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Karen C. Fagelson


Reed Smith LLP
3110 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 1400
Falls Church, VA 22042



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B.A., St. John Fisher College, 1977
J.D., Cornell University, 1980

Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:

• Managing Partner for Virginia Region of Reed Smith, LLP
• The Women’s Center – Board of Directors
• The Women’s Center – Co-chair of the Development Committee
• The Women’s Center – Executive Committee
• Kennedy Center – Circles Board
• Greater Washington Board of Trade – Member, Transportation and Land Use Committee
• Former member of Diversity Committee of Reed Smith, LLP
• Former member of the Women’s Initiative of Reed Smith, LLP
• Former member of the Promotion Committee of Reed Smith, LLP
• Former member of the Women’s Initiative of Hazel and Thomas
• Alexandria Hospital Foundation Board – Former Trustee
• Alexandria Hospital Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit Fundraising Committee – Past Co-chair
• Alexandria Hospital Planned Giving Committee – Former Member

Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?

The most important influence in my life was my father. In an era (the fifties) when few people thought women should be educated beyond high school, let alone aspire to a career, he pushed me to always do my personal best and instilled me with the sense that I could succeed at anything if I worked hard enough. As much as anything, that encouragement and “no barrier” attitude has helped me achieve great fulfillment in my professional and personal life.

What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?

Raising two healthy and loving sons while pursuing my career.

What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?

Every day spend some time outside of your workday investing in yourself. That investment may be in the form of developing networks, learning more about your company, improving your ability to do your job, maintaining your health, learning something new or whatever is important to you. The key is to make some time every day to invest in you, otherwise your assets diminish over time.

How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?

I don’t think of my life in those terms. I am a lawyer, wife, mother, and athlete. There is no order to that list. I don’t view any one role as being in competition with the others. I may be acting more in one realm than another at any point in time, but they are all part of who I am so I make sure I am investing in each role every day to some extent.

On a more mundane level, certain routines are important to me. My parents always made time for a “date” every week. My husband and I have followed that example in our 27 years of marriage. I also make time for some form of exercise 5-6 days a week. When my children were young, I made sure I was home every night to have dinner with them and to fulfill my role later in the evening as the “homework police”. After they went to bed, I would complete my work for the day.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A doctor.

What is your favorite book or movie and why?

Anything by Peter Mayle. He is a wonderful writer with a subtle sense of humor and the rare ability to write about very mundane things and make them fascinating.

What are two things about you that not many people know?

I am afraid of heights

I like to read mysteries set in exotic places

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