When I think of a public relations professional, Karen Galanaugh is one of the first people I think of. She is a bundle of creative energy and always looking for ways to do things better. One of the highlights of the pre-tour before the NFPW conference in Idaho in 2008 was getting to know Karen’s sisters who joined us for the trip. What a great family. We had so much fun on the trip and I have enjoyed our friendship through NFPW for many years. Meet my friend, Karen Galanaugh.
Name: Karen Galanaugh, APR
City and State: Wellington, FL and Wilmington, DE
Affiliate and any leadership positions:
Delaware Press Association, NFPW National Communications Annual Contest, Director 2006-2008
Years a member of NFPW: Joined 1999
Tell us a little about you
I am the youngest of a large Irish Catholic working class family from Southwest Philadelphia. There are 24 years between me and the first born. My older siblings broke out of the neighborhood and shared interesting and diverse journeys with little sister Karen. Wow, what a ride. Among my siblings: VOGUE cover model, a celebrated artist, lesbian minister, baseball players, news guys—a weird mix of wonderful. I brought my sisters with me to the NFPW conference in Idaho a few years ago and they joined members on the tours. What a hoot.
I have been accredited in Public Relations since 1993: I had been in public relations for nine years at that point and had worked in New York City on some very high profile issues—thrown into the fire immediately after college. I am presently a member of three PRSA chapters: Philadelphia, State of Delaware, and Palm Beach. I served as president of the State of Delaware PRSA Chapter and for many years was the PRSSA (student association) professional liaison to PRSSA college students in both Philadelphia and Delaware. I loved working with the students and helping them succeed in living their dreams.
If I was not a public relations professional, I’d probably be a journalist. Funny, with the downsizing of major newspapers across the U.S., laid off journalists are filling jobs in public relations. I remember a few purist journalists who thought all PR people were “hacks.” Boy, things have changed. We are respected.
I love to learn. I feel pretty darned lucky to be in a job where every day presents a new topic and learning opportunities. PR is not boring.
Idaho pre-conference tour group near Sun Valley. Karen Galanaugh and her sisters joined the tour they are back row from left in matching hats: Lynne Kelley in white, Joyce Berger light green, NFPW member Kat Ward, Karen Galanaugh and Carole Lavin.
Any career advice you would give?
Don’t post anything on the web that you wouldn’t want your employers to see. Never betray a colleague or friend. And, listen to your heart. Learn Spanish.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to speak Spanish. Spanish language is common where I live and I want to be a part of the community.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I selected where I am living now, Wellington, Florida, the winter equestrian capital of the world. It is beautiful here and I like being around horses. If I had more money, I’d have a place at the Delaware shore too—closer to my siblings.
What book are you reading?
The Real Life MBA by Jack and Susy Welch. I am finishing my real life Masters in the Science of Management ( MSM) at Wilmington University in June. It’s been a long hard journey. My studies continued through a terrible marital separation, divorce, and move of 900 miles away to start a new life in Florida. I remember filing a class paper while on the road to Florida with my dog and cat in the back seat. Glad I had this scholastic anchor to help me focus on something positive for my future.
I am a guest lecturer at several colleges. I am told I am good at teaching, but if I ever wanted to come onboard as staff, I should have a Master’s Degree. My plan is to teach college level courses in my retirement: public relations, marketing communication, and organizational leadership.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I love horses, horse sports and just being around horses. I used to ride. I actually trained racetrack horses for other careers as hunter/jumpers and pleasure horses. I was an inner city Philadelphia kid and mucked stalls for ride time. I was a fearless hack with horsesence, but it wasn’t until I could afford formal lessons in my forties, that I began to show in regional shows. I had to stop riding because of the pull of gravity—too many falls off resistant horses, too many concussions. The doctor said, “Take up golf.” I took up tennis and eventually became a very good club player.
Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?
DPA is like a family. It’s a small world business environment and it’s nice to be a part of it. NFPW is the same. I am fond of the people I have met through NFPW.
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.