- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2002

While most people with master's of business administration degrees try to get on Wall Street, Karen Waller used hers as a stepping stone into the public health sector.
Ms. Waller, 43, will be a new senior vice president at Garrett, Yu Hussein, McCabe and Reis (GYMR), a District public relations firm whose specialty is health care. She started her new job Jan. 2.
As a senior vice president, Ms. Waller will oversee junior executives and be responsible for several accounts the firm manages.
"I'm so excited," Ms. Waller says. "I knew them and their work. They've created a fantastic environment."
Ms. Waller went into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to get her master's degree and focus on nonprofit management, but she soon fell in love with marketing.
"I wanted a commitment to making a difference in the world, but I also wanted to do marketing," she says.
Luckily for her, she found the Novelli Group, a social marketing firm, and did an internship there. Social marketing is the practice of marketing ideas, not products, to the public. Ad campaigns that advocate using seat belts and mental health awareness are examples of social marketing campaigns.
The internship transitioned into a job after graduation, and she began working with Peter Garrett and Pattie Yu Hussein there.
"Her MBA is an asset. Washington is an ideal place to accomplish goals and use social marketing skills," Mr. Garrett says. "There are lots of advocacy groups here."
"She really understands D.C. and how advocacy groups work here," Mr. Garrett says. "She'll really complement the firm."
Ms. Waller has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having worked with Eli Lilly and Co., and Burson-Marsteller, a District public relations firm that specializes in health care.
Ms. Waller lives in Arlington.

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