Our Executive Director

Karla Dzienkowski Celebrates Three Years at Foundation This year Karla Dzienkowski, RN, BSN, celebrates her third year as executiv...

Karla Dzienkowski Celebrates Three Years at Foundation

This year Karla Dzienkowski, RN, BSN, celebrates her third year as executive director of the RLS Foundation. Since taking on the role, Karla has brought the Foundation into a new era, developing programs and nurturing relationships that make significant strides in spreading awareness, providing support, and finding a cure for RLS.

Karla first began her relationship with the Foundation in the early 2000s, becoming a member and supporter of the Foundation after her daughter was diagnosed with severe RLS. As soon as she finally heard the diagnosis, Karla set three goals for her daughter: 1) To become knowledgeable about the disease, 2) to learn how to manage her symptoms, and 3) to advocate for herself. Fortunately, the RLS Foundation provided information to get the help that she and her family needed. Even today as executive director, Karla has made it a personal goal to support children impacted by RLS, developing publications so that kids can better understand this disease and take charge of their symptoms.

Eventually, Karla served for six years as a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Karla spent several months in Rochester, Minnesota, the Foundation headquarters, to train and transfer knowledge from the retiring staff to the newly recruited staff. The new and old team packed up the office for relocation, and Karla and her husband then drove a moving truck over 1,000 miles to the Foundation's new home in Austin, Texas.

Karla is a registered nurse, and has extensive nonprofit and volunteer experience. In addition to her years on the Foundation's Board of Directors, Dzienkowski also served as board president of an Austin, Texas chapter of the National Charity League, Inc., a mother-daughter philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. Karla has a passion for cooking (keeping everyone at the Foundation office well-fed!) and is a dedicated Pittsburgh Steelers football fan and eternal optimist. She spent many years as a school nurse while her daughters were in school, but her role as mother and wife have always been her first priority. She works tirelessly for the Foundation because Karla is truly dedicated to its mission.

"Karla possesses an energy that radiates throughout the office and infects us all," Membership Coordinator Faith Duncan says. "She leads a trifecta of boards, constituents and staff, and does so with relative ease. One might find it difficult to manage business executives, renowned physicians, Foundation staff & RLS sufferers (each requiring a different 'touch'), but Karla quite competently wears many hats and accomplishes this like a true champ."

Karla's drive to find a cure, in addition to her personal experience with RLS, is what makes her a distinguished leader who inspires all she works with. She is selfless, consistently leading with extreme dedication and passion, and always puts her constituents first. When any person calls or writes in with stories of frustration, often at wit’s end, Karla takes the time to reach out to each individual, listen with sincere compassion, and assist them in outlining steps to a solution.

On behalf of the Foundation and the RLS community, we thank you Karla!

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