Catching Up with Karla Murtaugh:
Her Thoughts on Community and Giving Back
Article by Ashley Alt
Photography by New Light Creative Services
Originally published in Ridgefield City Lifestyle
You are probably aware that Karla Murtaugh is consistently ranked among the top few realtors in Fairfield County and that she recently opened Compass Ridgefield on our beautiful Main Street. Her numerous accolades in real estate are well known, but what may not be as understood is her abundant generosity and full commitment to giving back to Ridgefield.
Karla is actively involved with many organizations in town including the Boys & Girls Club, Turkey Trot, Half Marathon, Gala Events, Lounsbury House, Tiger Hollow Fundraising, Ridgefield Farmers Market, Ridgebury Farm and Stables, RVNA, the Ridgefield Library, Sphere, Ridgefield Playhouse, ACT of Connecticut, Guild of Artists, Run Like a Mother, Kids in Crisis and the Women’s Center.
We talked with her and a few residents who have worked with her locally about the importance of giving back and building community. She chose to be photographed at the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield and in particular the new space that hasn’t officially been unveiled to the community yet. As a long standing board member at the club, she was instrumental in bringing this addition to the community which will provide more opportunities for more kids to tap into the innovative programs that the club is known for.
Run Like A Mother is an event that Karla has championed from the very beginning. Megan Searfoss, owner of the Ridgefield Running Company and Darien Running Company, says that “a word Karla champions in our town is community. I met Karla 17 years ago when our family was relocated from the Midwest. Karla helped us find our home, then jumped right in to sponsor Run Like a Mother [a wellness program and race held on Mother’s Day] in its inaugural year, and has done so every year since. Karla’s commitment to our town is evident from the Boys and Girls Club to the library and beyond. Her drive is evident in all that she gets involved in.”
Most recently, Corrin Arasa explored the possibility of opening a Farmer’s Market in Ridgefield. The first person she called was Karla because she felt ‘that Karla’s understanding and passion for the community would help the concept launch.’ Karla immediately loved the idea and offered both consultative and financial support to get the market open in just a few short months.
How long have you lived in Ridgefield, and what made you decide to move here?
My husband, Greg, and I, have lived in Ridgefield since 1989, having moved from Bronxville, New York. I decided to take a corporate job opportunity in CT. We fell in love with Ridgefield and my husband who worked in NYC wanted to commute out of Katonah, so Ridgefield was a logical choice.
How did you get your start in real estate?
I loved my former career, but as our company grew, my domestic and international travel also grew. On 9/11, I was on a plane for a lunch meeting with a client in Detroit and my husband worked at the World Trade Center. We feel truly blessed that our day did not end in tragedy, but it made me think twice. We had dabbled in investment properties in and around New York City, so real estate felt comfortable to me. I also felt my skill set in marketing and business development would make for an easy transition. As fate would have it, I never looked back and clearly knew this was the right fit. It allowed me to be more local for our son and to finally get involved with a few non-profits, something my husband and I wanted to always do since moving to Ridgefield.
What motivated you to bring COMPASS to Ridgefield?
COMPASS had their sights set on Ridgefield for a while…they like all of us, fell in love with this town. They approached me about becoming the Founding Agent for
COMPASS Ridgefield, and the timing was right.
You give back to so many organizations in town. Can you talk about your passion behind these?
Greg and I are big advocates of giving back. The first organization we got involved with was the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club. Our son, from an early age, attended their summer camp and throughout his school years was involved in many clubs including Torch Club and Keystone Club, which instills in our youth the importance of community, respect for your peers and leading by example. During his four years at Hobart/William Smith College in upstate New York, he immediately volunteered his time at the B&G Club in Geneva, NY, which is a very different demographic to Ridgefield. It was a humbling and rewarding experience. I have been fortunate to serve on the Executive Board for many years and incredibly impressed by the leadership of Mike Flynn and his talented and dedicated team. We are so fortunate to have this organization available to all of our youth here in town.
“Karla has been a champion of the club for about 20 years,” Mike Flynn, CEO of The Boys & Girls Club says. “She is always there for us in many capacities, as a connector, leader and donor.” He explains that ‘her son was a member so she understands the impact the club has on young people.’ She refers and connects families to our club often.’
As November is our Thankful Issue, can you tell us what you are most thankful for this year?
My Family, my Friends, my Clients and my Team.