Meet #MyDTDContest Winner Karen Lao – A Dallas Girl Who Codes & Instagrams Our City

This blog is part of a special series featuring winners of Downtown Dallas Inc.’s Live Like a Local contest, which asked for ambassadorial locals to submit mobile friendly, self-guiding experiences on the Guidrr iPhone app showcasing their #mydtd journeys. Karen Lao is featured today, along with a link to download her free, winning experience: Dallas Photo Guide.

Karen Lao is a full-time girl who codes, who’s also in a part-time love affair with the power and reach of social media. She’s built a large and engaged local following under her Instagram handle @karen.lao and on her personal blog of the same name.

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Karen Lao is a coder by day, but also a popular Instagrammer & blogger

Despite her success (she has close to 100,000 followers on her popular Instagram account), she doesn’t see her social brand becoming a full time gig. “I am passionate about coding. I love to solve problems with technology and am constantly thinking about ways to build better solutions.” Karen’s a huge fan of her employer, DFW marketing technology services firm Epsilon. She’s spent much of her career at Epsilon, after completing an undergrad degree at UT Austin and an MBA at UT Dallas’ Jindal School.  

While it’s all about work all week – come the weekend, this Garland, Texas native of Chinese ethnic origin (“I do wish I spoke the language better”) is often out exploring in order to find interesting corners to photograph and experiences to enjoy. “I found I was sending long emails to friends with lists of places to go, things to eat, spots to photograph,” she shares. “Almost every weekend I was out and about discovering the city.”

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Via her handle @karen.lao she posts her city and travel discoveries

“There are so many angles and so many fun places to Instagram in Dallas” – Karen

Karen is known by followers and friends to have an authentic, visually appealing way of posting that has also helped her build support from national fashion and style brands like Fossil, J Crew, Gap, Google, Mazda and more.

Those who follow her seem to love that she’s always ready to respond and engage online, and that she always finds a unique perspective to display in her posts. Her posts often center of tech, coffee, fitness, travel and she says it’s all about “seeking beauty in the little things.”

When she heard about the Downtown Dallas, Inc. Live Like a Local contest, Karen was one of the first to get online at the free Guidrr creation site, and submit a Dallas guide. “I wanted to share the cool and unique spots where I personally love to go to take photos for Instagram, so my followers and other locals can discover them on mobile and discover in my shoes,” she says. “There are so many angles and so many fun places to Instagram in Dallas.” The DDI team loved her perspective & the unique idea of exploring Dallas via a photo guide, choosing her as one of the contest winners.  

Dallas-Photo-Guide-Karen-Lao.jpgDon’t miss downloading Karen’s winning free experience at her channel on the Guidrr app, a perfect way to explore downtown, either solo or with a group of friends. You can download it directly by using this link (ps: so we can text you a link to directly download the free app & and directly open this beautiful experience).

Don’t forget to hashtag #mydtd and tag
@Karen.Lao @Guidrr and @Downtown_Dallas #livelikealocal so we can see you made it there!

Thanks for being a #mydtdcontest winner and #downtowndallas ambassador, Karen. We’re looking forward to more of your downtown journeys hitting the Guidrr app! Always keep exploring. 

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