Trendsetter to Know: Karen Leone

Name: Karen Romero Leone

Website

Age: 65

Title: Chair of LUNAFEST fundraising committee, Soroptimist International of Phoenix.

Married/Single: Joyfully married for 38 years.

Kids: Nope, but I have 20+ adored nieces and nephews, and another generation of 20+ grands that are cherished.

City you live in: Phoenix

A typical day in my life includes…

a slow morning (I’m not a morning person), then whipping into a frenzy of errands and/or some exercise, and closing out in the kitchen fixing dinner.

I was born… 

the first of eight children, at a charity hospital in Sacramento, CA where my father was serving his medical residency. To mark this momentous occasion, the hospital has been razed, and the land has been converted to a parking lot.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

the fabulous diversity of desert and mountain landscape, within 2 hours of each other and the remarkable human history that developed around it.

I’m listening to… 

Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, to prepare for an annual opera trip to Santa Fe this summer when I reunite with friends from Durango and Denver.

My family…

is large, raucous and treasured.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

my first choice is Jesus, so he could explain everything that challenges me. But I know he has far more important things. My second choice would be Condoleezza Rice. She and I both love golf and piano and we could have a great conversation.

One thing I cannot live without…

the love of my husband.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

a nun. But when I read the Lives of the Saints, and they were so often hungry and abused, I decided to become an actress who makes lots of money and supports the good works of religious folks. Neither has come to fruition.

I’m inspired by…

powerful music. It can calm me, invigorate me, challenge me and thrill me.

The one person who motivates me is…

a prior boss, Betty Perry. She was Vice President for Student Affairs when I was the Director of Conferences at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Her grace and poise under difficult circumstances, never lacking in authentic dedication to honesty and fairness, inexhaustible wisdom to navigate and solve complex problems. She was (and still is in retirement) amazing!

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

turn back the digital influence and bring people eye-to-eye more often.

The perfect day would be…

filled with frolicking in comfortable sunshine, and finishing with a great family meal that no one had to shop, cook or clean up afterward. Little fairies would come and take care of that.

My first job was…

working as a receptionist in my dad’s medical office. Dad’s senior nurse brought in her (very old) high school typing book and I would practice typing exercises on the cutting-edge IBM Selectric typewriter. For those readers who DO have twitter and Instagram accounts, they may need to look up this gamechanger from the 1960s.

My favorite escape…

is live, musical performances.

My life…

is probably average in its scope, but it has been full and I’m very grateful.

I’m currently working on…

practicing a Mozart Sonata, Rachmaninoff’s 19th Variation, and a Kabalevsky piece on the piano.

Always…

try kindness first. I can say this easily, but sometimes I really have to dig down hard to make myself do it.

Never… 

set a poor example to young people around you. Make it your legacy to demonstrate charity, patience, understanding, and kindness.

Favorite Quote…

from The Little Engine That Could, “I think I can – I think I can…”

Biggest Dream…

leave it better than the way you found it.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

people who cut in line. Anywhere. Grocery stores, cars that zip in front of you to beat a red light, ticketing lines at will call. It brings out the worst in me!



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