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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Women in Business Q&A: Carey Karlan, Last Detail | HuffPost - Huffington Post's Contributor platform

Photo: Laura Emily Dunn
"Award-winning interior designer Carey Karlan is the principal of design firm Last Detail, located in Darien, CT. Carey creates timeless interiors extending from Fairfield and Westchester counties to Manhattan, San Francisco, Florida, the Cape and Nantucket" according to Laura Dunn, experienced communications and digital professional.
Photo: Carey Karlan

Carey’s design philosophy embraces the concept of flexibility. Her work has been featured in athome Magazine, New England Home Connecticut, Cottages and Gardens and the Stamford and Greenwich Magazine. Carey is a two-time winner and finalist of the A-list awards, athome’s premiere home design competition as well as a finalist for CTC&G’s Innovation in Design award and speaks frequently on the subject of Interior Design.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Although I was a pampered only child in all material aspects, my father held me to high performance standards in everything I voluntarily undertook such as tennis lessons or being class president in Junior High. When that “Presidency” was not going well and I was making excuses for not getting much accomplished he allowed me no slack and insisted I take full responsibility. It felt shockingly cold at the time but the lesson stayed with me.

A little adversity can be a good thing. After a difficult divorce and with 5 young children in tow I struggled financially. I did what I had to do: took in sewing, started a new career and just generally survived. I was tougher than I thought and took a lot of pride in making it all work. There is very little satisfaction in victimhood, it feels much better to succeed and be happy! 

How has your previous employment experience aided your current role?
Before I started my second career in design I was a VP at Katz Communications managing a group that sold television time. There were few women in the field at the time at that level and the climb was not easy. Women endured levels of sexism that would be inconceivable today! But honestly that never really bothered me and at the end of the day I think performance wins out—particularly in a sales environment.

Vital lessons learned concerned developing good client relationships through constant, effective communication, managing up in internal office affairs, being bold in “putting yourself out there” for promotions, orders and whatever else you want. Presentation skills are vital in any industry and a sales background certainly hones those skills...

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I may not win any friends here but I honestly don’t believe discrimination is a big issue in most fields if you do a superb job and put the time in. An inescapable issue is that women often need to take time off to have children (I had five including triplets). Interior design can actually be a good field for women as it offers flexibility and some control over work flow...but you have to be in it to win it.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have had generous mentors in both of my careers. The best mentoring relationships are spontaneous and voluntary in my opinion. 

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Photo: Sherrie Simmons

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Source: HuffPost

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