’t sugarcoat anything. I learned that I could either take her opinions as opportunities for growth or I could become defensive. Knowing that I could count on her having my back and wanting me to be successful gave me the security to be open to listening and learning.