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Karen Berk has worked with dozens of chief executive officers throughout Los Angeles County through her work at the March of Dimes.

Now, the charity's former executive director hopes to use these contacts in the private sector as the new executive vice president of public relations firm Ruder Finn Communications.

"I've done so many different things in my career that it feels part of a continuum," said Berk, who spent five years at the March of Dimes. "Even though I was with a non-profit, my job was to work closely with corporations. I hope to use that to my advantage in my new job."

Previously, Berk served as regional vice president for Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services Inc. of Northern California. She also worked closely with businesses throughout the state as former Gov. George Deukmejian's deputy director of marketing for the Employment Development Department.

In her government role, Berk was one of Deukmejian's liaisons with the business community. One of her projects was forming a network to help aerospace companies contend with downsizing.

"A lot of my career has been dealing directly with businesses and, in some respects, making sure that they grow in the economy," she said. "I want to do the same at Ruder Finn."

Berk's main goal is to help Ruder Finn get a bigger piece of L.A.'s new economy including industries like health care, high-technology and multi-media.

Among the clients the firm currently serves is CourtTV and The Todd-Ao Corp., which produced the soundtrack for the movie "Evita." The company has offices in Chicago, London, New York, Paris, Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo.

Joe Bel Bruno

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