Esq. Manager, Collegiate Programs & Diversity • Liz Claiborne Inc. • New York City • Age: 36
Karen E. Nethersole, Esq., refuses to be confined to stereotypes. She has been a scholar–athlete, a Latin dance competitor and a fashion model, and she is a staunch advocate in both the courtroom and the boardroom. “I believe in my abilities,” she says. “While obstacles do exist, some people allow obstacles to stop them completely. It is important to believe in your ability to overcome those obstacles. The perceived lack of one’s ability to do so is merely an optical illusion,” says the “petite powerhouse,” as she is called.
Nethersole graduated magna cum laude from St. Francis College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. At St. Francis, she was inducted into the Duns Scotus Honor Society. She obtained a juris doctorate degree from Hofstra University School of Law and worked at a private law firm as outside counsel to Fortune 500 companies before joining Liz Claiborne Inc. She now manages the company’s collegiate programs and diversity effort. Under her leadership, the internship programs have become more competitive and revered, even garnering national recognition; and diversity has become a central feature of the company’s strategic planning.
Educated in the Franciscan tradition, Nethersole subscribes to the belief that an education goes well beyond merely becoming equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a living or achieve fame. Rather, she contends, education is a strong link between the intellectual and the spiritual life — “an intellectual life with a heart.” Nethersole inherited a charitable spirit from her grandmother and sees herself as someone whose life’s mission is to give back to the community and positively impact the lives of others. She is grateful for all the life-enhancing opportunities she has received and shows her gratitude by dedicating herself to working with young people and stressing the importance of a fine education. Accordingly, she supports such charities as the United Negro College Fund.