Monica Karst

Written by Carrie Kingsley

Woman of the Week: Monica Karst

If you live in Santa Cruz and don’t know Monica Karst personally, you almost certainly know someone who does. With her ever-present smile and boundless enthusiasm, she’s made her mark on our community by being such an integral part of it. She’s worked in finance, stayed home with her kids, been a small business owner, and, these past few years, jumped further into the world of entrepreneurship – while keeping her day job! Clearly, she is not afraid of risks or hard work. In 2015 she started Santa Cruz Socialites to promote women-owned businesses, and, this spring, she helped launch Omnia h2o, a line of water bottles she and a business partner designed. Monica is inventive, industrious, and possesses an indomitable spirit; she is our Woman of the Week. Congratulations, Monica!

One of the first things you notice about Monica is how present she is in conversations. She asks questions and truly listens to the answers, rather than thinking about what she can say next. An extrovert like no other, she has an ability to connect with people – and then connect people to each other. Part of having such an expansive network comes from being born and raised in Santa Cruz, and, after a brief stint in Lake Almanor, returning not just to her hometown, but to the same street where she grew up. Talk about a hometown girl!

Monica’s life, her motivations and her skills and her achievements, centers on people. She says that people’s energy and smiles ignite her soul; for a person so charged on other people, can you imagine a better entrepreneurial area than Santa Cruz Socialites? Monica’s work with SCS has helped local women get their businesses off the ground and refine their focus, and it’s helped nonprofits partner with local businesses. Omnia h2o is the result of talking with her business partner about how to do water bottles better, then tinkering, testing, and producing a solid, deceptively simple water bottle. Her partner does the analytics, and Monica does the marketing, a perfect fit for each partner’s skills. Omnia h2o bottles are available in stores locally, breaking into a tough market by offering something different.

Despite her professional accomplishments, when asked what she considers to be her most successful projects, Monica names her three girls, saying that they amaze her every day with their enthusiasm, abilities, and maturity. She loves seeing her kids take what she’s taught them and use it on her!

While Monica’s successes are many, she doesn’t sit back and rest. She’s always on the go, either organizing or attending events. Given her social nature, she probably doesn’t realize that her mere presence at a fundraiser is a gift, since she usually brings along a group of friends to enjoy the event with her. She is especially good at reaching out to women who might not attend events, making everyone feel welcome and included, and a part of the community. Community is a big deal for Monica; she credits it for her success – even though that success only comes because she contributes a massive amount of time and hard work. But here’s the thing: Monica doesn’t put in the time or the effort because she expects to receive something in return. Her interest and community participation are authentic; she is genuine, and we are lucky to know her. She is our Woman of the Week. Thank you, Monica!

Thank you to this week’s W.O.W. sponsor: Jenny Call, Myofascial Release Practitioner

and to our Blogger: Carrie Kingsley

MK SCS photo edit

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