Speaker Info

Karen Mertes, a member of the Women Veterans Speakers Bureau,  The Professional Woman International Speakers Bureau and the National Speakers Association with the Central Florida chapter, also raises funds for Fulfill Your Destiny by delivering motivational speeches and serving as a consultant to corporations and other non-profit organizations.

All honorariums for Karen’s speaking and consulting engagements are paid directly to the tax-deductible non-profit corporation, Fulfill Your Destiny. We believe many corporations have supporting their local community as one of their objectives. We also believe many of these businesses have dollars in their budgets for bringing in speakers during employee appreciation days, employee training and corporate retreats. With the tax-deductible honorariums going directly to Fulfill Your Destiny, Karen can save businesses money and fill multiple needs – leadership, education, moral, team building and philanthropy. Please see the list of topics with descriptions at the bottom of this page.  Karen is also happy to provide additional info on her background and references/testimonials on her past speaking engagements as requested.

A little background on Karen …

Karen Mertes is a Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) from our United States Air Force and a lifetime member of the Military Officer’s Association of America.  Having served for over 20 years in the Military Intelligence and Air Force Comptroller career fields, Karen is often asked to give presentations sharing key leadership tips she has learned in her Air Force career.  Her leadership experience includes having had the rare opportunity to serve in two back-to-back Financial Squadron Commander positions.  In an overseas assignment, Lieutenant Colonel Mertes served as Comptroller or Chief Financial Officer of an overseas military base with a budget in excess of $169 million dollars.  Serving at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Lieutenant Colonel Mertes was the only female Squadron Commander (out of 18 Commanders) and she led her Squadron to an “Outstanding” (the top) rating during the 2005 Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Unit Compliance Inspection, the only Squadron to earn an “Outstanding” rating during this inspection; a feat matched in only 4 of 216 comptroller Pacific Air Forces inspection reports since 1970.  Karen has been recognized and presented numerous awards throughout her distinguished career including the Major T H Baca Award for her contributions to women in the military. This award is named in honor of the first woman to officially serve as a commissioned officer in the National Guard, United States Army and military force, eventually rising to major and later appointed Assistant Adjutant General of New Mexico.

Karen shares key leadership tips for success and provides strategic, organizational and financial insights.

As a motivational speaker, Karen speaks about Fulfill Your Destiny’s motto, how anyone can Be a H.E.R.O. – ‘Hands Eagerly Reach Out’ to help others when and where needed.  She shares how character drives destiny and turning one’s worst day into one’s ‘best bad day’ catapulting people to levels of success never imagined.

 Here’s what people are saying about Karen’s speeches:

Karen Mertes Speaker


Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring our local veterans interested in starting their own business.  The feedback I received during the day was very positive about your presentation.  You really were able to connect. Thank you for participating.  We look forward to working with you in the future.
  — Andrew Gold, HCC Business Instructor

Karen – I wanted to tell you I thought you did an outstanding job speaking to our last meeting of the West Pasco Community Service Council. I really appreciate you reminding us about how our attitude controls more than what is actually happening to us.
  — Sincerely, Shawn Foster, Southern Strategy Group

Karen, you are such an inspiration. How impactful your PWN presentation was.
  — Linda Rose Mongell

Hello Karen,

Just a quick note to say that I enjoyed hearing you speak this afternoon.  What you have been through, and what you are doing is truly inspirational.  I’ve always been a person who has wanted more, and seen the possibilities.  I try to surround myself with like minded people!

I was talking to someone this evening at a marketing mixer, and the subject turned to the decisions we have made, and the “fork in the road” that we have taken.  After hearing you speak about your TBI and how it reset your life, it made me think about the “resets” in mine.  Not all of them were successful, but I believe that I learned something about myself through each one.  I now think that those were all to prepare me for where I am today.  I believe that living our dream is not beyond any of us, but that it takes courage (which is never easy).  It is always easier to listen to the little voice that says “can’t” than it is to believe in one’s self.  Fearless is something we should all strive to be.  You inspired me today.  Thank you.

  — Sincerely, Nellie Darby, Owner, Healthy Cells Magazine Tampa Bay Edition

The Fearless Women book is powerful!  You ladies are amazing!!!  I love your picture on the cover which conveys the true meaning of hitting life’s challenges head on.  The photographs and stories are inspirational.  It is so well done.

  — Jeff Griggs

Hi Karen, Thank you for sharing your story at the Working Women of Tampa Bay Hillsborough Power Lunch.  It is very inspiring.  My friend’s husband was a school teacher and was killed by a drunk driver at 7:30 in the morning while driving to work.  So, yes, you never know when a drunk driver is on the road. You certainly have touched many people’s lives!  I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us, for reminding us to remember to be grateful, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  — All my best, Sharon L. Herman, AAMS, ADPA, Silver Key Wealth Management

Lt Col Mertes is AMAZING!  Her personal testimony moved me and her professional knowledge is priceless!

  — Merry B., Salem Communications

On behalf of the Clearwater Chapter of the Military Officer’s Association of America, I want to thank you for your wonderful presentation.  You are truly a wonderful speaker and I know all the members truly enjoyed hearing about your wonderful organization.  We are very proud of you and the work you do for others.  Outstanding!”

  — David M., MOAA

Thank you for such an incredible and inspirational presentation at the breakfast on Oct 25th.  I have received so many compliments on your presentation.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

  — Brenda R., Executive Director, Self-Reliance, Inc.

I just wanted to send you a personal thank you for your involvement in our fundraiser last week and for allowing me to share your special evening as you were honored as ‘Business Woman of the Year’.  I feel blessed to know you and your sincere acknowledgement of the special people in your life inspires me to appreciate all those that I have walked with on my journey.  God bless you for all you do.

  — Kindest regards, Kin A., Self Reliance Board of Directors

Thank you so much for your very inspiring speech at the Self Reliance, Inc. fundraising breakfast.  We appreciate you not just giving your time and energy – but for sharing your story and reminding me about what TRULY matters in life.  I’m so happy we got to meet.  And I hope we can work together again.

  — All the best, Kim Z., Self Reliance Inc. Secretary

Karen, few speakers stir a group to action immediately, but you did, that was great, you touched them and got through the fog.  I look forward to our association.

  — Bill M., Tampa Hyde Park Rotary

Pearl Society Kickoff Event.  We had an incredibly inspiring 2012 kickoff meeting.  Our guest speaker Karen Mertes, Lt Col (Ret), USAF is a marvelous example of what strength of spirit, faith and will power can do to overcome adversity.  The organization she founded is Fulfill Your Destiny.  I won’t go into her story, because it would spoil it for you.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Karen speak – do so.  You will come away in awe of what she has accomplished and strongly motivated to do more.

  — Cathy B.

Thank you for taking the time to share your inspiring motivational program with our group.  Hearing about your accident and how to turn one’s worst day into one’s ‘best bad day’ was thought provoking.

  — Arlene M.

You did a fabulous job with your presentation.  I’m so glad you shared your personal story as that is the impact of your presentation.  I liked your list on leadership and highlighting and expanding on a few.  It is critical that you ALWAYS share your personal story as you will grab the hearts and minds of your audience.  GOOD JOB!
  — Beth E.

The wonderfully talented and humbly gracious Karen Mertes spoke to launch the Centre Club Executive Women’s Committee Quarterly Series, Breakfast of Champions, and it could not have been more enjoyable or more inspirational.
— Debbie L.

Karen, you, and your story, serve as a lasting reminder of perseverance, kindness, dedication and belief.  Thank you again!  With appreciation, make the most of all you continue to do.
— Debbie L.

Judy, a great event it was!!  I hope Karen inspired everyone in the room as much as she did me.  Her gentle spirit, femininity and attitude are beyond compare.  She provided a teachable moment in that her ability to overcome devastating challenges has not tainted her perspective on life.  Every day is a celebration and we need to treat it as such.  She is a great reminder to women that it is not necessary to act like a man to achieve success.  Our female approach is what makes the world special!
— Cindy K.

It was a pleasure meeting you at Charity Chics meeting.  I truly enjoyed your presentation.  You are a fantastic role model for a lot of women!  We need more women like you.  Thank you for your service.
–Beth E.


— Jillian, Planning Committee for the City of Tampa’s 20th Anniversary Women’s History Month Celebration

For speaker or corporate consulting inquiries, please contact Karen by e-mailing karen.mertes@yahoo.com or  karen@fulfillyourdestiny.org

Excerpt from Karen Mertes’ Speech when she was honored as Woman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business and Professional Women.


*****Thank you to Richter Publishing for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s presentation on “How to Become a #1 Amazon Best Seller”  


Thank you to C1 Bank, Home Instead Senior Care, Independent Financial Services, and Willow Healing for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s presentation of The Asset Map – Find Your Treasure without the Hunt! 

* Presentation Sponsored by C1 Bank and Home Instead Senior Care
** Presentation Sponsored by C1 Bank, Home Instead Senior Care, Independent Financial Services, and Willow Healing
*** Presentation Sponsored by C1 Bank and Independent Financial Services
**** Presentation Sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care
***** Presentation Sponsored by Richter Publishing 


Presentations Given:

  • South University Graduation, Tampa, FL – Commencement Speaker
  • Tampa Bay Business and Professional Women (BPW), Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker
  • North Tampa  Chamber of Commerce, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Community Service Council (CSC) of West Pasco, Inc., Spartan Manor, New Port Richey, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • The Centre for Women Brown Bag Lunch Series, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker*****
  • City of Tampa 20th Annual Women’s History Month Celebration, Tampa, FL – Keynote Address
  • Leadership Luncheon at PACE Hillsborough, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Florida Institute of CPAs Sandspur Chapter, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker****
  • Florida Institute of CPAs Polk County Chapter, Lakeland, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Hillsborough Community College (HCC) 3rd Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium, Plant City, FL – Panel Speaker
  • Valpak Manufacturing Center, St. Petersburg, FL  – Featured Guest Speaker***
  • South Tampa Chamber of Commerce Women in Business, Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker**
  • Focus on You Strategy, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker*
  • Hyde Park Rotary Club, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker*
  • The Unstoppable Woman Conference, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Professional Woman Network 33rd Annual International Conference, Louisville, KY – Keynote Address
  • EDGE Business Colloquium, Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker
  • Valpak Corporate Headquarters, St. Petersburg, FL  – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium, Brandon, FL – Keynote Address
  • Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA), West Central Chapter, Brooksville, FL – Keynote Address
  • Professional Woman Network International Conference, Louisville, KY – Featured Speaker
  • Community Service Council (CSC) of West Pasco, Inc., New Port Richey, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Tech Data Corporation Executive Administrative Professional’s Annual Luncheon with the CEO, Clearwater, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Clearwater Deanery Spring Gathering, Tarpon Springs, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Tampa Hyde Park Rotary Club, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Valpak Corporate Headquarters, Largo, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Fresh Start Women’s Expo, Lutz, FL – Keynote Address
  • The Centre’s Brown Bag Lunch Series, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Working Women of Tampa Bay Hillsborough Power Lunch, Tampa, FL – Keynote Address
  • Community Learning Center, Clearwater, FL – Tutor Training and Featured Guest Speaker
  • Clearwater Community Woman’s Club, Clearwater, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • South Tampa Chamber of Commerce Health & Wellness Expo, Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker
  • Christian Chamber of Commerce Tampa Bay, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Christian Chamber of Commerce Tampa Bay, Clearwater, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Suncoast Women in Networking (WIN), Port Richey, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • The Ultimate Women’s Fitness & Wellness Event, St. Petersburg, FL – Inspired by HER Honoree and Keynote Address
  • Narrowing the Gulf Fourteenth Annual Conference, St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, FL – Closing Keynote Address
  • Women of Wesley Chapel (WOW), Lutz, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Business and Professional Women (BPW)/Orlando, University of Central Florida (UCF), Orlando, FL – Keynote Address
  • National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), Clearwater, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Mother’s Against Drunk Driving 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance and Hope, Temple Terrace, FL – Featured Speaker
  • Rigatoni Women’s Group, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA), Clearwater Chapter, Clearwater, FL – Keynote Address
  • Women in Business, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker
  • Tampa Bay Business and Professional Women 2012 Networking Night, Tampa, FL – Woman of the Year Honoree and Keynote Address
  • Self Reliance, Inc. Inaugural Fundraising Breakfast, Tampa, FL – Keynote Address
  • Women Owner’s of Florida, Sarasota, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Hyde Park Rotary Club, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Fearless Women Visions of a New World Conference, Los Angeles, CA – Fearless Women Award Honoree and Panel Speaker
  • Working Women of Tampa Bay, Tampa, FL – Workshop Leader
  • The Pearl Society, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Tampa Bay Young Women’s Leadership Symposium, Tampa, FL – Panel Speaker
  • Tampa Housing Authority, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Business Professional Women (BPW) St. Pete Chapter, St. Petersburg, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Daughters of the American Revolution, Tampa, FL – Featured Guest Speaker
  • Network of Executive Women (NEW), Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker
  • Breakfast of Champions Inaugural Speaker, Tampa, FL – Inaugural Breakfast of Champions Honoree and Keynote Address
  • Charity Chics, Tampa, FL – Featured Presenter
  • Business Professional Women (BPW) Tampa Chapter, Tampa, FL – Featured Speaker


Fulfill Your Destiny is an official #WEDUBeMore Award Winner!

Video of Karen Mertes, Fulfill Your Destiny, Inc., being awarded the WEDU Be more…Entrepreneurial C1 Bank Engaged Philanthropist Award at the WEDU Be More Award Ceremony and Luncheon. View photos and videos from the ceremony at www.wedu.org/bemore.


The Asset Map System –
Find Your Treasure without the Hunt!

Karen is the designer of The Asset Map System.  Stemming from the passing of her mother Renee, who had a Will and Trust but yet her assets were not properly identified.  Karen created The Asset Map, a system that allows people the opportunity to accurately identify and consolidate all essential documents and assets in an easy and usable reference resource.  This resource can then be repeatedly referenced by the person who created it as well as their survivors needing easy access to all key and valuable information.

Karen teaches her Asset Map System to people so they’ll be able to implement it immediately.  Karen also highlights how her Asset Map System can and should be used by all entrepreneurs, sole practitioners and even small companies.  Karen provides detailed handouts and showcases business and personal examples.

As an added bonus, Karen provides each attendee with a checklist of everything that must be done on the day, during the first week and month upon learning of the passing of a loved one.  Learn and implement The Asset Map System today so you can find your treasure without the hunt!


Here’s What People are Saying about The Asset Map Presentation:

Hi Tami,

I really appreciate Karen coming to speak for us today. The information she provided is extremely helpful to everyone, whether it be for after the death of a loved one or even in preparation of our own final passing. Both of my parents have passed on and I vividly recall the inability to even think or function during that time, so something like the Asset Map would make it much easier and less stressful to deal with what needs to be done. I’m definitely going to share this information with my family and friends.

Thank you for arranging it for us!

~ Jeanne Milot, Cox Target Media – Valpak

I think Karen did a great job of presenting.  By sharing her personal story, she added a human touch which many speakers lack.  I am truly grateful for the information & guidance Karen provided to us.  As the executor for my Dad’s estate, the asset map will come to good use (if he doesn’t outlive me!)

~ Cindy Giles, Cox Target Media – Valpak


Interested in hiring Karen for your next event?

Click below to download her executive summary and introduction:

National Speakers Association Member - NSA

pwn-speaker PWN_Certified


Karen’s Speaking Topics include:


1 ) How to Become a #1 Amazon Best Seller

Karen Mertes shares all the valuable tips that led to the success of her book, Plaintiff 101.  When asked, most people have a desire to write and publish a book.  Why not make it a Best Seller?  Karen shares the secrets of her successful strategy, explains the process and answers any questions so you too can become an Amazon Best Seller.

5 Key Points that Audiences will Learn:

  • What’s an Amazon Best Seller?
  • What’s an Amazon Hot New Release?
  • How to Write a Book that can become an Amazon Best Seller?
  • What to Consider when Designing and Creating your Amazon Best Seller Campaign?
  • Increase your Bottom Line with an Action Plan for Leveraging your Book’s Success for even Greater Profitability

2) Plaintiff 101 – a #1 Amazon Best Seller

Plaintiff 101 is a survival story, which educates all drivers, inspires injured victims and assists them through litigation.  Plaintiff 101 answers the common question, “I’ve been in an accident.  What do I do now?”  It’s a Must Read for Every Driver!

This groundbreaking book is written from the combined efforts of an attorney who has been a member of trial teams that have earned million dollar verdicts and settlement and a plaintiff.  It gives you much of the information from inside a personal injury lawsuit from a lawyer and the plaintiff who was successful in her litigation.

Plaintiff 101 The Black Book of Inside Information Your Lawyer Will Want You to Know provides 50 Takeaways and Checklists some of which can be implemented immediately to save you time, money and energy.

3) Hit by a Drunk Driver at over 100 mph and Alive to Tell

Karen Mertes, a Lieutenant Colonel in our United States Air Force, was driving he 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 and promised that if she were fortunate to survive, she would spend the rest of her life helping others.  This was the genesis for what has become Fulfill Your Destiny, Inc.  www.fulfillyourdestiny.org

4) Fulfill Your Destiny

Karen Mertes turned a life altering tragedy into a life purpose with her organization, Fulfill Your Destiny.  Karen is a Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) from our United States Air Force.  A car accident in 2007 when Karen’s car was struck by a drunk driver traveling over 100 mph was the genesis that led her to create the organization that helps people whose careers have been altered by injury or other unforeseen circumstances.

Karen uses an entrepreneurial business model that she’s overlaid onto a non-profit organization, raising money for Fulfill Your Destiny in 11 ways, 5 of which involve her offering a professional service or product for donation.  Karen is dedicated to enriching the lives of others by bringing business and community together.

Having designed this proven, successful non-profit organization, WEDU honored Karen and Fulfill Your Destiny in 2014 with their Be More Entrepreneurial C1 Bank Engaged Philanthropist Award.

5) The Art of Leadership – Views from the Female Military Commander’s C-Suite*

Karen Mertes is a Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) from our United States Air Force.  Karen shares leadership tips and life lessons appropriate for the sole entrepreneur through corporate CEO through the acronym, INSPIRE.  Revealed during her speeches, Karen shares how you can INSPIRE yourself and others to live the life you’ve always envisioned.

*Attendees at presentations receive a complimentary take-away of 35 Leadership and Life Tips that are easy to implement for immediate, positive results.

6) Conversations with Mom I Never Had:
Mom, Money and Me**

Karen’s Mom passed away very suddenly from a massive heart attack.  Karen was the executor, personal representative and trustee.  Combing the internet for resources to help, Karen didn’t find all that she needed so she created two checklists:  What to Do When Learning of the Passing of a Loved One, and The Asset Map which helps you find the treasure in your business and personal life, map your assets, and prepare your family for financial freedom.

**As an added bonus, Karen provides each attendee with a checklist of everything that must be done on the day, and during the first week and month upon learning of the passing of a loved one.  Special Tips for Executors are included as well.

7) Triumph through Tragedy

Karen Mertes sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) when she was hit by a drunk driver traveling over 100 mph.  The impact upon her head and brain were multiple G-forces.  Karen’s brain literally cracked and bled inside her skull.

Karen is living proof of how only one concussion can change a life forever.  During this collision, Karen suffered multiple brain bleeds that impacted her memory, cognitive executive functioning and personality.  In a split second, that drunk driver had pushed the reset button on her career, family relationships and upon her whole life.

Karen was no longer the same person as she was before the crash.  Karen saw a different person when she looked in the mirror.  Karen now openly shares these insights as a TBI survivor and inspires others by explaining how she made gallons of lemonade out of that big lemon!