Karen Millsap of Winter Garden, managing partner of “Widows At Work” will be one of three finalists in NBCUniversal’s “Know Your Value” contest aimed at empowering women.
By Jacob Engels
Overcoming the loss of your significant other can often take years, if not a lifetime. Karen Millsap, who was widowed at 29, founded a start-up aimed at providing support for widows in the workplace.
She is now the managing partner of “Widows At Work,” which will be featured later this month at NBCUniversal’s “Know Your Value” event hosted by Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. Tickets to the event can be bought here. Our Q&A with Karen is below!
How did the idea for Widows at Work originate?
After becoming a widow at 29, I recognized the lack of support after such a devastating loss. I began connecting with other widows locally and across the country and discovered this physical and psychological struggle was present in every single widow. I also discovered it was common for widows to be demoted, reprimanded or terminated without probable cause. It prompted my desire to create a program that helps both the widow and the employer understand how to handle grief in the workplace.
When did you know it was something you dedicate so much time, money, and effort in building up?
There are over 800k men and women widowed each year in the US, yet we have no support when returning to work and we are forced to mask our grief to meet other’s comfort level. When I heard the consistent theme of pain in the voices of these widows across the country, I knew it was time to end suppressed grief.
So far, what kind of feedback have you received?
Where are most of your users/clients located? Widows are grateful I am speaking on these tough topics and this injustice. They are also receptive and encouraged by the guidance I provide on my weekly Hangouts on how to survive life as a widow. I am currently working on being listed as a provider in companies Employee Assistance Programs; however, my network of active widows expands across the country from Florida to Massachusetts, and all the way to Washington state.
Going into 2016… what are the goals and primary focus for Widows at Work?
The primary goals for 2016 are to gain corporate partnerships through their EAPs and hopefully expand internationally by Q3. Our primary focus continues to be empowering widows and educating society.
You can learn more about Widows At Work by clicking here. If you would like to attend NBCUniversal’s “Know Your Value” event, purchase tickets here.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org