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A woman about town: Few people know the town of Indian Head better than Karen Williams.

For the last 17 years, Williams, who can pinpoint Aug. 7, 1995, as the exact day she became an employee of the town, has served as its community affairs director. When she first began, Williams did double duty, serving as the town clerk.

“I began as a community activities committee volunteer in the 1980s, and I continued doing that until I started to work here full time,” Williams said. “The person who had held that post at the time was leaving her job, and she asked me if I’d be interested in taking it over. I put in my application, and pretty soon after that, I had the job.”

Coordinating a community: Although Williams was relieved of the role of town clerk in 1997, filling in when the current clerk is unavailable, as she did at the most recent Indian Head Town Council meeting, falls under the wide umbrella of her duties around town.

Before moving into her position, Williams was employed at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., for a number of years. The town government decision, she said, made more sense given her roots.

“I was born and raised here in Indian Head,” Williams said. “I come from a family with a very strong sense of community commitment. Everyone has something they can give back to their community. Even the smallest thing can make a huge difference.”

Although she now lives just down the road from Indian Head in Potomac Heights, Williams still spends more than 50 hours a week working all over the town. Aside from scheduling reservations for the town’s community centers and gathering places, Williams also interacts with everyone from the Indian Head Town Hall staff to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and Indian Head Volunteer Fire Department.

“The last-minute change to schedules and events are the biggest challenges,” Williams said. “We always have a plan B option available. I take it one day at a time.”

The main event: Annually, the town of Indian Head hosts between 20 and 30 events, all of which Williams is in charge of booking and organizing.

“For a lot of them, they’re held at the same time every year, which makes it a good bit easier,” Williams said. “It’s also good because that way, people will remember when certain things are, like that we host our Trunk-or-Treat event on Halloween. If there’s a routine, people tend to recall the date better.”

Because she worked as a volunteer for the town first, Williams said, she did not find the transition into her job particularly stressful.

“I enjoy the diversity of my job,” Williams said. “I am never bored. I don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to get done. But the satisfaction after an event is done is a great success. The terrific community folks who unselfishly give their time, talents and effort to the town: without them, all these things would not be possible.”

Lindsay Renner

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