About Strange Duck

Karen Gouvelis
Karen Gouvelis


Karen Gouvelis started out her working life as a rare creature in the 90s, i.e. a female software developer. Those were heady days in the last throws of the tech bubble. Although challenging and extremely taxing on her brain, Karen is grateful for this time as coding taught her a whole new way of thinking, planning and problem solving.
Being a generation X-er with a head full of ideas, Karen briefly left the coding world and decided to create an online eBay store selling African artefacts – which was very successful and a lot of fun.
I had my beautiful boy in 2008 who turned out to be autistic. This led me down an unforeseen path and a whole new learning curve. Understanding the difficulties that autism parents face and wanting to help others, I co-founded the Autism Parent Network – which functions as a support group to help parents in the greater Johannesburg area.
The geek in Karen finally pulled her back to where she belongs – in the digital space. Strange Duck Studio, was also hatched (*cough*) around this this time. While some people can speak many languages, Karen has coded in many languages: C, C++, Visual C++, Delphi, Java, HTML, CSS & JavaScript. She is at her happiest creating websites, designing and teaching herself additional programming languages and learning all the new-fangled technologies (Karen is now middle-aged so has embraced the use of terms like ‘new-fangled’ proudly).
In 2016, I was asked to come on board and help organise the yearly Jozi 4 Autism awareness zoo trot. I soon became part of the core team who plan to keep spreading awareness, acceptance and positive vibes around autism.
In addition to this, Jozi 4 Autism has started its outreach programme, which aims to help disadvantaged children with autism in Johannesburg.