AWM Foundation Chair Kay Olin
Yesterday, something truly awesome occurred: The Gracies! The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry. With local winners like Allie Volpe and Mel Robbins, and national winners like Mindy Kaling (among many, many more!) it’s quite the event! The Gracies are presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, specifically the philanthropic arm of AWM which supports educational programs, charitable activities, public service campaigns and scholarships to benefit the public and women in the media. The Gracie Awards, established in 1975, honor programming and individuals of the highest caliber in all facets of radio, television, cable and web-based media, including news, drama, comedy, public service, documentary and sports. So of course here at the Digits, we’re huge fans, and we had to learn more. Kay Olin is the Chair of the AWM Foundation, and we got to chat with her a few days prior to the big June 11th event in New York! 1. We at the Digits are super passionate about bringing a greater presence of women in media. Tell us a little about what you do for the Alliance for Women in Media, and why are you passionate about what you do? We share your passion for promoting women in all forms of media! I serve as the Chair of the Alliance for Women in Media and our Foundation. AWM advances the influence and impact of women in all forms of media. We are a diverse community – whether in type of media, job or global location – that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. It’s a privilege to work with such talented women in our industry to deliver educational programs, charitable activities, public service campaigns and scholarships. We’re also passionate about our acclaimed recognition programs, including, of course, the upcoming Gracie Awards, which honor exemplary programming created for, by, and about women. 2. Who are some of the nominees honorees you’re especially excited about for this year’s Gracies? Why is that? The Gracies recognizes so many incredible women and so much outstanding programming, it’s hard to pick any favorites. But one who really did stand out for me at the Gracies Gala in Beverly Hills in May – when we recognized national winners – was Angie Harmon. She was so gracious and warm hearted to all. And as we gear up for our Gracies luncheon in New York – where we honor our local, online, public and student winners – I’m just so excited to see all the up-and-coming talent and get a preview of tomorrow’s innovative and creative media. 3. What is the Gracie award ceremony normally like? The Gracies Gala in Beverly Hills is a very glamorous event, with a red carpet, a fun reception, an elegant dinner, and a dazzling program. This year’s event was hosted by Aisha Tyler, of The Talk, and was attended by Elizabeth Cohen, Wanda Sykes, Bellamy Young and so many more wonderful and talented people. The Gracies Luncheon this week is another wonderful celebration, and gets to the heart of AWM – we are encouraging the next generation of women in media, calling attention to role models and mentors, and shining the spotlight on accomplished women who don’t typically receive this type of recognition. We are also thrilled that Robin Roberts will be joining us at the luncheon to receive a Gracie. 4. Who are some of your favorite women in media and why? There is no way to name just one. I have so many women that I admire. I have to tell you that many of my favorite women in media sit on the board of the Alliance for Women in Media with me! These women work in television, radio, cable, digital – truly representing all forms of media. Their collective expertise in sales, public relations, production, operations, marketing, and strategy inspire me every day and are critical to the success of AWM. 5. How do you see math and science in the media? If you want to run a business, you need to have strong math skills. Success in any number of fascinating careers in media, from engineering to digital to sales, is tied to math and science skills. In fact, AWM’s upcoming Women With Solutions recognition program this November will honor STEM leadership in media. 6. We love math at the Digits. How do you use math for your work? Monitoring profit and loss statements is my most important responsibility. Realistic budgeting and management are your company’s lifeblood – profit rules! 7. This has been a big year for women in media. What are you looking forward to in the year to come? What challenges do you still see needing to be overcome? We still need to see more women in the top positions in media companies. We also need to see more women on the leading edge of media – and that means more women in technology. For example, as televisions continue to become more sophisticated with HD and 3D – let’s make sure women are making an impact on this emerging technology. As radio, television, internet, and mobile device content becomes even more integrated, we need more women providing the vision and technical know-how to advance this media and how we use it. Kay Olin serves as the Chair of the Alliance for Women in Media and the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Kay Olin is a consultant with Olin & Associates. She most recently served as president of Local Focus Radio. Kay started her career as an account executive at WIVY-FM in Jacksonville and was named general manager of radio station WANM-FM in Tallahassee a few years later, making Kay one of the first female general managers in the country. After a long successful career at Interep Radio, Kay opened Local Focus Radio when Interep closed its doors in 2008. Kay joined the Executive Committee of Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) in 2010 and recently became their National Spokesperson. Kay is a founding member & past-president of the Atlanta’s AWM Affilliate. A past National AWM BELL Award winner for Local Leadership and is currently serving on the National AWM Board as Chair. Kay’s recognition includes being among Radio Ink Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women in Radio, Atlanta’s ABAC Leadership Award, AWM’s Women to Watch in Sales and Marketing as well as one of Atlanta Woman Magazine’s Top 25 Professional Women to watch in 2008. Kay has served on the Board of Georgia Public Broadcasting and enjoys mentoring tremendously through Mentoring & Inspiring Women (MIW) and Alliance for Women in Media (AWM).