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Six years ago, Karen Alaniz purchased jewelry from a friend’s Origami Owl® Jewelry Bar® as a favor.

She’d never seen the jewelry in person. She just wanted to support her friend.

But, when the package arrived in the mail, she was blown away by how beautiful it was.

“The jewelry and the packaging were amazing,” shares Karen of Texas. “I started asking my friend questions about how I could get Christmas presents for my family and that lead into me joining as a ‘kitnapper’ in February 2013 after being on the waitlist since November.”

Already a busy nurse who spent the majority of her time at the hospital, Karen had zero intention of running a business.

“I didn’t know anything about direct sales or how to run a home-based business; basically, I didn’t know what I was doing,” admits Karen.

After two or three successful launch Jewelry Bars, and the support of her friends and family, Karen quickly realized she could get more out of this business than just a discount.

“I realized I could supplement my income pretty well with this ‘side’ gig,” says Karen. “Shortly after I started, someone joined my team, which was scary since I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing.”

So, with the help of her Mentor, Field Vice President Robyn Torres, Karen started thinking about a role in leadership.

“I set a goal of working my O2 business enough to support myself so I could leave my full-time job and make O2 my full-time career,” says Karen. “I wanted to spend more time with my family and my daughter, who was helping with my O2 business.”

The Path to Leadership

Two years later (2015), that’s exactly what Karen did.

“I exceeded my financial goals and told my boss I was leaving,” recalls Karen. “He looked at me and said, ‘You’re leaving a college-degree career to go sell jewelry? You’ll succeed when pigs fly.’ That comment gave me fuel for the fire. At that point, I was all in!”

While Karen started this journey for the discount and extra money, somewhere along the way, she started to see and feel the importance of empowering other women.

“I want to change women’s lives and help them hit their goals and grow their own teams,” says Karen. “At the time I left my nursing career, I was seriously considering going into the teaching field. When I left my career for O2, I knew that wouldn’t be on the table anymore, but little did I know how much training and opportunity there is as a leader.”

In 2016, Karen ran into her first major struggle as a leader.

“I kept comparing myself to what other leaders were doing,” shares Karen. “With a goal to promote up, I talked to Robyn and said, ‘I can’t be a Director. I need to set other goals.’ She asked, ‘Why not?’ and I remember this was my first big experience about having a preconceived idea that wasn’t true.”

So, Karen set that goal. And, not only did she earn Director, she also promoted up to Senior Director that same year.

In addition to earning Director, Karen also had other goals for her O2 business.

The Road to Diamond Parliament

“Years ago, I remember seeing photos of the Paris Parliament Trip,” shares Karen. “So, I checked my numbers and made a goal of earning the next trip. That next year, 2017, I earned the trip and placed second behind Robyn – who was Diamond Designer of the Year.”

The following year was a learning and growth year for Karen’s team. But, following the 2018 Convention, Karen talked to her team about going for Parliament again in 2019.

“I said, ‘Let’s go for the Top 10 again this year,’” she recalls. “But, they weren’t content with Top 10. They wanted No. 1.”

After working together for a well-rounded business, Karen’s team found themselves in the Top 10 at 2019 The O2 Experience, Origami Owl’s annual convention.

Earning Diamond Designer of the Year

“Standing up on that stage at Convention was very exciting, but also very nerve-wracking,” shares Karen. “Literally, standing there in that moment, I was looking at my team, praying to God to give me grace and the strength to lead them through. When they announced we were first, I locked eyes with my daughter, Meghan (Herrick, Senior Team Leader), in disbelief.”

Karen thought she had heard wrong.

“Bella turned to me and said, ‘You did it!’” says Karen. “I was stunned. I started crying. Then, my daughter jumped on the stage and hugged me. It was the coolest experience to have her there for that moment. When Chrissy announced we had been in the No. 1 spot for seven months, I literally was shocked. I’m insanely proud of my entire team.”

Karen has even given her jeep a name – Savannah Luz! (“Luz” meaning “light.” Her team name is Team Light. She wants to be a light to her local El Paso community.)

Future Goals + Tips for Other Leaders and New Designers

“Before I left for Convention, I had already made my goal for the next year,” shares Karen. “This year, our goal is to help our teams grow through sponsoring and promotions. We want everyone on the Parliament trip next year. I’m excited for what’s ahead this year for our team.”

Karen also has some advice to share with other leaders and new Designers.

“Four years ago, a top leader said to me, ‘Everything you want in this company you can get by sponsoring. Every goal you have, is going to come from sponsoring. An incentive trip, Parliament, monthly incentives, etc. I teach that to all of my new Designers,” she says.

In addition to sponsoring, Karen also recommends:

  1. Stay in your own lane. There’s a difference between learning from other leaders versus comparing yourself to them. Don’t let that learning opportunity make you feel inadequate.
  2. Take every bit of training you can get your hands on. New Designers: Take the opportunity to learn everything you can. Every ounce of training helps.
  3. Stop looking at other leader’s highlight reels. Work on your own journey. Don’t worry about what others are doing – especially at the end of the month. Stay focused on your team’s goals.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned through this journey, it’s how to be a servant leader,” shares Karen. “Learn to empower your team, and through that, everyone rises together.”

When thinking about her overall journey with Origami Owl, Karen reflects, “There are a million other companies I could have joined. It’s a blessing that Origami Owl is my first experience with social selling. It’s never been about the money and the jewelry. Every time I look at someone who’s emotional building a Locket with me, it makes me realize that this is what it’s all about. When I see my team succeeding, our youth growing, and when our Force For Good projects make an impact, I realize you truly can change the world with this business. You can give back. Help your family. Have a better relationship with your child. It’s the real deal. I feel lucky I landed here!”

2019 Parliament Earners + 2020 Locations Revealed

See whooo our Top 10 Diamond Parliament members are and get more details on the 2020 Parliament Incentive Trip here.