Karen Malone Wright
Founding Voice & Chief Executive
Somewhere around 2008, Karen Malone Wright fell in love with the social web. A skilled communications strategist, she was experienced in media relations, special events, public affairs messaging and branding at companies and non-profits in Washington, D.C., Detroit and Cleveland. But, after more than 20 years working in corporate communications in print, television, health care, philanthropy and her own business, Odyssey Creative Group, she knew the introduction of digital tools and the Internet's seemingly endless capabilities would change human communications forever.
A self-taught evangelist, Karen shared her newfound passion through compelling, relatable presentations to local and national businesses and organizations at conferences for marketing and development staff, annual meetings and Board retreats. With humor and real-world examples of the Net's benefits and dangers, she encouraged audiences to replace any fears with acceptance, curiosity and creativity.
What Karen didn’t share publicly was that in all of cyberspace, she couldn’t find a place for women like herself. By 2010, she was an over-50 only child without the large, loud family she had imagined. Websites for empty nesters, hopeful grandmoms, pre-adoptive and childfree-by-choice women didn’t fit, and infertility blogs felt too sad.
In 2011, with her husband, Andrew, cheering every move, Karen launched The NotMom to be the online resource she had been hoping to find. She was certain that its embrace of women without children by choice or by chance would be appreciated, and she was right.
The NotMom became Karen’s primary focus, and thousands of women across America and around the world responded by sharing their personal stories and gratitude. Major media coverage followed, from The New York Times to BBC Radio London, and Karen won a $5,000 prize competing against regional female entrepreneurs. She began to receive invitations to speak about the growing community and influence of childless and childfree women, including at BlogHer, the world’s largest event for women in social media.
Still, Karen dreamed of connecting women without children in real life. The NotMom Summits, groundbreaking conferences hosted in Cleveland, Ohio in 2015 and 2017, attracted more than 400 women from 18 states, three continents and seven countries (Belgium, Canada, China, England, Iceland, New Zealand, USA) looking to be connected, informed and encouraged. Many have stayed in contact over the years since, and Karen regularly gets asked when another Summit might be announced.
Now living in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Karen served two terms as Board President of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. She and Andy share their home with their rescued cat, Frankie Lloyd Wright.
Freelance writer Laura M. LaVoie, and her partner Matt, find it hard to stay in one place for very long. This hunger for the for the less conventional led them to build a 120 square-foot house in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina and traveling all over the world.
In 2018, Matt chose to attend law school while his 40s, and the decision led the couple to spend three years in Atlanta. Georgia. They sharetheir home with a very pampered Devon Rex cat named Toast. Never have they wanted to add children to their lives.
No surprise: Laura walked away from a 15-year career in the temporary staffing industry years ago to find her voice as a full-time writer. Early on, she was frustrated by the number of gigs limited to parents, from “Mommy blogs” to major brands convinced that only Mom-to-Mom buzz sells products. Frustrated, she searched for outlets that reflected her life as a woman without children.
In 2012, she discovered The NotMom, where she shares her childfree-by-choice perspectives and administrative skills, too.
Laura is also recognized in the Tiny House movement for her blog and speaking appearances across the U.S. about her tiny living experiences. On the personal side, she enjoys craft beer and Tiki cocktails, sci-fi conventions, costuming, and binge-watching TV shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.