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Karen L. Seamen

President and COO


Cramer-Krasselt - Chicago, Illinois, USA

Born in beautiful but hard-working Pittsburgh, Karen seems to have always challenged the status quo and prides herself on bringing a fresh perspective to everything she does.

Her focus has always been on identifying the underlying issues of any problem that, if addressed, can deliver an opportunity.

Joining a small agency in Pittsburgh with limited resources, she blazed a trail of innovation. Working on numerous local political campaigns, she meticulously read every media contract and found a loophole where, for $1, she could reserve and hold every evening time slot for her candidates, denying them to the opposition. Lawyers from the media conglomerate couldn’t stop her. That massive media conglomerate—Hearst. Karen was 23. For a real estate development in Florida, she convinced the legendary golfer and golf course architect, Arnold Palmer, to take her and a local TV station crew on his private helicopter to film the making of a golf course. She was 25.

And so it went.

She and her husband moved to Chicago, where she joined Cramer-Krasselt and immediately made her mark.

The bigger, and toughest, accounts in the agency were assigned to her. She rose through the ranks quickly. Head of account service. General manager of the Chicago office, which she helped build into the largest in the C-K network. Chief operating officer. And now, president of C-K.

Karen has been a driving force in managing C-K’s innovative single bottom line model. This “no silos” approach has allowed the agency to be truly integrated and focused on concepts that work across multiple platforms. She has driven process, business systems and analytics, and established a strong discipline for insight-based strategic branding and brand architecture.

Karen is on the National Board of the 4A’s, the Board of The Ad Council and the ICOM Board.

She’s been named one of Ad Age’s Women to Watch, one of the Top Women from Pittsburgh and one of Crain’s Chicago Business' Women to Watch. Her hobbies? Analyzing everything and conference calls!

Karen serves on ICOM’s board as Strategic Planning Director.