As we dig deeper into solutions for making the tech world more diverse and inclusive in color and gender, it’s important to celebrate those who have successfully broken digital barriers. Amena Karim, a Chicago native who currently lives in the South Shore area with her 14-year-old daughter, is an international businesswoman who is working in the cutting edge software space of smart home technology. Although she recently joined Netatmo, a well-known brand in the European market and based in Paris, France, Karim has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in mobile connected technology at companies such as Motorola and US Cellular. At Netatmo, a startup that launched in 2011, she leads the marketing strategy for the United States, Latin America, and Canada.

“We’re all based in France, so that’s where our research and development, engineers, human resources, and the folks who make the products are,” said Karim. “I go often, and the greatest thing for me is the whole cycle of product development from its inception to getting it into the hands of consumers.”

Netatmo’s products make your home more connected and safe through the simple use of a mobile app. From any location, you can access a face-recognition security system or a climate control monitor.

Amena Karim in Paris.

“We were one of the first companies to have face recognition for indoor security. It learns who the people are in your home. It will profile me. I’m saying me, but it could be my daughter, my babysitter, my family member. But if it’s a face that’s unfamiliar, you will get a motion indicator via your smartphone indicating that someone is in your home that’s unidentified,” said Karim.

Karim may often be on the go jet setting around the Americas for her tech gig, but she also remains active in her South Shore community as a Special Services Area (SSA) Commissioner. Appointed by former Mayor Daley 2011 and again by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2014 and 2016, Karim and seven others in SSA #42 take on district beautification projects, special events, and other commercial and economic development initiatives.

“Every year we throw South Shore festivals that draw a lot of big names. It’s just to take pride in your community and have the opportunity to walk to a concert without going to Lincoln Park, Ravinia or downtown when you can enjoy the beautiful venues within South Shore,” said Karim. “When you’re part of a community, there’s always a purpose. There’s shared goals and common interests, and that’s what the FSA 42 is supposed to represent.”

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