Two things drove Karen Hague throughout her life: a desire to help others and a need to have freedom in her work life. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business, she went to work for Ford Motor Company in a variety of positions, with a focus on sales and marketing. However, coming from a family with an entrepreneurial bent, the bureaucracy began to chafe at Karen.
“I was with them for 11 years, but I learned I’m not made to work for a big company, with all the rules and structure,” she described.
After completing her MBA, she started an organizational development consulting and life coaching business. Ironically, she ended up back at Ford Motor Company, this time as a consultant and coach. However, she once again felt the strain of working for a corporation, even as a consultant. Karen decided to take time to reevaluate what she truly wanted to do with her life.
Growing up, she was extremely close with her grandparents and other older family members. In those relationships, she found the stability and comfort she was missing in her life. She spent much of her formative years in the company of older people, and felt a strong connection to them. As she entered her 50’s and a new stage in her life, she reflected on that connection.
“I started a website called MenoMoms to gather data from other mothers going through menopause while raising adolescents, as I was,” she said. “It was a step into working with this age group, and toward working in the field of aging.”
Karen pursued a second master’s degree at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, as a geriatric fellow. She interned at U of M’s Turner Geriatric Clinic and Arbor Hospice. After graduation, she worked as a geriatric care manager and then at an outpatient mental health clinic. She began to learn more about the mental health field, and also met her future business partner, Thomas Payne.
As was wont to happen, Karen soon began to feel the confines of working for someone else. She and Tom decided to start their own business, focused on a growing section of the population – aging baby boomers. Tom specializes in working with younger people, particularly the young adult children of baby boomers, while Karen focuses more on clients aged 50 and older. Though starting a private practice in the middle of a recession wasn’t easy, especially with all the insurance issues and regulations, Karen and Tom opened Boomer Solutions in May 2010. The business has now grown so much that they’ve added a second location. Karen has also returned to the U of M’s School of Social Work, although this time it’s as a faculty member. Though she presently works with clients ages 18 through 89, her focus has remained on adults in their 50‘s, 60’s and beyond.
“I’m especially interested in helping women reconnect with their passion in midlife,” she explained. “After the care-giving and career-building parts of their life, it’s an opportunity for them to branch out and reclaim who they are.”
She also has maintained a love of working with older adults, making home visits and seeing clients in assisted living environments. The complicated relationships between baby boomers and their aging parents, as caregivers and as family members, is a passion for Karen.
“Boomer Solutions is about offering support and connecting our clients with resources,” Karen offered. “Aging adults don’t live in a vacuum; it’s really about the whole family system.”
If you found this story interesting, informative or inspiring please let Karen know! You may contact Boomer Solutions at 734-395-0343, email email@example.com, visit their website at www.boomersolutions.org, or visit Karen’s office at 408 North First Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.