Thursday, January 16, 2014

IFDA member Kate Kelly Smith and Hearst Design Group hosts a special luncheon to honor up-and-coming designers

IFDA NY chapter member Kate Kelly Smith (Senior Vice President Group Publishing Director of Hearst Design Group) talks at an exciting luncheon to honor new designers showing talent.
One of Hearst's important shelter magazines, House Beautiful honored designers today who have been featured this year in their famous Next Wave column. The magazine has a long history of celebrating  new designers, and this event is a testament to Hearst's commitment to supporting the industry.  This year, they ramped it up a notch by inviting a year's worth of featured designers to their New York City headquarters for a celebratory lunch in the gorgeous Hearst Tower dining room with both Kate Kelly Smith (SVP, Group Publishing Director of Hearst Design Group) and Newell Turner (Editorial Director, Hearst Design Group) presiding over the festivities.  A handful of us design bloggers were also invited and introduced, asked to stand and individually acknowledged to the crowd for our work covering the design industry -- 
Thank You Kate Kelly Smith!

Kate Kelly with Janice Langrall, Scalamandre
 Newell Turner showed us snapshots from the Next Wave column dating back to the 1980s, profiling many designers who are now household names. 

this year's profiled designers with Kate Kelly Smith & Newell Turner

Please check out Nest by Tamara for a full recap of this event.
Additionally, for more detailed information on Kate Kelly Smith, please read below the profile and interview board member Rose Gilbert wrote and submitted to this past IFDA NY newsletter.

written by Rose Gilbert
From where she sits – high above 57th Street in the Gold and Platinum LEEDS Hearst Tower headquarters designed by Baron Norman Foster – Kate Kelly Smith has a clear picture of IFDA’s role in her career and of the future of design magazines.

“I know IFDA has helped my career,” she volunteers.  “I joined when I was still in my first selling job, at hfd.”

That was in the early l980s. Design publications existed on paper only, IFDA was becoming a force in the design industry, and Kelly was about to join the first of a long series of New York Chapter committees, including the Big Apple Award and Circle of Excellence (which she herself would win some 33 years later, in 2012).

“I was invited to be on a committee, which immediately opened my eyes to all the networking opportunities IFDA brings,” Kelly recalled.  So she was quick to volunteer for many different committees and, eventually, to serve on the Chapter Board of Directors for many years, she said, “Which is how I got to know other people in the industry.

“Now those people, my peers, are running big jobs in the industry.”  And that makes running her own very big job easier and more rewarding.  As senior vice president and publishing director of Hearst Design Group (and chief revenue officer of House Beautiful and Veranda), Kelly oversees the publishing side of both magazines and Elle Décor.   

That puts her on top of what Hearst describes as “a powerhouse in the shelter category, representing a 60-percent share of its market and a combined audience of more than eight million.”

Kelly’s behind much of that growth, as the publishing industry has noticed in a big way: Adweek put her on its “Hot List” in 2011; she made Advertising Age’s magazine “A List” in 2008.  That same year, the respected Media Industry Newsletter cited her among the year’s “21 Most Intriguing People.”

IFDAers can vouch for that, especially those who took advantage of her breakfast discussion of “The Media Today and Tomorrow,” held some 44-stories up in the Hearst Tower last June.  Kelly offered members an exclusive look into the publishing world, a world she has helped shape.  Or reshape:  she has been a pioneer in digital space, developing House Beautiful’s concept of “live paper” – programs that jump from print and digital platforms to unique events, like House Beautiful’s 2012 Kitchen of the Year where digital watermarks allowed visitors to pin kitchen furnishings directly to Pinterest.

The magazine won that year’s lifestyle award for General Excellence from the American Society of Magazine Editors (and was twice more nominated, in 2011 and 2013).

As Kelly points out, “The world of advertising has changed dramatically over the past 25 years.  Technology has changed everything.  We’ve gone from months to moments.  An editor no longer plans for just the magazine; today, it is magazine plus digital, mobile, video, and all the social outlets.

“But what remains the same is that this is a people business,” Kelly concludes.  “It begins and ends with relationships.  And it always will.”

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