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How Karen Jensen tackles the extreme work life balance with Penny Bauder

There’s every reason to be anxious about COVID-19. But hopefully, we can see that anxiety is universal and it will unite us more than it divides us. Be open about your own anxieties. Don’t make it weird but share a little bit of your anxieties and listen to someone else’s. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected […]

There’s every reason to be anxious about COVID-19. But hopefully, we can see that anxiety is universal and it will unite us more than it divides us. Be open about your own anxieties. Don’t make it weird but share a little bit of your anxieties and listen to someone else’s.


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how women leaders in tech and STEM are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Jensen

Karen Jensen is the founder and President of Saaby Consulting Company, a certified woman-owned management consulting firm. Karen is an American entrepreneur, mentor, featured author, and an Organic Profits™ activist. Saaby’s vision statement, since 2012, is “Technology Solutions for Life®”.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Like many entrepreneurs, when I started, I knew absolutely nothing about how to run and grow a business. Almost ten years ago, I took a breath and typed some version of “how to start a business” into a search engine. I’ve done deep dives into every avenue of that original search. Each one of those dives taught me more about the world of entrepreneurship, what it means to be an ethical leader and how I believe private enterprise needs to take a more active role in solving social problems.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

In late 2019, I was invited to become the new co-chair for the NICE workforce management sub-group. Our focus is to facilitate, develop and promote cybersecurity workforce management guidance and measurement approaches that create a culture where the workforce is managed and engaged to effectively address the cybersecurity risks of their organization. It’s a great collaboration of people from government, military, private industry, education and non-profits where we can build real world examples of how to map pathways for a 21st century workforce.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m working on some newer concepts for our proprietary design for Smart Cities. It’s called “Everything Cities®”. It’s a blueprint for cities to become economically, socially and environmentally SmartER, with funding opportunities and Public Private Partnerships (P3). COVID-19 has really shown us that too many of us aren’t living the American dream. The Everything Cities® model incorporates solutions that help build equity and equality back into our communities.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It’s rare to come across a mentor and a friend in your life journey that sticks it out with you, through thick and thin. I have several people that have helped me build parts of my journey and I’m forever grateful to all of them. They are the people that celebrate new ideas with you, commiserate with you about things that go wrong and call you out when you get off the chain.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic?

I’ve seen and heard the exhaustion in the voices of so many people working from home and having to do home schooling, make dinners and keep everything running smoothly. Technology certainly enables us to work from home, which is great, but all the technology in the world can’t do what is now being expected of not just women, but everyone. It’s a great and tragic moment to take a look at how we want technology to evolve as we move past this crisis.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I’m building an impact/trend analysis of my own Lessons Learned, both from a work perspective and from a home perspective. Where are aspects of my career and personal growth can I develop? What can I do going forward to build sustainability into my life and into my career?

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic?

As many of us have transitioned to working from home, I’ve heard several executives (male) talk about levying “fines” anytime they hear a dog barking in the background or children’s voices, during conference calls. There is an amazing insensitivity and callousness that still exists in the workplace about how women are still expected to “have it all” and “do it all”. It’s a very unforgiving standard.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

It’s an uphill battle to always be the one pointing out the disparities in the workforce. I think the only way these challenges can really be resolved is to have more women, and minorities in C-suite level positions. Diversity and inclusion aren’t just at the “hiring” level. It’s population demographic representation at all levels of an organization.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

Don’t let yourself get isolated and overwhelmed. If you are having an impossible day, which happens a lot these days, where things are just piling up — embrace that. If there are toys all over the floor, or laundry that isn’t finished — let it go. Be a little bit more personable with everyone you are talking to. I had a great conversation with someone I didn’t know very well in a work environment. We ended up having a great laugh — sharing our challenges and not being judgmental. We have more in common than we realize sometimes.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place for long periods with your family?

It’s a stressful time at home. Don’t try to be super everything. If everyone eats pizza a little bit more than you used to, but you make in fun and you do it together, we’ll all come through this. Accept that you are stressed out and don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

Here’s my 5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis:

There are many families who have lost a loved one to this pandemic. If we can learn something from how this virus has evolved, what we did right and what we did wrong, I hope that we can bring meaning to the loss of those lives. We owe that to all of them.

There are stories of hope all over social media and even on the news. Don’t just listen to the bad stuff, find the good stuff. The landlord in New York who waived April rent for all his tenants is just one of many acts of human kindness you can find.

Take the time to say thank you to someone who works in the service industries or in the healthcare industry. Don’t write a note on social media, although that’s good. Personally speak to them (from at least six feet away and preferably with a mask on). These people don’t have much of a choice about staying home — they have to go to work so that we can buy groceries and order take out and provide care for us at the hospital.

Look at the positive outcomes of #stayinghome. The canals of Venice, Italy are crystal clear, pollution is down all over the World. We have the power to make environmental change. Now we have even more proof that we can accomplish climate change goals.

Think about your future and the future of your family post COVID-19. There will be one. How can you develop sustainability and resiliency goals for both your family and your career?

From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to your family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

There’s every reason to be anxious about COVID-19. But hopefully, we can see that anxiety is universal and it will unite us more than it divides us. Be open about your own anxieties. Don’t make it weird but share a little bit of your anxieties and listen to someone else’s.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” This quote is from Michael Jordan. With all his success and accolades, he could very easily have hogged all the credit. This quote reminds me all the time about engaging with all the business stakeholders when I work with an organization. The culture isn’t just about the C-suite level executives, it’s about everyone. We need to better acknowledge the value of everyone in an organization.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me online several ways:

Website: https://www.saabyconsulting.com

Twitter: @SaabyConsulting

Instagram: @SaabyConsulting

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/technology-solutions-for-life/

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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