- Kirsten Ballard
Ellie Kuhn is a detail person; the smaller, the better. She loves planning.
So it makes sense that she ended up at GateHouse Live as the director of sales and marketing.
She has always wanted to run her own event company. The Alliance Rising Star Award recipient came on to GateHouse Live in its beginning days. “It squashed the goal, because we kind of did start it. It’s not my company but we’re starting it from scratch and putting blood, sweat and tears into it.”
Ellie went to college to earn a marketing degree, but desired to do events in some capacity. She tried an internship with Hilton doing events, but she wanted something different and challenging.
With newspapers, there are all different types of events and venues. It’s about utilizing community relationships. She describes events as hot and sexy, providing her with so many creative opportunities.
She enjoys having an idea and seeing it come together. “It’s painting a picture in your head and putting it together,” she says.
Her favorite events are Best of Preps and Best of the Best. Best of Preps resembles the ESPYs for high school sports. “It brings a whole sense of community,” she says. The student athletes come for free and are celebrated. “You see the parents cry and hear success stories of these kids, who will be leaders in their communities.”
Best of the Best is a reader’s choice night. Ellie enjoys giving the sales team the opportunity to meet so many customers. It’s a new realm for them to pitch, not an ad in paper or digital but a full red carpet event.
“It puts a sparkle in their eye,” she says.
In her Rising Star nomination, Jason Taylor, President of GateHouse Live, wrote that Ellie is fueled by competitiveness and a fair share of Sour Patch Kids to keep her going as she tours the country launching event after event.
“I do not like to fail, that’s what has made me succeed so well,” Ellie says. “Someone doesn’t think you can do it? Proving people wrong? I love it.”
She enjoys the creative aspect of developing a campaign and selling it, comparing it to selling it like it’s your baby.
“This is a huge opportunity, events are so new to the newspaper world in this capacity,” she says.
She started working for Taylor at a small paper, an intern in the events division. That was followed by an internship in sales. After graduation, she returned to the paper and sold automotive advertising. She took part in a newspaper management-in-training program, designed for people who were working toward a management role.
During the six-week program, she experienced each department in the newspaper. “It takes so much to put out a newspaper, there are so many hands on it before it gets to your doorstep,” she says. “If you are in management or above, you should know the ins and outs of the industry.”