Karen Putz - Reinventing Ageless Passions

Karen Putz wasn’t born deaf. At birth, her hearing was normal, but had a gene in her family that affected her hearing, resulting in some loss of hearing. When she was a teenager, she fell when barefoot water skiing and lost all hearing. It wasn’t until she was 44 that she decided to “walk on water” again, and subsequently became the only deaf woman to compete in barefoot water ski competitions. Her story is featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Find Your Happiness.

As a Mom of three deaf and hard of hearing children, Karen is an advocate for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. She is Co-Director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infusion and serves on the Speaker’s Bureau for Hands and Voices. She is also the founder and board member of Illinois Hands & Voices. She’s been honored as a HearStrong Champion and a Top Twenty Deaf Pearl, and received the Hot Mommas Award, housed at the George Washington University School of Business.

An accomplished author, Karen is a former columnist for the Chicago Tribune TribLocal as well as blogger at Growing Bolder and Ricky Martin’s Piccolo Universe. Her books include Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor, The Parenting Journey, Raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, The Passionate Lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, and co-authored Gliding Soles, Lessons from a Life on Water with two-time World Barefoot Champion, Keith St. Onge.

Karen appeared in the movie, “I’m Fine, Thanks”, as well as on PBS in “A Mom Who Walks on Water” – in the Fun and Funky Episode, and is in the Tommie Copper infomercial on TV: Life Recharged. She has been featured on ESPNW, CNN, PBS, Chicago Tribune and  O, The Oprah Magazine, to name a few.

TUNE IN to this episode as Karen chats with Steve, Mary and Richard about how to unwrap your passions and create a life filled with joy and fulfillment.



In This Episode

1 – She wasn’t born deaf; The rise and fall of a barefoot water skiing career; Your mother is always right; Only four known families with the gene

2 – Returning to barefoot water skiing; It hurts so good; What does passion mean to you?; Unwrapping your passion

3 – What keeps you going?; Passionate people have grit; Passion is being willing to suffer; Traits of passion


Resources Mentioned



Previously On Reinvention Radio

Reinventing Badass Assistants – In this episode, Kelly Poelker chats with Steve, Mary and Richard about what makes a badass assistant vs a virtual assistant and why not all virtual assistants are created equal.