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About Karen Schaffer

Why Careers?

I've asked myself that very same question when I marvel that over 17 years later I'm still fascinated by the same thing - how the conversation about career is really a conversation about ourselves and how we want to relate and contribute to the world around us.

What's my Career background?

I had the idea of writing a job search book for students in undergrad. I had no idea that this project would shape my life path. I was curious. I asked a lot of questions of a lot of people and listened to the answers (this btw, is the secret to becoming an expert). Over many years I've experimented - on myself first and then clients - to find out what really works. I've found great tools and made great discoveries from colleagues and clients alike.

What Credentials do I have?

I have a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and an Honours BA in Cultural Studies from McGill University. I've trained in the Career Cycles process by Mark Franklin. I have also been through Landmark Education's coaching program.

Where have I Worked?

I've had a private practice as a Career Coach and Consultant for most of the last 15 years and previous to that ran my own resume consulting practice. For three years I worked at a Toronto recruiting company called IQ Partners as their Partner in Career Management, which gave me a unique insight into the process of selection and recruitment. I remained associated with IQ Partners for several years after leaving Toronto for Halifax, continuing to represent their Career Management practice.

After moving to Nova Scotia in 2004, I had a private practice that included career coaching, creative coaching and ghostwriting. As of 2009, I am a Career Counsellor with Saint Mary's University, with a dedicated private practice on the side.

What else contributes to my Career Counselling approach?

I have been a certified Flowyoga teacher since 2000 and practicing for 16 years. Flowyoga, created by Kaila Kukla, is based in the mysticim of Tantra and the philosophy of the Tao. Flowyoga is the poetry behind the practice of career counselling. It's drawn my attention to the importance of spaciousness in career counselling and life-decision-making, and I've presented on this at Cannexus13 (the national Canadian career conference). I've also taught workshops on "The Yoga of Career Exploration".

And lest you think that I've only been a career professional, I have worked in a number of industries, including television, banking, think tanks and marketing research and publishing.

Where might you have seen me/heard me?

Well, if you watched a lot of TV in the late 90s and the early aughts, you might remember me from Toronto's "Daytime", the Camilla Scott Show, Jonovision, CanadaAM, Breakfast Television, the Chatroom and WorkopolisTV with Bruce Sellery.

Nowadays, I occasionally appear on CBC's Maritime Noon show. It's a less glamourous life, sure, but at least I get to look at the ocean more often. Newspaper reporters still call me for quotes. It's nice.

And over the years I've done various keynotes and workshops to audiences that include career professionals, schools, universities and associations. I've also been a regular contributor to the Toronto Star and the National Post.

All these experiences and experiments and explorations mean that I have a deep well of resources to lean on when working with people around career issues.

Now I'm going to let other people say nice things about me...

Client Testimonials


My meeting with Karen was one of the most enlightening encounters of my professional life - I am still raving about her to friends who are in the midst of major life changes. Karen is an extremely aware and insightful counsellor, whose observations enabled me to acknowledge roadblocks that were so taken for granted that I hadn't even noticed them or how they were affecting my life choices.

- Janice Zima BA, LLB


I took my outplacement package with Karen Schaffer after 10 years with one employer and it was a blessing in disguise - a “reflection” process that really took stock of my capabilities, limitations, past events and future dreams and goals. In retrospect, I was sorry I had not done it earlier. I might not have stayed with my former employer so long, as I realized their direction wasn’t in keeping with my true nature. I’d recommend Karen’s process, even to the fully employed.

- Chris Van Buskirk, Consultant and Co-founder, Net-Ways Ltd.


Karen was instrumental in helping me get clarity on the job I wanted and then guiding me through the job search process to find it! Her coaching was instrumental in helping me through a tough career transition.

- Michelle F., Account Manager


Karen exudes strength, wisdom and compassion. Whatever life transition you may be facing, Karen can walk you confidently through it.

- Marjorie L., Certified Shiatsu Therapist


Eight months after attending a session with Karen for an hour and a half, I decided to do some career testing. That process took weeks to complete and cost me nearly two thousand dollars. Though it was very helpful, I realized that with Karen, we came up with the same answers and conclusions about my aptitudes, strengths and career preferences for a lot less time and money.

- Drew Rice


Karen helped me see in myself the untapped and exciting possibility of being an author. I will be forever grateful to her for helping me ‘see’ this in the time we spent together. Such moments in our lives are truly precious, and Karen was my vehicle to such an epiphany.

- Teresa Eaton, BSc., MRT(N) Bed. and Author


Karen’s coaching is intuitive, insightful and compassionate. I felt “heard”. I got ideas to help me start from where I was at, rather than where I thought I should be. I uncovered hidden barriers that limited possibilities for my career and then broke through them. This has made a long-term difference in my career. I now have my own business doing even more of what I discovered from what I learned from my time with Karen.

- Kelly Cowan, Owner, The BOOST


I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Karen over several years as a coaching client. I approached Karen after hearing her on CBC radio. At the time I was going through a crisis of values and was transitioning from a traditional corporate role to something else??? But I did not have clarity on what that could be. Each time I've worked with Karen it has exceeded my expectations. Karen has a depth and an awareness about her that enables her to connect to my inner life, vision and values which is amazing. She has always helped me achieve clarity on expressing my highest values and goals and has helped reveal my passion to me. I have always walked away from a coaching session feeling great and inspired and motivated. Without a doubt the coaching with Karen has been instrumental in helping me identify who I am and what I stand for and therefore what role I can play in the workforce.

This fall I asked Karen to rewrite my resume which was rusty after being shelved during a lengthy parenting sabbatical and to write a cover letter which I could use to apply for jobs or approach people for contacts and opportunities. Karen went to work and produced a very original and creative product that has been incredibly effective. The response rate to my letters has been 100% and I have been able to get access to key contacts and opportunities. As a result I have a number of opportunities on my plate right now. Karen is an amazing writer, she captured my ideas and organized and articulated them very effectively. I felt very confident about my resume and letter and the results speak for themselves.


As proof, this is what one of my "cold" contacts emailed back to me: “Well, you write the most compelling introductory letter I've ever read!”

- Rhonda St. Croix