Karen Papa blue beyond consulting bay area

Karen Papa

Business Development

Karen has worn many hats at Blue Beyond, as a consultant, an account lead, our “East Coast Anchor,” and now our Head of Business Development for the past three years.

She has been working in the communications field for more than 30 years, starting at a full-service advertising/PR agency where she first learned how to translate client needs into responsive solutions. This then led her to focus on marketing to external stakeholders, and from there she came to truly appreciate the value of “inside-out” marketing – essentially brand-building through employees first.

Karen has since led the internal communications function and numerous cross-functional initiatives around employee engagement and culture change at several global organizations. She is passionate about manager effectiveness, strategic visioning, questioning the “status quo,” and working well with others.

What skills and expertise do you bring to the team?

My entire career has been focused on communications. The first half focused on reaching external stakeholders through advertising, PR and marcom, while the second half targeted employees through my work in organizational communications, employee engagement and change management. There’s been one fundamental skill that has proven critical throughout my various roles—the ability to ask good questions and interpret and translate feedback into impactful strategic recommendations.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Most rewarding to me is work that makes corporate life better for hard-working people. That might mean helping to improve the effectiveness of managers, or helping employees understand the vision of a company and how they contribute through their day-to-day work. Sometimes it’s about ensuring leaders are aligned and equipped to effectively engage their team—especially in times of change and turmoil.

What have you learned most recently?

That there’s so much yet to learn! I joined a consulting firm because I felt I learned a lot throughout an extensive career and wanted to share those learnings with others facing similar business challenges. But I’ve discovered how much I am still learning as I collaborate with clients in diverse industries facing unique challenges. To be a good consultant, I’ve learned it’s not about “telling,” but about listening, considering, examining, collaborating, partnering and working together to resolve.

What makes you proud to work at Blue Beyond?

Throughout my years in corporate leadership roles, I struggled to find a consulting partner who truly understood the unique people challenges that organizations face. One who listened well, enhanced the thoughts and capabilities of the internal team, and willingly and enthusiastically rolled up their sleeves to partner with me to find solutions and deliver positive results. When I found my ideal partner on the opposite side of the country, I couldn’t have imagined that I would help bring them (Blue Beyond) to the Northeast to support those whose shoes I’ve walked in. Every time I make an introduction that results in words like…“you’re the best consulting firm we’ve ever partnered with…” I feel really proud and even more excited to be part of such a unique and impactful team.

What is your Blue Beyond?

I found my blue beyond when I discovered Blue Beyond through a very serendipitous event. I was at a turning point in my career, the kind that has you looking not only deep within yourself, but also far into the horizon. I envisioned a place where I could do the work I love—helping employees find purpose and fulfillment in their workplace—with others who share my values, approach and business philosophies. Fundamental to that approach is a sincere desire to help businesses achieve their goals by helping employees want to do their best work.

Who or what matters most to you?

Of course my family matters most to me, but I can truly say that “people in general” matter to me. I cry when I see people cry; I’m happy when those around me seem happy. For that reason, I love surrounding myself with those who share my positive outlook on life. Yet I don’t shy away from others who struggle, probably because – deep down – I believe that I can affect them (in positive ways) rather than them having a negative effect on me. Admittedly, there’s one other person who matters a whole lot to me … and that’s me. I think you have to love and take care of yourself, in order to be able to have a positive bearing on others. I’ve been blessed to have a natural tendency to be a glass-half-full kind of person, but I most definitely take time to feed and nurture my mind and spirit. Whether its music, the shore, or the shine of a rising sun, simple pleasures matter to me and enable me to be my best self and make a difference in the lives of others.

Get to know more of our team: