Foundations of a Life
“I had emigrated from a small town in Mexico a year prior,” she remembers, “and I had never seen such a beautiful place.”
Right then and there, she decided she would go to USC. In response, her mother said to study hard and get good grades. “As I grew older, she always said ‘when’ I graduated from college, never ‘if,’” Karime recalls of her mom.
Young Karime lived in the projects in Boyle Heights with her mom and five siblings. Times were tough, but she never thought of the family as poor. “My mom worked two jobs and furnished our home with pieces she’d upholstered or made in class,” she says. “Her example of resilience, adaptability and working together as a team is the foundation of my life.”
A degree from the USC Marshall School of Business became part of that foundation as well, upon which Karime built a 30-year career at AT&T as area vice president of External Affairs, Government Affairs and Government Relations. Now retired from that position, her professional life still thrives. As CEO of the self-named Karime Consulting Group, she serves Los Angeles and Orange counties by helping nonprofit organization board leaders and executive staff improve group collaborations.
Karime’s accolades are numerous, including being selected as Business Woman of the Year by California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, being named Woman of the Year by State Senator Martha Escutia, also being named Woman of the Year by the Mexican American Opportunities Foundation, and receiving MALDEF’s Corporate Responsibility Award. Closer to USC, the USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA) honored her with the Legacy Award in 2011.
She currently chairs the LAA Board of Directors, spearheading the association’s efforts to make life better for Latinos and supporting the Latino community at USC. Karime has also chaired the scholarship committee, as well as coordinating events and recruiting donors and friends to the cause.
“My goal is to grow the number of alumni involved,” she says. “We have helped so many Latinos and Latinas through scholarships and student programming, but we could do much better.”
Back in 1983, Karime recalls telling LAA director Raul Vargas that she was ready to pay back her scholarship. “He involved me in fundraising,” she recalls. “And I’ve been involved ever since.”