Since the tragic death of her husband, Karen James has dedicated her life to giving back, both professionally and personally. She was forced into the news headlines in December 2006 when millions of people across the world waited anxiously to learn the fate of three climbers on Mount Hood. Her husband, Kelly James, was trapped in a snow cave but the “storm of the decade” prevented rescue workers from reaching him in time.
Since that time, Karen has strived to make a positive impact directing her inner pain outwardly to help others in need. In 2010, she helped lead the way to form the non-profit group www.ifyouknew.org, committed to saving children across the globe needlessly dying due to a lack of clean water. The group partners with World Vision and gives the organization 100 percent of the proceeds. Their mission is "5 Women, $5 Million, 5 Years." Since launching in fall 2010, the group has already raised more than $2.1 million in donations. Karen was recently profiled in a Dallas Morning News story for her philanthropy work and NBC 5 Dallas followed her journey to Africa. She also works with the homeless and is on the board of the Stewpot Alliance.
She has a strong background in TV news, reporting at ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates across the country. She is a public relations consultant and works with VOX Global, a public affairs firm in D.C., consulting for AT&T’s Foundation and Volunteerism Initiatives. Karen has been recognized by the FBI for her public relations campaign to protect consumers against fraud and received several awards from the Associated Press for her news reporting. She also served as AARP’s Southwest Communications Representative developing and publicizing grassroots campaigns to help pass federal and state legislation on healthcare and consumer protection initiatives.
She is an inspirational speaker, speaking to businesses, faith-based organizations and to women in maximum-security prisons across Texas. Based on the impact of her message, Karen has been invited to share her story with the women on Texas death row in Nov. 2011. She was part of Women of Faith’s 2010 West Coast Tour “Imagine,” speaking to more than 150,000 women in 14 cities with attendance ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 at each event.
Karen is the author of Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy, published and released in Nov. 2008 by Thomas Nelson, the number one Christian publisher in the world. She worked closely with law enforcement to reveal what really happened on the mountain during the most extensive and dramatic rescue in mountaineering history. The book is endorsed by Troy Aikman, Pastor Rick Warren, Roger Staubach and recognized by all the search and rescue groups as the most accurate and comprehensive description.
She is an accomplished painter and lives in Dallas, sharing her life with her four stepchildren, family and friends.
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