Karen’s retiring!

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Karen (left) with her wife Lori (middle)

Karen Doherty, Vice President of Marketing at Exaclair USA, is retiring! I have mixed feelings about it: I am very happy for her and I wish her all the best in her retirement, but I am so sad to see her go!

Many of you, especially long-time bloggers, know Karen as the voice of Exaclair, provider of samples, and offerer of giveaways. She has a gift for making people feel valued, listened to, and supported. Her unending kindness and generosity of spirit touched everyone she worked with. She will be greatly missed! Here is Karen:

I have worked for Exaclair since 1999. When I started work, Palm Pilots and email were in their infancy. Office superstores had just begun. There was no online buying to speak of. People still wrote letters, notes and thank you notes by hand. There was a stationery or office supply store in every town or city neighborhood.

Since then, the whole world has turned upside down. Because of our wonderful customers and people who use our products, we are still here and thriving. I am so grateful and appreciative of their love and loyalty. THANK YOU to everyone.

I turned 65 in July. I’ve enjoyed my time tremendously at Exaclair, and got to meet and get to know hundreds of wonderful people who share the same interest in paper, inks, pens, planners and writing. There is really a tremendous bond in our community, and everyone is always ready to share their experience, knowledge and insights. We are blessed with a great group.

I have learned a lot from all my blog friends, and people who wrote to me at Exaclair with their ideas, suggestions and complaints. One thing I do take pride in is that I addressed messages quickly and honestly, and stood behind our products and brands. If people had a complaint, the product was replaced and the complaint forwarded to the right person to address. I was very rigorous about that, because of the bond of trust between the person and the brand. I took that seriously.

Quo Vadis was actually a competitor when the Group Exacompta Clairefontaine took it over in 1999. It was my job to integrate both Exacompta and Quo Vadis planners and promote them both. I got to know Quo Vadis well, and the people at the Canadian office and manufacturing plant in Hamburg, NY. Even though so much manufacturing is done by machines, there is still a lot of interaction with people in printing, stitching and binding, and assembling the final product. People really are behind the product, many of them long-term employees of Quo Vadis that have been with the company 15, 20, 30 years or more.

In my coming retirement, the first thing I plan to do is relax, enjoy nature and get fit. I’m going on a family history/vacation trip to Maine, where I’m planning to research some ancestors who arrived in the 1600s. Since they were from Stratford-Upon-Avon, there is some connection to Shakespeare that has been hinted at. There’s a mystery I will enjoy investigating.

I plan to walk a lot, golf and fish. I love lighthouses, so I will try to visit as many as I can as I travel. I have been asked to help transcribe a 1840s whaling diary by a sea captain who sailed to Antarctica and back to Greenport. We’re hoping to do an exhibit after our project is done.

In addition to family history research, there are two men I want to research and write about. One is a 1930s Rhode Island bootlegger named Danny Walsh; who was the original “cement overcoat” in Long Island Sound. The second is Ed Murphy, who was involved in a blackmail scandal in the early 1960s as a mob-associated gay bar manager. I met Ed Murphy in the 1980s. He was very nice to me, so I was quite shocked to read about him in the Wall Street Journal years later as a blackmailer, who caused several people to commit suicide. Both of them were very interesting, complex people.

Lastly, my spirituality has always been very tied to nature, so I’m planning to explore Catholicism and environmentalism via Instagram and activism. Again, this is something I was deeply involved in during my 20s, so it’s a circle back.

And, read some good books!


Best wishes to Karen in her retirement!

13 thoughts on “Karen’s retiring!

  1. Ack, no! I mean, it’s wonderful for you that you’re embarking on the next terrific journey but it’s sad for all of us who loved hearing from you on all things QV. Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures–especially the whaling diary project!!

  2. Karen,
    I’m going to miss you! You were there for me when I started my business in 2002 and have always been there for me. Congratulations and enjoy this next chapter in your life. Best wishes and many thanks.

  3. Karen helped me once with a QuoVadis agenda and this will never be forgotten.
    Neither all giveaways.
    Neither all these great posts.

    Best wishes for your retirement, Karen!

  4. Karen,

    Like others who are commenting here, I’ve been the recipient of several giveaways and have enjoyed our email exchanges.

    Wishing you all the best upon your retirement and always.

  5. Dear Karen, your retirement plans sound wonderful and exciting and fun. Best wishes for all you will do. I have been the recipient of several of your delightful giveaways and your help on several occasions. Thank you so much. You have made my following the Quo Vadis blog a rich experience and I am grateful. Vaya con Dios from New Mexico. Barb

  6. Noooooooo!

    Happy for Karen and her family. Selfishly mourning for the rest of us whose lives have been touched by her incredible generosity of time and knowledge.

    Has anyone posted anything official on Fountain Pen Network? I know she has many fans there.

  7. Congratulations and best wishes for your retirement, Karen! You’d never remember me, but I visited the Exaclair office in NYC a couple of times a few years ago and enjoyed meeting you then.

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