Meet Our New Publisher, Karen Kelly
The comfort, warmth and familiarity of going home, whether as a kid at camp, a college student or a grown adult, create a memorable experience time and time again. Well, those good vibes are happening at Town&Style because we’re having our own homecoming of sorts. We are thrilled to introduce our new publisher, Karen Kelly, a recognizable face to many in town. After spending years up and down the radio dial of St. Louis, most recently as general sales manager for KMOX, she is returning to an industry where she got her roots. This time, she has years of experience, a solid foundation of connections and countless goals that will drive T&S into the next decade.
When you first meet Karen, her energy is evident. Her smile is kind, her words are real and her passion—it’s downright intoxicating. She has a background that fits our mold perfectly: 100% local. Raised in south St. Louis, she attended the former St. Elizabeth Academy on Arsenal for her formative high school years. In fact, she credits the all-female environment for her confidence and realization that yes, girls do run the world! It’s this confidence, paired with a strong work ethic, that got her through college at the University of Missouri and into her first role as promotions intern at KSD. She quickly was asked to produce and co-host a popular radio show for the station (and subsequent others) and was a constant in the male-dominated world of local radio for the last 25 years.
And that’s what brings us to Karen 2.0, as she calls it. A good friend of T&S founder Lauren Rechan, who still will be involved and present at the publication as president, Karen’s title here actually has been years in the making. Now, the timing is right. “It is so exciting to be around good people and good energy,” Karen says. “This is where I’m supposed to be.”
Explain to our readers how this next step at T&S came about. Why now?
I worked for Lauren’s mom, Charlene Bry, way back when, and Lauren (I call her Laurie) has been on my journey with me for quite some time. When this idea came up, I had just made the jump to KMOX, which was the best thing for my career at the time. But it was always a ‘What if?’ between us. Recently, I just kept feeling like there was something else I was supposed to be doing. I wanted a voice again. I’m constantly out there, building relationships and making connections, and I have so many great stories to tell. I also wanted to be part of a hardcore female team that was changing the dynamics of St. Louis—so finally I was just like, this is it. This is everything I’ve been wanting to do. I love this city so much, and what better way to share that than through the greatest local lifestyle publication?
What is motivating about working with a female-owned publication and working among all women?
The energy, the diversity of ideas and opinions even though we’re all female, the common thread of our backgrounds, the can-do attitude, the support. Town&Style has laid down some great roots going into its 10th year of publication.
What is your vision for the next 10?
We are the lifestyle publication of St. Louis. We already are telling the stories that matter, and I just want to keep putting real things out there. We’re a beautiful publication that covers amazing events, but we’re also writing about what people are really going through. I want everyone to say, “Did you see that in Town&Style?”
You say everyone has a story. How are you going to bring that to your role here?
It’s continuing to be out and about and accessible. If there is a story to tell, let us know. We’re there, we’re listening. If it’s happening or a happening, we’ll be there. You will know me, you will talk to me, you will be heard.
And what about your story has prepared you for this role?
Since I was on the speech team in sixth grade, I have wanted to have a voice. Everything I’ve done until now has been a training ground for me to take what I love from all of the media I’ve worked with and the city I’ve lived in and help Town&Style move forward and remain the go-to publication for our readers.
■ Happy places around town: Cardinals and Blues games, concerts, my home at Clayton on the Park, TruFusion; I’m a St. Louis girl who loves to live, work and play in her city!
■ Favorite thing about St. Louis: That I’ve never met a stranger; it’s a very welcoming community. Whenever you travel and fly back over the Arch, you know it’s home and that you’re coming back to safe and happy and where a lot of people know your name.
■ After work, I typically … take a spin class, go for a run and either go to a St. Louis event or dine at one of my favorite restaurants.
■ My motto as I take T&S into a new decade: “Wake up, kick ass, be kind, repeat.”