Women of Inspiration

Carolyn Kelly
President & COO, The Seattle Times

Carolyn Kelly joined The Seattle Times as a financial analyst in 1977, moving through the ranks to hold positions including marketing/news business director; VP/chief financial officer and senior vice president/general manager. In 2001, she was named the newspaper's President and Chief Operating Officer, joining a handful of women in the U.S. who have risen to an executive position at a newspaper. In her position, Kelly is responsible for advertising, circulation, corporate marketing, employee resources, finance, information systems and operations. She received a bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University and an MBA from Seattle University. She received her CPA in 1976.

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What does it mean to be honored by the Storm as part of Women of Inspiration Night?
It's a great honor and very humbling to look at the women who are being recognized this year and the women who have been recognized from the past - I know many of them. To be in that kind of company is a really tremendous honor. To receive something like this from a group of women like the Storm is just a remarkable recognition that means a lot to me.

Who are some women who have inspired you during your career and your life?
There's been lots of women throughout my career whom I've worked with who have inspired me and been tremendous role models for me. You always start with your mom and your grandma, and that's clearly true for me. Then just a number of women in the community who have really meant a lot to me and helped me grow and develop and portrayed the importance of giving back to the community. These are women like Colleen Willoughby [the founding president of the Washington Women's Foundation and a 2008 WOI honoree], Ann Farrell [former president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation], Phyllis Campbell [former president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation], a lot of names I could mention who have really led the way.

Do you see yourself as a role model for other women in your position?
I think it's always important for people to see themselves reflected in the workforce, in the community, in the education system, so I do think it means a lot to have women do things that other women can look at and think, 'I could do that as well.' It's like watching the Storm play basketball. I bet a lot of young girls think, 'Wow, I could do that.'

The Times has been a leader in covering women's athletics. What is the importance of that to the paper?
I guess you'd probably have to ask some of the news folks about that. What I would say is that I think we recognize that women's sports and women's endeavors in every field really add to the richness of the community and without them, we'd be sadly lacking something.

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