Meet the Owner Community Team

    christine karpinski author of how to rent vacation properties by owner Directory of Owner Community, Christine Karpinski
    You might have already read Christine’s official bio, but it’s time for you to get to know the real Christine that we are blessed to work with day in and day out.

    As Director of the Owner Community, Christine’s greatest strength is her never-ending patience for interruptions. Whether we pop in to ask a tough question or just vent about technical frustrations, she is prepared to drop everything to listen and lend a hand. Even when Christine doesn’t have an answer for us, she is always willing to hunt down the person who does.

    Christine has an uncanny ability to start a conversation, follow 12 different tangents, answer the phone, respond to an email, and still get back to the original point at hand. This is truly staggering to us, especially because she usually can’t remember what she ate for dinner the night before. But this skill is only part of what makes her such a wonderful speaker. She is able to field questions from a room of 100 seminar attendees and still finish her presentations on time.

    Perhaps the main reason that Christine makes such a great boss and Director of the Owner Community is her ability to relate to just about anyone. Don’t expect any technical speak – she is direct and down-to-earth, and that’s what makes her blog posts, articles, books and seminars both engaging and entertaining. Although some people might consider her a celebrity, to us she’s more of a mentor and friend. (Christine also has a bit of Heloise in her. Have an obscure cleaning problem? She’s your gal.)

    Christine lives in Southwest Austin with her husband Tom, her son Zach, and her two dogs, Trumpet and Piccolo (who may look familiar.) She enjoys pottery, watching Top Chef, listening to funny stories about Leah’s Grammy, and shopping at Costco.

    Online Community Manager, Laura Kelso
    Laura Kelso is the most recent addition to the Owner Community team, joining us in October 2010 as a new Online Community Manager. Laura’s main focus will be on building our community and improving our website capabilities to allow for more interaction among our owners. (Laura’s secondary focus will be on expanding our restaurant horizons on our Friday lunch excursions and advising us on the best hamburgers in Austin.)

    Although Laura is the newest member of the OC team, she is actually a HomeAway veteran. Laura joined the company in 2006, tasked with creating our traveler newsletters and building content for our family of websites. Since then, Laura has also worked on the HomeAway Real Estate team, serving as the Marketing & Social Media Manager. Throughout her tenure, Laura has developed a strong knowledge of both sides of our business – travelers and homeowners – and has put her passions for writing and travel to good use.

    In addition to her new role in the OC, Laura has taken on another new role – as a mom! Her son Hart was born on July 14, 2010, so Laura got to enjoy some much needed time with her new baby before joining our team. Since coming back to work, Laura has hit the ground running, researching everything she needs to know about the past, present and future of the Owner Community. Considering all the changes in her life, her focus is truly staggering!

    Laura has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master’s of Economics from the London School of Economics. She lives in the heart of Austin with her husband Jamie, their son Hart, and two Golden Retrievers, Jake and Cooper. When she’s not playing with the newest love of her life or catching up on sleep, she enjoys reading, writing about food and travel, practicing yoga, and eating chocolate.

    owner community manager Online Community Manager, Leah Carroll
    Since joining the Owner Community team in March 2008, Leah Carroll, a pocket-size wonder, dazzles with wit and efficiency.

    Like a knight in gleaming mail, Leah effortlessly aids vacation homeowners in their quest for vacation rental success.

    Serving as the manager for the Owner Community, Leah writes articles for vacation homeowners, co-produces the How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner podcast, plans seminars and workshops, and records downloadable webinars.

    During her tenure at HomeAway, she has become the go-to expert in all things checklist-related, and as a diligent note taker, she currently holds the title for Most-Effective Use of a Spiral Notebook.

    At seminars, Leah interacts with and learns from the best source for vacation rental tips and tricks — vacation homeowners. She enjoys meeting new people and has never-ending patience for long registration lines and owner questions.

    Event planning utilizes Leah's under-tapped skill for negotiation. While her everyday demeanor is pleasant enough, you don't want to mess with Leah when she switches to negotiating-mode.

    With no previous voiceover experience, Leah has quickly become a standout in the webinar performance field. We expect her voice acting career to take off any day now.

    Leah graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Marketing.  She lives northwest of Austin with her fiance' Justin.  She delights in checking tasks off her to-do list, organizing file folders, trying new recipes, and watching So You Think You Can Dance.

    Fun fact: Much like a dromedary camel, Leah requires little to no hydration

    Content and Community Strategist, Kristen Keys
    owner community content and community strategistKristen Keys joined the Owner Community team in January 2010, armed and ready to contribute her knowledge of online communities.

    Her previous experience working on web content and strategy was at a hunting and fishing magazine. (Although she does love meat and Texas barbecue, she’s far from a burly outdoorsman.) Despite the subject matter, Kristen’s experience at that magazine has fueled her passion for writing content, designing websites, and improving the overall experience for her readership.

    Since joining the team, Kristen has mastered the OC website and helped us get all of our content up-to-date. She was also extremely valuable in the preparations for Owners Summit, handling all the design needs and employee involvement to make the event such a success. 

    Although Kristen has a love for design and all things artsy, she is a numbers-geek at heart. She won us over in the interview process by confessing to checking her site traffic before she went to bed at night.  Her attention to detail and extreme dedication has been truly staggering from the start.

    Kristen enjoys meeting homeowners at our seminars and learning about their unique stories.  Though our travel schedule can be a bit grueling, Kristen makes the most of it by seeking out local delicacies (like the hot dog she and Christine shared at Costco while on their way to a seminar.)

    Kristen is a graduate of Bard College with a B.A. in Art History. She lives in Austin with her husband Kell, and her two dogs, Maggie and Lucy. She enjoys traveling, visiting museums, watching Lost, eating donuts at 3am, and wearing scarves – we haven’t seen her neck to this day.

    Online Community Coordinator, Meredith Maspero
    Meredith signed on as Online Community Coordinator in April 2010. Though she may be among the newer members of the OC, she’s been at the company since November 2008 and is well on her way to becoming a HomeAway veteran.

    Meredith joined our team in the midst of preparations for our first ever Owners Summit. With her past experience in running large conferences, she jumped right in handling registrations, assisting with the timeline, and even moderating her own panel. And for those of you who attended, she also wrote those hilarious door prize descriptions (a la Price is Right) that made you want to get your own margarita machine and make your vacation home an “official chill out zone.”

    Since interviewing homeowners for our Best Photo series and podcasts and meeting over 200 owners at the Summit, Meredith has quickly become familiar with the priorities and challenges of our vacation rental owners. Need help with key and lock solutions for your vacation rental? Meredith is our go-to expert on all things lock-related, not to mention any time we need some out-of-the-box resourcefulness around the office.

    Though she’s only been part of the OC for a short time, it feels like she’s been on our team forever. Her take-action attitude is always refreshing, and her quick wit and smart sense of humor keep us laughing even at the busiest times. Believe it or not, she’s had no previous theater training— she’s just a natural ham!

    Meredith graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a degree in English Literature. She spent 8 years living in London but currently lives in south Austin with her boyfriend Patrick. She enjoys arts & crafts, thrift store shopping, and frozen yogurt.

    editor for owner community Former Assistant Editor and Product Manager, Kristin Dorsett
    Kristin has been promoted to a new position within HomeAway, but we still consider her a part of the Owner Community. Besides, you’ll still see her face on some of our webinars and her knee-slapping sense of humor sprinkled throughout our articles.

    With a passion for consistent capitalization and parallel subtitles, Kristin Dorsett served as a fervent Assistant Editor for the Owner Community. By researching various matters of importance to vacation home owners and working closely with Christine Karpinski, Kristin quickly became an industry expert.

    Kristin's experiences at the How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner seminars have not only taught her the ins and outs (and sometimes uglies) of event coordinating, but have also impacted her knowledge of what owners care about most. This knowledge has served as a springboard of inspiration for heaps of articles on the OC.

    In her Product Manager role, one of Kristin's greatest strengths was her analytical ability, which was certainly appreciated by her less-analytical coworkers. Her analyses were not just used for fancy reports, but enabled us to track what is most important to our owners, therefore providing us with direction as to how we could better serve you.

    Kristin was not only our analytics queen, but also our resident movie idiot-savant. Come up with an obscure actor or sub-plot, and she'll be able to name that movie in a heartbeat. This probably helped her to come up with those laugh-out-loud top 10 lists featured in our monthly newsletter.

    Christine certainly leaned on Kristin for her in-depth knowledge of our programs and technologies. Kristin even helped to bring Christine's seminar presentations out of the 1800s. We always forgave her hang-ups on lining up words and her overall aversion to cheesy Clip-Art because we know she is a true perfectionist at heart.

    Kristin is a summa *** laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Advertising with a concentration in Public Relations and a BA in English. She lives in Southwest Austin with her husband, Kevin, and two Siberian Huskies, Macy and Delia.

    © Copyright, HomeAway, Inc. 2008 Updated: May 28, 2010


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