Karen Fawcett profile
Karen Fawcett has always been able to hop, skip and jump in and out of various different working situations. That fact alone could be her bio. Here are the details. She has been president and owner of Bonjour Paris since the site launched on the Internet more than 14 years ago.
Prior to that, Bonjour Paris was housed on AOL where Karen derived enormous pleasure from sharing and demystifying “her” France for Francophiles and tourists who were heading to her adopted country.
Karen wasn’t planning to move to Paris (or Provence) in 1988 much less remain there for the past 23 years. She went kicking if not quite screaming when her (now deceased) husband had a yearlong consulting gig for a financial services firm with headquarters in the City of Light. He persuaded her to leave her job with the City of Boston’s Economic Development Firm where she served as its Director of Public Affairs and Marketing. During his assignment, Karen played trailing spouse and traveled extensively throughout the EU.
It was then that Karen met her inner gypsy and the unknown became her passion. In other words, the travel bug bit her. Her favorite book as very young girl was “Eloise at the Plaza” and she frequently fantasized about living in a hotel where she had carte blanche in the dining room and could dial room service whenever she wanted.
Her first career was as an interior designer. Because of that expertise, she became an ongoing contributor and features writer for Home Life Magazine, for the lamented Washington Star Sunday supplement. In addition, Karen was one of the founders of the “Big Cheese” restaurant in Georgetown. She survived a crash cooking course when the chef quit during the first week of August — long before commercial kitchens were air-conditioned.
After the Washington Star folded, Karen joined many of her colleagues as a contributor at The Washington Times. For many years, she wrote for its Travel Section and always had a suitcase packed because you never know.
Karen worked for a DC financial services company where she was Senior Vice-President for Marketing and Public Relations. One of the company’s investments was a property situated on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu that housed a restaurant. Because of zoning restrictions, the property’s development was put on hold. Even though she considered the restaurant business one of the hardest in the world, she found herself drafted into being the Acting-President of Geoffrey’s in Malibu, California.
During that period, Karen wore so many hats she felt as if could have been Carmen Miranda. It was a long commute and realized she was flying across the continent far too many time each month when all of the flight attendants addressed her by her first name and knew what she would and wouldn’t eat. These were the days before the advent of, “Which soft drink would you like with your package of pretzel mix?”
In spite of her initial protests about making the move, once she recovered from the initial culture shock, Paris was an adventure; the travel it entailed opened her eyes to an entirely new world. Even though Karen had visited Europe numerous times, living there was an entirely different experience.
When the time came to return to the US, Karen did so only to turn around and head back to Paris. Luckily, her husband was able to accompany her where his work responsibilities expanded to encompass much of Asia. Karen was able to utilize her journalism background and contributed more than 200 “Expat Abroad” articles to the International Edition of USA Today. She also wrote for numerous other publications and has often said that being a journalist gives a person license to ask all of the questions that are “none of your business.”
Karen sees a plane and wants to be on it in spite of the travails and security precautions of traveling today. Her mantra is that the more people are able to travel, the greater the global understanding will become among people and nations.
Karen Fawcett is accredited by the French Ministry of the Interior as a member of the Foreign Press, a member of the Public Relations Society of America, The European- American Press Club, The French Press Club, The National Press Club in Washington, DC and was a founding member of the American Institute of Wine and Food’s Paris Chapter.
Karen monitors dollar/euro exchange rate. A stronger dollar means more Americans will “hit the road to cross the pond.” She commutes frequently between Paris and Washington where Karen’s son and family live.