Fair Oaks resident Karen Campblin has a passion for helping others and improving her community. And her good works were recently rewarded when she was named the 2020 Sully District Community Champion.
Supervisor Kathy Smith (D-Sully) nominated her for the honor, and Volunteer Fairfax chose Campblin as the recipient, based on her work in Fairfax County. Because of COVID-19, the awards ceremony was virtual, but she received a real plaque in the mail.
“It was very flattering, humbling and exciting to be nominated,” said Campblin. “No one does it for the glory, but it’s good to be recognized. And it’s also reaffirming that what I’m doing is doing some good. And coming from Supervisor Smith, it was a great honor.”
CAMPBLIN is involved in several organizations. She’s a member of the Tree Commission, the Land Unit J Task Force, the Joint Environmental Task Force, Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Assn. and is chair of its land-use committee. She’s also co-director of the Green New Deal Virginia, Transportation and Smart Growth co-chair of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Environmental and Climate Justice chair of the Virginia State Conference NAACP.
“Karen is an inspiring leader in the community and is well-respected among her colleagues,” said Smith. “She is a tireless advocate for the environment and underrepresented communities. Her passion for her community inspires others to become more involved. She always thinks first of others and how she can help. The Sully District is so lucky to have her working on its behalf.”
“She is a tireless advocate for the environment and underrepresented communities. Her passion for her community inspires others to become more involved.”
—Supervisor Kathy Smith (D-Sully)
In all of Campblin’s ventures, explained Smith, “She is remarkable in the way she leads and mentors her colleagues. Her passion for environmental justice can be seen as she tirelessly educates and advocates on how we can protect our environment. Karen provides information on what action community members can take to have their voices heard.
“This includes education on the legislative process and actions that can be taken. Her colleagues claim that “Karen never uses ‘me’ language, only ‘us’ language. Whether praise or criticism is being spoken, Karen always adopts the mindset of ‘us,’ sharing the glory with the community.”
A community-development planner, Campblin owns her own company, ktcPLAN. She does most of her work out of state and deals with municipalities or departments of transportation. She moved to Fairfax County in 2011 and has been volunteering here since 2012.
“I volunteer because it’s an opportunity to give back to the community I live in and to help be part of the change that’s making the community better,” she said. “I normally gravitate toward things such as transportation, revitalization efforts and making sure our natural resources and environment are protected. That’s what I do professionally, as well, so it’s something I’m very passionate about, and I find every opportunity I can to help out.”
REGARDING WINNING the Community Champion award, Campblin said, “I was shocked when I got the news that I’d received the award, because I didn’t think it would go beyond the nomination. So it was a real treat.”
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends and family. When asked what advice she’d give to others also wanting to help better things in their cities and towns, she replied, “To get the community we want, we have to work together to make it happen. So if you see something needing to be done, do it.”