Karlan Jessen

Karlan has a lifetime passion for sports and recreation that has evolved into a career. Beginning 30 years ago in the Marketing Department for the Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid, NY, she supported world class events and later joined the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation as Director of Communications.

Locally, she worked for the Seattle Seafair Festival as Foundation Manager overseeing the Navy Fleet Arrival, Special People's Holiday Cruise, Seafair Scholarship Program for Women, the Community Festival Programs and supporting all other Seafair activities.

Transferring her passion from outdoor events to retail, she spent eight years working in Community Outreach for REI engaging enthusiasts in outdoor recreation and conservation activities. Combining her REI experience with a 2012 MBA in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, she opened Playback Sports, a sports consignment retail business with stores in both Tacoma and Puyallup, Washington.

Once again, uniting love of sport with events, she managed the 3- day, 3 mountain pass Courage Classic Bicycle Tour for three years, stewarding 500 cyclists each year across Washington's mountain passes to benefit Child Abuse Intervention and Prevention for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Pierce County.

Karlan is looking forward to engaging thousands of volunteers from the Puget Sound, across the country, and around the world in the magic of Special Olympics and the spirit of sport.