2009 Forward under 40 Award Honoree
UW Major: History
Age: 36 | New York, NY
Vice President and Publisher, SELF Magazine
"I left college with the understanding of the importance of paying it forward."
Though the title printed on Kim Kelleher's business card is publisher, she's more likely to describe herself as a philanthropist.
At age 30, Kelleher was hired at Cond Nast Publications to run the business side of a magazine that reaches over 6 million readers each month and employs more than 100 people. Despite a challenging economy, SELF Magazine has been making gains ever since, celebrating its best year ever in 2007 in terms of ad pages, revenue, online, and audience growth. The May 2008 issue was the largest in the magazine's 29-year history. And Kelleher was recently named Cond Nast's Publisher of the Year.
The key to Kelleher's leadership success could well be her commitment to creating a healthy work and life balance for her team a goal she puts to the test, working and living in New York City with her husband, Dan, and their two young sons.
Growing up in the small town of Sister Bay, Wisconsin, Kelleher arrived on the UW campus, eager to meet new people but lacking self-confidence. She joined Alpha Phi International Fraternity and "gained a sense of respect for women and their abilities to lead," she says. "I left college with the understanding of the importance of paying it forward and the tremendous impact that a single individual can have in the philanthropic space."
Kelleher serves on the board of directors for Fertile Hope, a national organization dedicated to helping cancer patients whose treatments carry risks of infertility. She has developed charitable partnerships to promote heart health, sun safety, and smoking cessation and has been a driving force behind SELF's Pink Ribbon benefit, held annually during breast cancer awareness month.
Kelleher was a 2007 inductee into the American Advertising Federation's Advertising Hall of Achievement and was named an Alumna of Distinction by Alpha Phi, an honor bestowed only once every 10 years.
"Alpha Phi guided me through four years that I now consider to be the most important years to who I have become today," Kelleher says. "My experience at UW-Madison helped teach me the power of confidence in my own abilities."