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Smile at youthful audacity – Meet Karyn (14/52.2)

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

Meet Karyn:

In her own words…

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

“Sometimes not having a specific plan for your life can have a funny way of leading you on a journey that in retrospect seems like destiny. At least that’s how it worked for me. Coming of age in the first decade when women weren’t expected to immediately get married after college, I packed up my few possessions and took off to Boston with a college friend. With the confidence of youth, and the knowledge that I could always wait tables, off I went on my first “adult” adventure.

It was the Boston restaurant owner where I worked who introduced me to a PR freelancer who hired me to write press releases for her clients. She in turn introduced me to a movie theatre owner who hired me as an assistant, trusting me to handle movie press tours (Grease! Jaws 2!) and local movie events. Did I leverage this terrific chance to move forward on a path towards film promotion? Nope. I fell for a guy in Boston who was on his way to becoming a reporter for the Guam Daily News. He offered me a ticket to come along, and again I took a road (literally) less traveled and headed off to a small island in Micronesia.

After a month of beachcombing, I talked my way into a job with the only movie theatre on Guam and convinced the local TV station into doing movie reviews on the air. The TV station invited me to work for them. I became the TV station’s on-air “weather lady”, forecasting Guam’s constant 86 degree temps and modeling our sponsor’s “mumu’s” for their TV audience. Did that lead me to a career in TV broadcasting? No again. The boyfriend quickly became an “ex” and after weathering a typhoon, I returned to my hometown of Chicago emboldened by my far-flung adventure.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

In Chicago, I worked as Promotion Director for several radio stations, ultimately managing radio remote broadcasts from Disney World. Serendipity (and lots of radio events at the theme parks) struck again and I was recruited to open the first Disney marketing office in Chicago. By now I was married with two young children and traveling every month to Orlando had become a challenge. So when the President of ABC Radio invited me to launch Radio Disney in Chicago (stay with Disney! Less travel! More money!), I said YES. I had never been responsible for an entire radio station before, but I jumped in and helped the station succeed to the extent that I was promoted to running Radio Disney Stations across the Midwest.

I spent 30 years with the Disney Company, and thought my destiny was finally set. Who was I kidding? In 2013 the stations were sold and I had to reinvent myself once again. At 59 years old, I became the VP of Business Development at The Chicago Tribune, leading a team within a whole new medium, including syndication sales, digital marketing and a host of new technologies.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

As I look back now, having left the Tribune earlier this year, I smile at my youthful audacity and count on it as I begin to reinvent myself once again.”

*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about Karyn. 52 Phenomenal Women is now in its second year! This is week 14 of 52.

Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***

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