Karen. S Kennedy, who headed KSK Communications and managed the Vienna-based agency for 18 years, died on December 26 of complications from Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), a group of bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.
Founded in 1983, KSK Communications was a full-service agency that provided marketing, advertising and public relations services and offered expertise in high-technology advertising.
According to Cary Hatch, Managing Director, Hart MDB+, “Karen was an advertising pioneer and well-known business leader in the Greater Washington region and beyond. She selflessly contributed to the leadership and welfare of many community organizations and led one of the most recognized agencies in the DMV. As a mentor, boss and advocate, Karen’s energy and optimism were infectious; her belief in social justice and accountabiility were unwavering. She will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to know her.
“A genuinely great lady.”
In 1999, after nearly 15 months of negotiations, Earle Palmer Brown Associates Inc. purchased KSK Communications for an undisclosed price. Under the terms of the deal, reported The Washington Post, KSK retained its company name, management team, 37 employees, an office in Northern Virginia and would operate as a subsidiary of Earle Palmer Brown.
When she left Earle Palmer Brown, Kennedy moved to Asheville, NC, and became part of the arts community there. In 2004, she founded the Treasure Beach Foundation, which provided education scholarships to children in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. In Asheville, she served on the group Citizens for Responsible Land Use, which successfully halted construction of a large condominium community atop Elk Mountain in Woodfin.