Karen Herson

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Location: Bethesda, MD
Founded: 1996
Industry: Media/PR

Karen Herson

Concepts, Inc.

“I feel the ability to make a living and make a difference are not mutually exclusive, and my vision in founding Concepts, Inc. was to do both,” says president Karen Herson. “At Concepts, we ‘communicate for good,’ using our communication skills to promote positive change around important social issues, with a special emphasis on the employment of people with disabilities and disabled veterans.”

Quick Tip:  “I empower my staff by including their insight and opinions in all major decisions, as well as allowing them to seek and pursue new opportunities.”

Concepts’ niche — promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities and wounded service members in workplaces and communities — has been its competitive differentiator. For example, the company was awarded a contract with the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment in 2003, which tasked it with managing disability.gov. “This contract runs on an annual cycle, and we’ve been awarded it every year since,” says Herson.

As a parent to a 13-year-old daughter, Herson knows the challenges working parents can face, especially those who are leading a company. “While becoming a mother certainly created logistical hurdles, looking back, it also positively impacted how I run my company in ways that can’t be measured,” she says. “Parenting helped hone my patience, which in turn has helped me better communicate with my staff and clients.”