Serving as an organization’s partner – Florida Weekly

Serving as an organization's partner and an employee's advocate Leading, listening and living with compassion, empathy and heart


OWNER: Karen Shepherd, MSHR, SHRM-CP

NATURE OF BUSINESS: Human Resources Consulting Services


EDUCATION: Master's Degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development from Strayer University; recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Award

Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Community Relations from University of Toledo

Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional

Certified Predictive Index (PI) Partner

HOMETOWN: Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, for 18 years; lived in Virginia Beach, Va., for 26 years

What do you typically tell people when they ask you what you do?

I provide HR solutions for small businesses by making the right hire with confidence, creating a positive working environment, saving businesses money, while ensuring compliance with state and federal applicable laws and regulations.

Tell us about your professional background.

I was in the legal industry for 25+ years, 21 years working for the same attorney as her legal assistant in Virginia Beach, Va. When she let me know she needed to start sharing me with another attorney, I responded I wanted to be the law firm administrator instead. When she proceeded to say I did not have the credentials, I walked across the street to Strayer University and told them what I wanted to be when I grew up at 45 years old and they told me I needed my master’s degree in human resource management. I started classes soon thereafter, received the credentials and became a law firm administrator.

How did you come to start this business?

After a decade in the industry, I realized it was time to make care as the focus of my leadership style. Compassion, empathy and heart is the foundation for a happy, engaged and high-performing workplace. Having to participate in my mom’s funeral via Zoom during the pandemic culminated my decision to begin making a difference. In July 2020, HR by Karen, LLC went from a dream to a reality.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

My approach to HR is to actually keep in mind that the word human is first and foremost and being the resource for my clients, community and friends follows closely behind. I listen, live and lead my life with compassion, empathy and heart, helping businesses create a culture of collaboration and communication. I share with businesses how their employees are more than a name on another spreadsheet and provide tools for engagement.

How have you been able to cultivate such a loyal customer base?

By simplifying and facilitating expert HR services that have become very complex over times and by doing this, exceeding my clients’ expectations. HR doesn’t have to be scary or cold, it just needs to be approached from a compassionate point of view for both employers and employees. My tag line is You can’t spell HeaRt without HR. Let’s #crushit together. Compassion + Collaboration = Success.

What surprises people about your industry?

There are more myths and misunderstandings about human resources rather than surprises. HR wears two hats: as an employee advocate and as an organization’s partner. Employees don’t always understand that. Also, HR is not always the decision maker; however, often times it is the scapegoat. In addition, working in HR can be lonely if an office of one, as there’s no one to discuss things with.

What is one thing most people don’t know about your company?

Why my color is orange. It’s actually not because I’m a huge Cleveland Browns fan. It’s because of Ellen Latham’s, founder and creator of the Orangetheory Fitness workout, inspirational story of achieving her dreams, which I heard at an HR conference two weeks before my website went live.

Are you affiliated with any HR Organization?

Yes, I am the president of HR Collier, affiliate of SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management. We meet each month for networking and development. On Sept. 27 this year we have our annual HR conference at Arthrex. Anyone interested in membership, sponsorship or our conference should visit our website at

What is your favorite quote?

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt ¦

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