Karen Barlean named 2013 Professional Woman of the Year

Karen Barlean, the chief financial officer of Barlean’s Organic Oils LLC in Ferndale, has been named the 2013 Professional Woman of the Year by Whatcom Women in Business, which presented the award during a banquet in October.

Barlean joined her family’s company, which produces and sells organic oil products, in February 1995. She oversees accounting and finance, along with other duties.

Barlean was previously a branch manager for Whatcom Educational Credit Union’s Birchwood Branch in Bellingham.

In her community, Barlean is a volunteer track and basketball coach for the Ferndale School District, a member of the Ferndale School District Advisory Committee and previous board president for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Washington.

Whatcom Women in Business, which was established in 1978, serves as a networking and mentorship group for local business women. The organization also funds scholarships for young women about to graduate high school and planning to further their education through a university, community or technical college or trade school.

The finalists for this year’s Professional Woman of the Year award included Randi Axelsson, hotel sales manager of Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa and tournament director for the Ryan Stiles Golf Classic; Bridget C. Cantrell, author, speaker and founder of Hearts Toward Home International; Anny Havland, co-founder of Neighborhood Mortgage and executive producer of Talk It Up TV; Cheri Kilty, executive director of the YWCA; and Michelle Kuss-Cybula, principal of Fairhaven Middle School.

The Bellingham Business Journal is a media sponsor for Whatcom Women in Business’ Professional Women of Year awards.

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