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Among the three Grammys that Karen Cera ’95 has earned for audio book packaging design, her award this year for the cover of With Ossie & Ruby is the most cherished.

“This Grammy is the most heartfelt award I’ve ever received,” says the English and art graduate. “The project from its inception was a labor of love for me–from hitting corporate brick walls when I wanted to buy it, to fighting for approval to publish it, to negotiating with the agent, to signing the contract, to designing the packaging, to marketing with AOL, to positioning it for sale.

“But in the beginning, the moment I heard it I knew it would win a Grammy, because most important, as the project unfolded, I grew to learn more about the significance of Ruby Dee’s life’s work with her late husband, Ossie Davis. They were not only actors and entertainers, but Broadway icons, model partners and parents, historic black activists in the civil rights movement, and good, nice people. What Ruby’s and Ossie’s legacy continues to accomplish is admirable by any standard–not to mention the program is beautifully delivered by Mr. Davis and Ms. Dee in their own voices. One reviewer said she was so moved by the story that she even cried while listening to it.”

A fellow alum helped Cera get her start in the field by alerting her to an opening in the audio books division of Time Warner Book Group, where she began as assistant to the vice president.

“When I left what is now the Hachette Book Group Digital Media division in November 2006, I was able to take with me a number of skills that led me to start my own business,” she says. “When I graduated Lafayette, I knew I wanted to be around books and to be creative, but I never imagined that entertainment and technology together could so completely satisfy my personal ambitions.”

Cera is producing audio books for cell phones on, creating new content for delivery to iPods on, re-branding products for the mass marketplace on, and developing packaged marketing programs for VOIP systems on and market research on

Lafayette was integral to her success.

“My experience at Lafayette laid the foundation for that drive. It’s a place where a student can get their hands dirty in so many useful ways,” she says. “For instance, I was able to experience real-world business as an intern at a design firm in Easton. That was very helpful when I was interviewing after graduation because it had given me an inside look into how a company works and produces products.”

Cera is a member of the Audio Publishers Association, which promotes standards in audio books, and the New York Road Runners Foundation’s Team for Kids, which raises money to teach nutrition and fitness to children whose schools cannot afford physical education classes. She has run four marathons and plans on completing Avon’s Breast Cancer three-day walk from Santa Barbara to Malibu, Calif., for the second time this fall. She plays co-ed two-hand touch football and soccer in a ZogSports league that raises money for local charities.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles