Karen Y. Larkin


Karen Y. Larkin is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience writing for an array of publications. Karen was a contributing writer to the critically acclaimed Bodywise Woman. She has also written extensively for other venues, including U.S. Bank, PocketSense, and the Melpomene Journal. Her work has been cited by the Huffington Post, Live Strong, DIY, and others.


Charity Organizer,Business Expertise,Credit Cards Expert,Savings Marketer,Mortgage Expert,Small Business Owner,Insurance Expert


  • Northern Kentucky University: Bachelor of Arts in English

Affiliations and Memberships

  • American Heart Association

Education Background

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English, with a minor in philosophy. Karen credits her liberal arts education with helping her to develop the ability to think critically, and to understand and integrate divergent points of view. With those skills firmly onboard, Karen believes, almost anything else can be readily learned. Her professional expertise encompasses charitable giving, business management, and financial products.

Charity Organizer

Soon after graduation, Karen was hired by the American Heart Association as a community organizer. The non-profit charged her with building extensive networks of volunteers to carry out its fundraising, public health education, and public relations missions in a 13-county territory.

Her work took her cross-country when she was promoted to a position specializing in fundraising in a metropolitan area. There, Karen pioneered the concept of cause-related marketing and spoke extensively on behalf of United Way.

Business Expertise

For the next 15 years, Karen lived and breathed banking and retail. While working for Dayton Hudson Corporation, she was part of the team that founded Retailers' National Bank, now the financial powerhouse behind Target Corporation. She moved on to a corporate marketing position with U.S. Bank, one of American's largest financial institutions. Karen served the bank and its customers through numerous mergers and acquisitions, working with systems integrations, customer communications, and product marketing. She graduated to managing the email marketing channel, which awakened her interest in Internet marketing.

Because Karen worked through marketing channels, first in direct mail, then in email, and finally, web content, she was in the enviable position of being able to work across a broad spectrum of products. Specifically, Karen became a subject matter expert in marketing credit cards, savings, mortgages, and insurance products.

Credit Cards Expert

Karen coordinated marketing campaigns for several credit card products. These included consumer the U.S. Bank Visa card, the co-branded Northwest Airlines, and Harley Davidson Visa cards, as well as credit cards for businesses.

Savings Marketer

Savings accounts, whether for retirement or a rainy day, are a mainstay in the financial services industry, and Karen marketed those as well. She was also instrumental in the launch of the U.S. Bank Health Savings Account (HSA), to be used in conjunction with high-deductible health insurance plans.

Mortgages Background

Karen worked extensively with marketing mortgage loans, first via the direct mail channel and later through email. These campaigns were highly targeted, making specific pre-approved offers to individual customers. Karen interacted closely with the product manager, the risk assessment team, and the data team, along with the legal and compliance departments. It was also her role to perform data audits, in conjunction with the Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion credit bureaus, to ensure that the correct offers went to the appropriate people. These were among the most profitable campaigns Karen worked on during her tenure at the bank.

Insurance Experience

While most people aren't aware that banks offer insurance products, they do, and Karen was there when they were introduced. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 tore down walls between banking, insurance, and investments, allowing these types of companies to merge, partner, and operate freely within each other's industries.

While U.S. Bank didn't opt to mass market insurance products, they did add several insurance products to their offerings. Karen began managing some of the first banking campaigns to market insurance products in the nation. They were positioned as upsells to existing customers, through both the direct mail and email channels. Some of the insurance products that Karen helped to pioneer within the banking industry include Homeowner's, Renter's, Auto, Life, Business, and Accident policies.

Small Business Owner

Karen opted to leave the corporate world in 2006, founded her own marketing agency, and began working with small businesses and start-ups to define and achieve their business goals. She recognized that clients' marketing dollars could produce exponentially greater results when channeled through internet marketing and social media, as opposed to traditional avenues. She read voraciously and attended dozens of educational seminars, learning how to lift her clients' website pages to top positions in search engine results.

More About Karen Y. Larkin

Today Karen writes, consults, volunteers, and treasures time spent with her family. You can keep up with her by visiting her LinkedIn profile and following her on Twitter.