Karen graduated from Sheffield University with a Diploma in Hospitality Management and put her minor specialty study models to excellent use working in food production and management roles for some prestigious national and global companies and in some highly demanding industries including hotels, restaurants, food production, food manufacturing, distribution, motor manufacturing, construction, trucking and vehicle repair companies.
Although her academic qualifications were the original beginning of her health and nutrition career, it was after being involved in a motorbike accident in Scotland in June 1998, that eventually lead to fueling her passion to pursue building her own successful company on moving to Winnipeg in February 2004.
The motorbike she was a passenger on flipped, and her helmet took the full force of the impact as the bike hit her in the face and split the front of her helmet. She was rushed to Aberdeen hospital and woke two days later. Karen sustained a fracture on the left side of her skull, she was left her permanently deaf in her left ear and she experienced paralysis on the left side of her face for 6 weeks which meant that she had little use of her eye and mouth. The impact also resulted in her brain hitting the front of her skull so hard, that it damaged her olfactory bulb, which left her with absolutely no sense of smell or taste.
The neurosurgeon who was responsible for her recovery was at that time one of the top neurosurgeons in the UK, and he told her that her neurological injuries were permanent and that she would never regain her sense of smell or taste. This diagnosis was devasting to her both personally and professionally as she was now left not able to enjoy food socially but it meant that her professional nutrition career suffered a huge blow.
At the time of the accident, Karen was head of food purchasing and production at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing company in the UK and the loss of vital senses relating to her profession saw her struggle to perform her job and she was laid off from her position shortly after returning to work following 3+ months of extensive rehab.
Karen and her husband Richard were very active in the health and fitness industry in the UK and were very conscious of eating a healthy diet, and on moving to Canada, they began to pursue options to move professionally into the health and fitness industry and to build a business together. Being passionate about staying current with their knowledge and expertise, they would research many different dietary protocols, and one of them was the Paleo diet. As Karen adopted a more organic diet and removed non-Paleo foods from her diet, she began to see some of her sense of taste return along with some of her sense of smell, and knowing that the body can heal itself, Karen began to wonder if she could actually "prove her neurosurgeon wrong" and was keen to see if her conditions really could improve even more.
Although Karen did not set out to reverse what her neurosurgeon said was a permanent neurological condition, and improvements happened by accident, she now tells her own personal story to groups and individuals, and uses her own recovery experience to help others to reverse disease and to reach their optimal health, through the process of a whole food diet approach and offering lifestyle strategies for health. So yes, Karen did prove her neurosurgeon wrong! And she actually did share her ongoing story with him after finding him on LinkedIn. He said that looking at the thousands of patients he has treated, that Karen is probably only 1 of 5 who have seen any significant improvements and she found it refreshing that as a medical practitioner he was open to the concept that alternative therapies and nutrition really can heal the body. Karen did have to completely re-train her taste buds over the years and has regained a considerable amount of her sense of taste, but her sense of smell is still a work in progress but she continues to work on it.
Since immigrating to Canada, Karen has spent the last decade developing her presenter knowledge and expertise and is becoming a much sort after speaker, at conferences, with private groups, corporations and food production companies. She has not only been successful at transforming the physical health of many individuals but using her certification in body image and eating disorders, she has also been able to transform clients relationship with food too.
Drawing on her animated personality, English accent, and the ability to add humour into her presentations, she delivers entertaining, stimulating and inspirational wellness talks. She finds herself not only being able to empower individuals to make nutritional and lifestyle changes, but her energy and enthusiasm, paired with her unique delivery methods, has her audiences engaged from the onset, and leaves them excited about nutrition and empowered to make a change.
After listening to one of Karen's presentations, it is virtually impossible to not leave with almost as much passion about nutrition as her. And, her audiences come away with a completely new perspective of what healthy means. But they also leave with enthusiasm for how easy her content is to understand and how easy it is to implement it into their personal and professional lives and to find that work-life balance.