Karen Malone Wright
Founding Voice & Chief Executive
Somewhere around 2008, Karen Malone Wright fell in love with the social web. After more than 20 years in corporate communications in print, television, health care, philanthropy and her own business, she became a self-taught evangelist teaching digital tools and strategies she knew would change human communications forever.
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’d 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 other female entrepreneurs. She enjoys opportunities 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, and in 2017 she will host the second NotMom Summit, a groundbreaking international conference on topics specific to non-parents.
When she’s not at the keyboard in her Cleveland, Ohio office, Karen might be on a Caribbean beach with Andy, but she’s probably playing with Frankie Lloyd Wright, their rescued cat, or lost to an iPad game and TV marathon.
Freelance writer Laura M. LaVoie, and her partner Matt, find it hard to stay in one place for very long. This hunger for the unusual led to adopting Piglet, a hairless sphynx cat, building a 120 square-foot house in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, and traveling all over the world. 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 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 growing 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 binge-watching Bryan Fuller shows like Wonderfalls and Hannibal.
Digital Marketing Manager & Event Coordinator
Compliment Kathy Cruz on her creativity or obvious sense of style and she is likely to credit her mother, a Puerto Rican immigrant to America who struggled to raise her daughters yet taught them to believe in themselves and their dreams. What Kathy and her sister Karen dreamed of was to turn their shared passion for home décor into a business.
In 2014, Kathy and Karen transitioned their popular DIY blog, The Salvaged Boutique, into a home décor brick-and-mortar store near Cleveland, Ohio. Kathy handles marketing and branding for the shop and open studio where they offer custom furniture services and hands-on workshops.
Dream achieved? Find another dream.
After facing the challenges of starting and maintaining a business, Kathy suffered badly from entrepreneurial fever and she knew her experiences could help someone else. In 2017, she launched Savvy Shopkeeper with blog posts and client services about planning, systems and tools for retail and other small business owners.
But, this particular dream required Kathy’s full concentration, and while opening and marketing the store, she had also been working as an officer in the Cleveland Division of Police. She retired from the force in summer 2017.
During nearly 20 years in law enforcement, Kathy earned multiple Distinguished Service Medals for outstanding performance, a scholarship from the National Institute of Justice, and other notable awards. She advanced from Patrol Officer to Detective, serving first in a District Bureau, moving on to Crime Analysis and finally, Homicide. You may have seen her on an episode of A&E’s The First 48.
Kathy lives with her life partner, Andy, in northeast Ohio. She is a NotMom by chance, and also is a stepmom to Andy’s young son. Free time is rare, but she loves a good spin class or a nice long run.