13 Nov Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1981 Scholar Karin Schantz
Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Angelique Diaz.
Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?
I am on sabbatical, contemplating my next steps in life while following some passions through volunteer work, dividing my time between Lakewood, Colorado and Olympia, Washington. After graduation three decades ago, my career path has taken a few turns. I initially “delayed real life” (after canoeing the Mississippi River) and worked in Europe as a tour guide. Subsequently, I marketed Colorado as an international tourism destination, consulted on database design and management, was a financial advisor and estate planner, and most recently gutted and finished a home for resale. I love designing, planning, and working to reach a mutual goal.
What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
I am eternally grateful that I didn’t have a decade of debt. I moved to Europe after graduation and explored different cultures. I improved my language skills which benefitted me in future jobs. I met lifelong friends, and my view of the world changed.
I also thank the Foundation for getting me through. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up and the scholarship carried me through graduation. In an attempt to “pay it forward”, I was active through grassroots efforts to launch a Scholar Alumni program which was later formalized by the Foundation.
Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
In recent years, I have served on the Jefferson County Horse Council board; raised a litter of Goldendoodles; was instrumental in creating a new zoning classification for my neighborhood; helped ensure Lakewood’s involvement as a sustainable neighborhood and headed up the R Cubed (recycling, repurposing, reusing) initiative; initiated and organized a community paint recycling day, which kept more than 8 tons of paint out of the landfills; raised money for the Lakewood High School Instrumental Music program; joined my boyfriend on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip in Paraguay; cared for aging parents and settled estates; gardened, hiked and snowshoed.
What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field?
The best advice I received right out of college was from one of my friend’s mothers and is universal advice, regardless of a chosen career field. She encouraged me to open an individual retirement account or IRA (which I also recommended to clients a few decades later). Growing up, my family did not discuss finances. I never really received any kind of financial education from them probably because they hadn’t received any from their parents. My father was retired Air Force and relied on his military pension for retirement. Pensions are rapidly becoming things of the past, and it is important to plan early.
If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?
I would love to have dinner with my ancestors who initially immigrated to the United States. My mother has enthusiastically been researching our family ancestry and has traced back multiple generations. It’s amazing what information is archived and accessible, giving a snapshot of lives on a daily basis. I would love to hear about the decision-making process and get a sense for shared personality characteristics. Is this perhaps where I got my sense of adventure, love of education, commitment to family, setting of goals, etc.? What else could I discover about myself and my role in this world?