Westchester County's Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs
Meet 28 of the county's most successful, move innovative, most respected business women.
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The Designing Woman
President and Creative Director, Spencer Creative Group
“I started this company in the basement with five hundred dollars on Visa,” says Karen Spencer, founder of Armonk’s Spencer Creative Group, a company that designs for advertising and marketing in traditional and digital media. “Now, we do a million dollars.”
That’s not bad for someone whose
Plan A was to become a starving artist. “After undergrad, I had hoped to be living in Paris, wearing a black dress, smoking cigarettes, and hanging out with the intelligentsia, but that wasn’t too realistic," she says. "So I got a master’s degree in design from Pratt. I went to Madison Avenue.”
Spencer started out at PW Communications, then a small company that produced medical publications. “A lot of people told me I was over-qualified because of the master’s, and other people told me I was under-qualified because I had no experience. Medical publishing was the door that opened to me.”
The company grew—and so did her responsibilities. “There were eleven employees when I started, and it grew to two hundred people and became international,” she says. “At twenty-five, I became the art director for two of the medical publications, and then I was the senior art director for six of them. It was unheard of for a twenty-five-year-old to be an art director anywhere else. I worked there for nine years until the company moved to Secaucus, New Jersey.”
Not wanting to move across the Hudson, Spencer launched Karen Spencer Design in 1983, which became Spencer Creative Group this year. Today, her staff of between four and seven employees works on a rotating roster of 18 to 20 projects at a time for clients like New York Blood Center, Westchester Community College, Beth Abraham Family of Health Services, and Castle Brands Inc. The company was the lead design firm for Westchester Community College’s much-vaunted Gateway Center, and her projects have earned her recognition from the Advertising Club of Westchester, which has given her multiple gold awards. The company recently began branching out beyond design, offering more marketing services.
“I’ve been in Armonk for twenty-three years,” Spencer says. “Westchester is big enough to find plenty of business in, but small enough to be a great community. I can put together custom teams of writers, photographers, PR people, web strategists, and web technologists. There’s so much excellent brain power here to partner with.”
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