Q&A with Karen King, Managing Director of Administration

Karen King
Karen King, Managing Director of Administration

Q: What led you to your career at DiPrete Engineering? How long have you been with the firm?

A: I have been working for DiPrete Engineering since 1991. I formerly worked for Governor DiPrete’s campaign and conveniently had a baby one month after his last election. When my son was six months old I was ready to get back to work and the opening for a part time accountant position at DiPrete had just opened. My bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island (URI) was in accounting so it was a perfect opportunity to keep my foot in the working world while starting a family.

 

Q: How has your role at the firm changed over the years?

A: When I first started at DiPrete, I handled the bookkeeping, payroll, and financial reports. As the company grew, I migrated to the human resource/people side of the position and was overjoyed when we hired Chris Ready to take over the accounting. He has taken the position to a higher level than I could have imagined.

 

Q: In what aspects have you seen the firm grow?

A: I have seen the company grow from five employees to 60 as the economy waxes and wanes.

 

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at DiPrete?

A: I thrive on looking for opportunities to make the company better and on building an engaged workforce. Dennis has always put people first so being the Human Resources Manager in an employee-centric environment has made for a fulfilling career. In addition to running events and providing amenities and benefits for our staff, we focus on providing opportunities for growth and matching people with fitting roles where they can grow professionally and personally. Using the CliftonStrengths approach, employees discover their core talents which provides insight into what their greatest strengths are. When given the opportunity to do what you do best every day, you are likely to be happier at work which increases your productivity and engagement.

I love coming to work every day because of the people I work with and the variety of tasks I perform. I use my strengths every day and even though ‘Arranger’ is my #17 strength, I still manage to juggle the many hats that I wear to keep initiatives moving forward.

 

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work?

A: Outside of work I spend my time volunteering with the Girl Scouts and The Empowerment Factory. These organizations share a common mission of empowering children through building their self-esteem, leadership capabilities, and civic pride/community service by using creativity and STEAM as elements of the programming. I am currently leading a 5th – 6th grade Girl Scout troop in North Kingstown and am the membership coordinator for the North Kingstown/Jamestown/East Greenwich Service Unit. With this position I have been putting together ‘Jump Start’ troops to provide a place for girls to join a troop while finding volunteers trained to be Girl Scout Leaders.

As for the Empowerment Factory, I am on the Board and enjoy working to build a more engaged community where children and families have an opportunity to lead happier, healthier lives.

Both organizations are always looking for volunteers so feel free to ask me about the opportunities if you are looking for ways to give back.

Another organization I am involved with is Leadership Rhode Island and the “Make RI Stronger” initiative.  As a CliftonStrengths coach, I coach teams in organizations throughout the state to help them identify their areas of talent and recognize strengths in others so that they can build high performing teams.