© James Kegley
charts venerable paper's future
years at the Tribune Co. - the last three as president, publisher
and CEO of The Baltimore Sun Denise Palmer knows
the Kellogg School made a dramatic impact on her career.
A CPA and senior
auditor at Coopers & Lybrand in Dayton, Ohio, Palmer wanted
to attend a top management school to help her acquire the
skills to succeed on the operational side of business. After
moving to Chicago to attend the Kellogg part-time MBA program
in 1980, she found a position at Tribune Co. as a corporate
auditor. Soon, she began to climb the ranks, a journey that
has included stints as finance director and station manager
at WGN Radio, vice president/development, strategy and finance
for the Chicago Tribune and president and CEO of ChicagoLand
Television (CLTV), the region's news cable channel.
"Not in my wildest
dreams did I think when I started at Kellogg that I would
end up at The Baltimore Sun," says Palmer '84. "I cold-called
companies looking for a job when we were going to move to
Chicago, and Tribune was by far the most interesting. While
at Kellogg, I got all the tools I needed to move to the business
side. My degree was vital; I couldn't have competed to get
the WGN job without it."
In her current
role, both the editorial and business side of the operation
report to Palmer. In addition to the paper's print edition,
which is read by more than 1 million people each week, the
Sun produces several community papers and a Web site. "While
many of the [responsibilities] between my last job and this
one are similar, the big difference is the size and complexity
of the organizations CLTV had 125 employees; The Baltimore Sun has 1,500,"
The media world
is undergoing tremendous transformation, and much of Palmer's
job is charting the future of the 165-year-old paper. "I spend
a lot of time thinking about what will give us the best advantage
in the marketplace," she says. "I'm somewhat agnostic about
how people get their news. I want us to have the best information,
the best reporting in the region
and individuals can decide how they want to get that information.
Of course, the challenge is how to make money with these new
Palmer also serves
on a number of boards and other organizations, including Northwestern
University's Council of 100 Women, a group of female alumni
from schools and departments across the university who mentor
students and recent graduates, primarily women. Palmer recalls
that, as an undergrad earning a bachelor's degree in business
administration with an emphasis on accounting from the University
of Dayton, gender disparity was obvious.
"There was sometimes
only one other woman in my classes," she says.
By the time she
enrolled at Kellogg, the classes were more balanced, which
she sees as a good thing.
"When I entered
business, there were not many women to look to as mentors.
Graduates today come into a more diverse workforce, and I
like to think that [this situation] makes it easier for women
[to succeed]," she says.
Reflecting on her
career, Palmer says that her Kellogg training emphasized strategic
thinking to see all sides of a problem. These skills, and
her experience in many different media and roles, have served
her well. Her advice for today's students is to network extensively
and acquire diverse perspectives through this interaction.
"When I talk to
young women through the Council of 100, I tell them to reach
out and make friends with other students not in their department,"
says Palmer. "You learn a lot about other disciplines, and
you never know who will be an important contact later in your
to Christina Ksoll '98
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