Profoundly deaf since birth, Meyer has been the president of Karen L. Meyer and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in disability issues, since 1992. She also directs DePaul University's Office of Students with Disabilities and has taught at DePaul since January 2003.
Previously, Meyer served as Executive Director of the National Center for Access Unlimited (NCAU), a firm that assists corporations in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990-92). From 1988-90, she worked in the Illinois Attorney General's Office as deputy chief of the Disabled Persons Advocacy Division.
Earlier in her career, Meyer was the coordinator of health education for disabled persons for the Chicago Department of Health (1983-85) and contributed to Jewish Family and Community Services as their Children's Program Director (1978-79) and as a social worker (1976-78).
Meyer has earned accolades for her leadership and service, including a 2011 Emmy Award, 2009 MORE Award, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; 2008 Mike Flannery Community Service Award, NAMI Greater Chicago; 2007 Aftra Disability Awareness Award; the 2007 Distinguished Journalism Award, Epilepsy Foundation Greater Chicago; Excellence in Media Award, the National Rehabilitation Association; the 2007 Dystonia Public Service Award; Media Champion Award, Anixter Center 2004. A 2003 Damen Award from the Graduate School of Loyola University; the 2002 Chicago International Film Festival Award for reporting and the 2000 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Eastern Illinois University. She was honored along with ABC 7 in 1999, 1994 and 1992 with the National Easter Seal Society EDI Media Award.
In addition, Meyer was recognized in 1993 and 1988 as "One of the 100 Women Who Are Making a Difference in Chicago" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine. In 1993, she was honored with the "Outstanding Young Women of America, Superior Public Service" Award. She is also a member of The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
A long-time advocate for the disabled, Meyer was appointed by President Clinton to be the Vice Chairperson of the President's Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities in 1994. She is an active public speaker who has conducted seminars for businesses including AT&T, McDonalds, Boeing, Motorola, PepsiCo, National American Cancer Society, Waste Management, Discover Card Services and Northern Trust Company. This year, she was recognized by the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago for her contributions to the epilepsy community and her commitment to community education through journalism.
Meyer was born a Chicago native. She received her B.S. degree from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. and her M.A. from Loyola University in Chicago.
Meyer is married and resides in the North Side of Chicago.
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Chicago Lighthouse, a local not-for-profit organization, has developed greeting cards with messages in braille.
The Ms. Wheelchair America pageant is not like traditional beauty competitions - it's all about advocacy and achievements.