Arlington resident Celia Edwards Karam is at the top of her game.
Zola’s founder, Shan-Lyn Ma, tapped Karam for the position, and after a series of conversations with the company’s leadership, Karam was officially in.
“I guess I must have done okay in those interviews,” she said, laughing.
While she got married before anything like Zola existed, Karam said she is joining the board to help Zola find opportunities for growth and new corners of the $55 billion wedding industry to explore.
The appointment adds to a resume that includes degrees from Harvard and Stanford universities, 14 years at Capital One and volunteer work with the nonprofit Commonwealth, which helps vulnerable people achieve financial security.
Her achievements seem to flow from one source. “It all comes back to [the question], ‘How might we make choices that are actually helping people get to better outcomes?'” she said.
Karam draws inspiration from her experience as a Jamaican immigrant. She came to the U.S. with her family when she was five years old, and watched her parents work hard to give her and her siblings access to education and better opportunities.
“Financially speaking, we didn’t have a lot to work with,” she said. “The sense you get instilled is one of gratitude and one to give back.”
This sense manifests in Karam’s concern for people, and making their lives easier. She says Capital One, Zola and Commonwealth share this customer-centered pursuit.
But these companies also share Karam.
In recent years, the chief audit officer has grown more confident in sharing her perspective as a Black woman — something that she did not always do. As a child, she was taught that the way to achieve equality was by ignoring color.
“The way to succeed, in my mind, was for my bosses not to notice the differences,” she said. That changed five years ago.
“I came to what might sound like a ridiculous conclusion: The fact that I am a Black woman actually makes me different,” she said.
Keeping in mind her bad experiences suppressing her identity, today she encourages business leaders to show employees that their perspectives, informed by their diverse identities, are valued. It is one reason she said she admires and wants to work with Ma — one of the relatively few women running successful new tech companies.
“If you don’t have the numbers, there’s nowhere to go from there,” she said. “But you only get a diversity of perspective if the people who are there feel like they can actually share what’s on their minds.”
Karam jokes that outside her work, she does not have too many hobbies she can pursue because she has three kids — ages seven, 10 and 12 — who she shuttles to “what feels like hundreds of sports activities.”
In the 10th month of remote work since the shutdown this March, she said she and her kids have started taking lots of walks with the family dog through Arlington. She, her husband and kids have called Arlington home since 2007.
“Arlington is actually a pretty amazing place to live,” she said. “It’s exactly right mix of urban and suburban for our family.”
Photo courtesy Celia Edwards Karam
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
Spend the first Sunday of March tasting a great wine selection at Arrowine’s Super Sunday Tasting!
Workers lowered signage today (Friday) from the now-former Giant supermarket in the Lyon Village Shopping Center. Several passersby watched with interest as the team unscrewed the letters G-I-A-N-T from the…
New properties just listed in Arlington include a 3 BD/3 BA home with an expanded kitchen, fireplace and two lower levels.
March General Membership Meeting
NAACP Arlington Branch is celebrating Women’s History Month with a virtual public safety and Virginia legislative update. Our speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Delegate Adele McClure.
Virginia House of Delegates, 2nd District in Arlington
Early Years Preschool is a small non-profit preschool and parents day out program that has served local families since 1992. Early Years Preschool is located in the Cherrydale neighborhood at 3701 Lorcom Lane.
Early Years Preschool offers part-time programs for young children between 12 months – 5 years old. Early Years also offers a 6 week summer program! The school day is 9:30-2:30, with the option of morning extended day offered at 9am. Families have the flexibility of registering for 1-3 days/week in their parent’s day out program (12 months- 2 year olds) and 2-5 days/week for their preschool program (3-5 year olds).
Early Years’ teachers provide a nurturing environment that promotes the development of a child’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical skills. Creative and stimulating theme-based activities allow each child to develop and learn at his or her own pace through exploration and play.
Learn more about Early Years Preschool by contacting the admissions team at [email protected] or by visiting their website at http://www.earlyyearspreschool.org
Dedicated to the notion that fans of the Smiths and Morrissey want to hear some of the greatest music ever written in a true live concert setting, Caligula Blushed delivers an authentic rendition of Smiths/Morrissey songs, with each performance based