Meet Karen

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ~ Mark Twain


Karen’s Story

February 7, 2007 was the day that forever changed her life’s path.

Karen, a Lieutenant Colonel in our United States Air Force, was driving the speed limit on the interstate when she was struck by a drunk driver traveling over 100 mph.  He had a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit.  Both vehicles were totaled.  Her axle snapped in half, with brakes and steering inoperative.  Karen made a futile attempt to regain control of her vehicle as her car slid sideways down the interstate, with cars in the remaining lanes traveling by her at highway speeds.  During these split seconds, as her life hung in the balance, Karen made a bargain with God.  She promised God that if she were blessed to live, she would spend the rest of her life helping others.  This was the genesis for what has become Fulfill Your Destiny, Inc.

Although I did not realize it at the time, the events of February 7, 2007 created the genesis of my future non-profit corporation which would be known as Fulfill Your Destiny.  On that date, my vehicle was struck at high speed by a drunk driver, totaling both automobiles.  While I had a concussion, I was thankful I had survived without what I deemed to be a “serious” bodily injury.  At the time of the collision, I was a Lieutenant Colonel in our United States Air Force, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and two master’s degrees in Business Administration and Cost Estimating & Analysis.  With Top Secret clearances, my work required every bit of the advanced education and 18 years experience I had accumulated.  Following rehabilitation, I was released to return to work.  It became apparent to me I could no longer perform the complex memory-driven cognitive tasks I could before the collision.  I was diagnosed as suffering from a permanent traumatic brain injury (TBI), which affected certain parts of my brain.  Unfortunately, the parts affected were the same parts I had built my advanced education and career around.  At that time, I knew I would have to start over and build a future around my strengths which remained.  Through therapy and interface with a number of organizations in Tampa Bay, I learned that this “hidden injury” had stolen the careers and lives of significant numbers of people, many of whom were military who suffered TBI’s in our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  At that time, I vowed to help people suffering traumatic brain injuries as well as other traumas, whose career and educational paths have been cut short.  My 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation is Fulfill Your Destiny.

Karen R. Mertes, Lt Col (Ret), USAF
Founder & President, Fulfill Your Destiny, Inc.

Integrity First … Service Before Self … Excellence in All We Do

“Your worst day can become your ‘best bad day’.  Embrace this.  Fulfill Your Destiny.” – Karen Mertes

Karen is featured on the cover as well as in the book: Fearless Women Visions of a New World.

Internationally renowned photographer, Mary Ann Halpin focuses her lens on 50 women tackling the globe’s biggest problems in her latest photo portraiture book, Fearless Women Visions of a New World. Mrs. Halpin sees more and more women feeling called upon to do something bigger than themselves and responding in amazing ways. This coffee table book captures and chronicles the important stories of 50 fearless women across the globe working to make our world a better place.  Also included with this book is the CD, ‘Song for a New World’ featuring 13 tracks by Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated artists.

Karen is offering this book with CD where all proceeds go directly to Fulfill Your Destiny.  Order your copy today for a minimum $40.00 tax-deductible donation to Fulfill Your Destiny.

Karen’s Shadow Box

To learn more about the medals in Karen’s shadow box, please click here.


or you can email Karen Mertes at or


Karen’s Certifications

PWN_CertifiedKaren Mertes has earned three certifications and is internationally recognized as a Certified Entrepreneur Coach, Certified Leadership Coach and Certified Women’s Issues Consultant.

Karen successfully completed The Entrepreneur Coaching Certification with special emphasis in marketing and branding, and is internationally recognized as a Certified Entrepreneur Coach.

Certified to conduct The Entrepreneur Seminar, Karen shares how to successfully target your market, brand your products and price your services to gain international exposure and profit.  Learn how to increase your income by creating a marketing strategy that works with the Branding & Marketing Toolkit.

Karen has successfully completed The Women’s Leadership Coaching Certification and is internationally recognized as a Certified Leadership Coach.

Leadership topics include self-leadership, women’s empowerment, staying cool under fire, confidence-building, positioning for leadership in our personal and professional lives among many others.

Karen has successfully completed The Women’s Issues & Diversity Certification and is internationally recognized as a Certified Women’s Issues Consultant.

Topics include Self Esteem, Assertiveness, Diversity, Leadership and Business Etiquette.

Please contact Karen directly at or for more information