About Karen Petersen

Karen is a passionate speaker, author and success coach committed to sharing a motivational and empowering message about living authentically and SMASHING goals!

As a lifelong student of personal development, she learned early on how important it is to implement sage advice in order to get incredible results.

She wasn’t always a willing student…she definitely had (and still has) many struggles. However, her high school teachers saw something about her and invited her to a leadership conference. That was when she had her very first experience hearing a motivational speaker…and that was all it took. She was hooked. During the presentation, a friend leaned in toward her and whispered, “you should do that.”

That’s how it all started!

However, she was still hung up on insecurities. She was over 100 pounds overweight. She was still struggling with a reading and learning challenge. Focus was immensely elusive. It took some time and a LOT of learning from setbacks, but eventually, things started to click.

She embarked on some incredibly ambitious goals and SMASHED them (attended an elite university and earned her bachelor’s degree, got a great job with the hardest company in the US to get into at the time, finished training and worked unsupervised in operations for the greatest airline in the world during September 11, 2001)!

Karen did the unthinkable and lost over 100 pounds of excess body fat!

She participated in races and events, but the crown jewel of her athletic achievements was when she became the roller derby athlete Smash Tank! More than just a name – it’s an identity!

She then overcame physical and emotional anguish after she had to retire from playing roller derby after she was hit by a truck.


That was a blessing (perhaps not at first, but in the long run was an amazing opportunity) because it showed Karen that her strength lies in healing, not hitting. It was an opportunity for her to explore deeper and realize that she was meant to heal herself and heal others.

A week after the accident, she embarked on yoga teacher training, and it changed her life, her attitude, and her perspective.

Karen still loves to skate…and do yoga…and sometimes do yoga on skates!

Yoga has been an integral part of Karen’s ongoing wellness journey, and it served to help repair her body and mind.

Staying involved with the skating community has also helped her stay connected with like-minded, goal-SMASHING warriors who are also ambitious and hungry to keep growing – and even make history!

#TheDefectors became the first quad skaters in history to complete the Squiggy Classic Inline Marathon!

Skating and yoga have also played a HUGE role in Karen’s journey into recovery.

Karen’s approach to coaching, teaching, leading and speaking comes from the journey woman’s perspective. She often speaks in “we” instead of “you (should/can/will).” She has discovered that this provides a more intimate experience with her students, groups and audiences. By living with and speaking to people (instead of living “above” and speaking AT people), she has experienced a deeper connection with people. It’s a way to bring her message from the stage into the listener’s heart.

She knows that she’s just as human, vulnerable and flawed as everyone else, and her objective is to cultivate awareness, inspire acceptance, and ultimately motivate folks to take MASSIVE action to live the best life possible!