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Meet Team AMGB Walker: Karen Garcia

Karen GarciaKaren Garcia

I am the co-founder of GTO Management and have been involved in affiliate and performance marketing since 1999. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at several conferences and in 2009 I was nominated for a Pinnacle Award for Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year and one of the programs we manage, BowlingShirt.com, was nominated for Exceptional Merchant of the Year, and I was awarded the ShareASale Pay It Forward Award for my contributions in combating the Ad Tax on behalf of the industry.

I’ve lived most of my life in the Sacramento, CA area and attended Linfield College in the Pacific Northwest, graduating with a B.S. in Physics and minors in Mathematics and Music. My husband Joel and I have three incredible children, Maria, Alex and Sophia, and they keep us on our toes. My hobbies include cooking, crochet, gardening, gaming and music. I volunteer as a late night jazz and blues dj for an online radio station once a week.

I am walking this year in memory of two people, a former co-worker and a dear family friend. Mary Flynn and I worked together for several years at berries.com and I had the honor of making her wedding cake. Despite her prolonged battle with breast cancer, she always kept a positive outlook and even on her roughest days, she had a calm strength about her that I always admired. She passed away in December 2008.

Stephen Shirley was my little brother’s best friend since they were six. They grew up together on the baseball diamond, learned how to restore classic cars together, and my brother was his best-man. While Stephen did not have breast cancer, three years ago he was diagnosed with both Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is incredibly rare. He went through several rounds of chemo and radiation before being referred to the MD Anderson treatment center in Texas, but it was too expensive for him to go. We thought it was unacceptable to give up the fight and set up SavingStephen.com to raise the funds he needed. Despite successful treatment, his remission was altogether too short. He passed away on November 12, 2009. He was only 28.

Stephen is the main reason I’m walking for the second time…I’ve seen the vacant hollow look in his young widow’s eyes and hole it left in my little brother and I want to work to see a world where there’s a cure and no one ever has to suffer the pain of a life cut short by any kind of cancer.