Kara Dadarrio Bown '04

The 2021 OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNA AWARD is presented this year to Kara Dadarrio Bown, Class of 2004, in recognition of her achievements, excellence in her career, and service. 

Kara received a BA in english and creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Benjamin Franklin Honors Scholar. She holds an MBA in marketing and strategic management from Villanova University where she was a graduate fellow in the Department of Marketing and Business Law. At Villanova, Kara was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, a business honor society, and was awarded the Bartley Medallion by the Graduate School of Business, the highest distinction the school can bestow upon a graduating student.

Kara first worked in publishing at the University of Pennsylvania Press, Random House, and Scholastic. She then shifted to marketing, working for Kraft Foods, Wawa Inc., Campbell Soup Company, and GlaxoSmithKline. At Campbell Soup, Kara led and developed e-commerce strategies for the company’s US portfolio of brands at key retailers such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart. During her time at GlaxoSmithKline, she managed the firm’s e-Commerce strategy and operations for its US vaccines business for three years, then transitioned to the company’s oncology team where she served as the acting director of Patient Marketing, helping to launch a cancer product to treat Multiple Myeloma.

Throughout her career, Kara has continued to write and publish. In 2020, she left Glaxo to pursue a full-time career in writing. Her writing often examines the diverse ways in which illness and loss affect the human experience. She has performed at The Moth GrandSLAM and is a Moth StorySLAM winner. Her work has been published in The Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia Stories, The Best of Philadelphia Stories Anthology (15th Anniversary Edition), The Belladonna, and The Chestnut Hill Local, among other publications. She is currently at work on her first novel, which has been accepted to the 2021 Yale Writers Workshop.

Kara has a lifelong commitment to serving her community. She is a Springside class agent and an alumni Interviewer for The University of Pennsylvania. Kara is active in her church community where she is a small-group leader for Walking with Purpose, a Catholic Women's Bible study program for today’s women of faith. Previously, she held volunteer positions on the Auction Committee for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and served as a judge for the Collegiate ECHO Awards for Marketing Edge, a national nonprofit connecting marketing students, academics, and professionals.  

Outside of work, Kara enjoys spending time with her husband, John, CHA '04, her energetic springer spaniel, George, and her daughter, Lilly, who is the light of her life. She also enjoys spending time with friends from the class of 2004, especially the SS’04 book club.

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