It’s all about people and connections for engineer Karen Brailean of La Jolla

Karen Brailean is COO of Barc, Inc., an Internet company enabling discovery and interaction. Its first product allows you to chat and post with everyone browsing the same website or Wi-Fi network. Previously, Brailean was the CEO of Perseus Wireless, and was marketing vice president of mobile video products for Alcatel, and for PacketVideo. She also held engineering and marketing positions with Motorola, Hughes Aircraft, and Eastman Kodak. She has eight mobile communications patents.

Brailean received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Purdue University; an MSEE from University of Southern California; and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

She served as board chair for La Jolla Music Society, 2007–2009; as founding member/board chair of San Diego Social Venture Partners, 2003–2005; and as a member of the San Diego Grantmaker’s Homelessness Working Group, helping to bring $13 million to aid the homeless in San Diego.

Brailean was a 2004-2006 season sponsor of Moxie Theatre; a member of the Society of Women Engineers; of Global Importune; of International Electrical and Electronic Engineers; of Eta Kappa Nu, and is a life member of the Society of Women Engineers.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My husband started his company, PacketVideo, in San Diego because it is a great place for startups. We had friends here and we loved California.

What are your favorite places to go in La Jolla?

I enjoy La Jolla Music Society concerts in Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art, walking on WindanSea beach, swimming in the Cove, and breakfast at La Valencia.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you do to improve La Jolla?

I volunteer to count the homeless people in La Jolla village for the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless. We have 10 – 20 people sleeping in our streets each night. I also see the panhandlers during the day.

I believe that the best way to fight the blight and sadness of panhandling and homelessness is for each neighborhood to take care of its own. Thus, I would like La Jolla to have a permanent home for the few homeless people we have who cannot care for themselves. If we provide a permanent home and ongoing help for them, we could legitimately find a compassionate way to move the panhandlers.

Who inspires you?

My mother, who has fun every day and finds the time and energy to help people, too.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

• Hedy Lamarr escaped an overbearing husband to become a major contract star of MGM’s Golden Age in the 1920s. Not just a pretty face, Hedy also invented a complex algorithm for computer communications that is used in most communications today, including technology from Qualcomm;

• Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, arguably the most influential person in the world right now, making decisions about the future of the European Union;

• Susan B Anthony, who fought for women’s right to vote using grace and tenacity. She died a few years before we gained that right;

• Sheryl Sandberg, CEO and member of the board of directors of Facebook. She’s credited with making Facebook profitable;

• My husband, he is great company and has an amazing memory. He would remember everything everyone said.

• Franz Liszt, an 1800’s pianist/composer who was wildly popular. Women would fight for his silk handkerchiefs, which they kept as souvenirs of his concerts. He donated much of his fortune to charity;

• Albert Einstein, he developed the theory of relativity, and wouldn’t it be amazing to hear his thoughts on physics, given what we now know? and …

• Jesus Christ, I don’t think he needs an explanation.

Tell us about what you are reading.

My reading taste is quite eclectic. Here are two examples. I am in the middle of reading “Robopocalypse,” by Daniel Wilson, a scary but oh-so-compelling science fiction thriller. On the other end of the spectrum, I recently finished, “Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling” by Ross King, it’s about the painting of the Sistine chapel.

What would be your dream vacation?

We are taking it in October to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We are going back to Italy, my favorite place to visit.

What apps do you like?

My five favorite apps are:

1) Barc. If you read my bio, you know I work at Barc, so I better love it, and I really do. Chat with everyone who is browsing the same website. It is a useful and fun tool.

2) Twonky. Full disclosure, this is my husband’s company’s product. But, again, I would love it even if I weren’t married to it. Enter a topic and Twonky finds all of the related videos for you. Simply click to display it on your TV. I’m watching interesting video about the Olympics from Twonky now.

3) Facebook. Of course.

4) Twitter. Tweeting more and more these days.

5) LinkedIn. It’s great for connecting with business friends and colleagues.

What is your most-prized possession?

That would be my family and friends, and my two dogs, Rollo and Maxwell.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Every day, each of us has the opportunity to choose our disposition. I choose to be happy.