By Martie Thompson

Karen Barnes-Rivera is a self-described eclectic, curious person with a non-stop sense of adventure. This seems an accurate description, considering that she is a fourth generation military veteran who served in the Army and loves to travel … and was just married on Feb. 29, leap day, at the unique Castle Otttis in St. Augustine, which was built to represent a 1,000-year-old Irish Abbey.

Barnes-Rivera is a Jacksonville native who has had adventures living in New York City as well as Northern California, where she earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the American Military University while she works as director of fund development at the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

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  1. How do you like living on the Southside? One of the primary advantages of living on the Southside is its central location. It is only three songs (on the radio) to the beach and three songs to downtown. It also is rich with cultural diversity and educational opportunities.
  2. How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts? I was pursuing my MBA full time and looking for an opportunity to apply my learnings in a practical way when I came across an opportunity to support Gateway Council with their annual Women of Distinction event. When I read the Girl Scout mission statement and discovered that the Girl Scouts is the largest entrepreneurial training for girls in the world, I knew that my values, skills and ambition would lend itself well to the mission of the organization.
  3. What is your favorite part of your job? The mission of the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. This mission is in direct alignment with my desire to help others achieve their greatest potential, particularly women and children. I enjoy helping bring the Girl Scout mission to life through my role as the Director of Fund Development. Engaging with the Girl Scouts is a wise investment, and one of the and smartest choices that a business or individual can make.
  4. What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to travel, particularly to Jamaica because of the musical history there and also because the people are so friendly. We will be going to London and Paris for our honeymoon. I also like travelling in our own beautiful country, especially northern California. Additionally, I like volunteering for causes that benefit military veterans and the well-being of animals.
  5. What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? It is hard to pick my favorite, because they are all delicious. It is a tie between Tagalongs and the gluten-free Toffee-tastic. Thin Mints and Samoas are usually the top picks.

Photo courtesy Karen Barnes-Rivera

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