Employee Spotlight: Karlee Steele

Employee Spotlight: Karlee Steele

Joined Statesman Media: June 2011, CMG 2008

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Position: Sales Manager with a focus on recruitment and regional local majors business

School and Degree: Texas State University: BS in Journalism

Favorite Beverage: Deep Eddy Ruby Red

You have over 15 years of media sales experience. What has the journey looked like?

I started as a new business sales rep in the TV world. Back then, they just handed you the Yellow Pages and told you to start selling. I remember working at WRAL/WRAZ in Raleigh/Durham. We were the first CBS/FOX-affiliate stations that had a .com site. At that time, digital advertising was referred to as “selling the internet.”

I was promoted to Senior Regional Sales Account Executive where I gained business and respect from our local advertisers. It wasn’t long before I started craving a managerial role. My first manager role in media was as the “Internet Sales Director” now known as Digital Director, right?!  And I loved it!

In 2010, Doug Franklin and (then CMG President) and Sandy Schwartz approached me with an opportunity to grow and develop a team in Austin. I always loved Austin and was thrilled at the opportunity to work in such an active and growing city. I took the opportunity and never once regretted it!

What is your favorite part of the job?

Driving revenue is critical in any sales leadership role – and as a long distance runner, I am competitive and love to win.  In order to do that, you have to have a strong winning team. Developing team members is my #1 priority; not only is it my responsibility, it’s something I love to do.  At the end of the day, making a difference is my main obligation to the team.  As I am known for saying, you have to know where you are to know where you are going…so I love to create vision and drive mission to reach that goal.

What are some of your passions beyond growing local businesses?

I love spending time outside with my beautiful 10 year-old Quade. We go fishing, camping and hiking whenever we can. I know to be the best mom though, I need to take care of myself. After a health scare earlier this year, I am proud to now say, I am survivor!

We are all busy, distracted professional people leading full lives that brings a tricky balancing act.   During my battle, I saw too many moms ignoring their own health. Moms that don’t put themselves first in and take the back seat on their own health, putting their health in jeopardy. When I was diagnosed, I had a tumor doubling in size every 10 days. If I hadn’t been proactive about my health, this would be a very different conversation.

You can chose to fight the battle every single day, and my strategy was just to take everything one day at a time. I also think it ties back to personal drive: if you set a goal to get something done, whether it’s beating cancer or raising your hand for a promotion, and throw a little positivity in the mix, you’re all set. One expression that has become my personal motto is Focus Forward. Life can be crazy, so you have to hold on and always look forward to your next move.

What do you look forward to most in the next 20 years?

I truly cannot wait to continue being part of the media journey as we continue to catapult ourselves onto the digital environment. It’s changing so fast and to see traditional media companies taking part and even leading in this space is truly remarkable.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a long healthy life, watching my little boy grow up and fly fishing in the Texas hill country.