This month to show appreciation of our Board of Directors, we’re focusing our spotlight on board member Kelly Gream. In addition to being on the Advisory Board for Friends of the Waterfront, Kelly is the Executive Director for the historic Louisville Memorial Auditorium. We appreciate everything Kelly does for FOTW and the community! Get to know a little bit more about him below.
Where are you from?
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in New Albany, Indiana. Attended Indiana University Southeast locally where I worked in the hotel industry for friends of my family who owned a Holiday Inn and Econo Lodge. During those years while working in the hospitality industry I learned many of the business skills practiced daily in my career. Once at Indiana University in Bloomington, I studied journalism, political science, business, and marketing. My part-time jobs included working at the Indiana University Publishing House as well as the school’s alumni department. I was attending the game when Bobby Knight threw the chair!
Tell us about your career and how you got here.
After exploring career opportunities in Chicago and New York I decided this Kentuckiana boy needed to come home and get some additional work experience and save more money! My first professional position was the Marketing Assistant for Stage One: Children’s Theatre where I learned many valuable skills working in the non-profit world while also building a professional network of colleagues. I then worked for Rally’s Hamburgers as a restaurant Manager and corporate marketing manager then was recruited by Kinko’s Inc. to become a local account executive.
Those nine years fine-tuned my selling and client management skills. After that experience I decided to get back into the media business and took a Sales Manager role with the Courier-Journal at the highlight of time there I launched the very successful Velocity Magazine. In that role, I coordinated many special events which encouraged me to pursue the Sales & Marketing Director role for the historic Belle of Louisville where I met the Friends of the Waterfront for the first time and decided to join as a board member. The hospitality fever hit me again and I accepted a position with the Al J. Schneider Company in corporate marketing where I managed and promoted the very successful Christmas at the Galt House Hotel for five years. Finally after some changes with that company I pursued my current role as Executive Director for the historic Louisville Memorial Auditorium.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve been involved with during your career so far?
I can think of few things that are cool and they include:
- Launching Velocity Magazine – I worked with young professionals and led their efforts selling for one of the largest and oldest newspapers in the United States while teaching them valuable skills and witnessing their move up the corporate ladder!
- Re-Introducing the Belle of Louisville to the Louisville Community – my charge in that role was create new events for the oldest steamboat still in operation in the world while also assisting with her 100th Birthday or Centennial Celebration!
- Friends of the Waterfront Support of Waterfront Park – after almost 9 years on the board I really felt special when the Big Four Bridge was completed and the public walked across for the first time. I knew my hard work and dedication played a small part in that moment! Plus as I see it lighted up at night a great feeling of accomplishments overtakes me!
- Tourism Support with the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau – over the last ten years I have volunteered, promoted and supported the bureau teams in promoting, selling and inviting groups, individuals and companies to visit while also contributing to our local economy!
- Re-introducing the Louisville Memorial Auditorium – like my experience with the Belle of Louisville, in my new role as the Executive Director I have the opportunity and responsibility of reviving one of our community’s oldest, most beloved and forgotten historical landmarks in our beautiful community!
What got you involved with Friends of the Waterfront?
My role with the Belle of Louisville introduced me to the wonderful FOTW!
What is your role with FOTW?
I am a board member
What other causes are you passionate about?
My personal passions include my partner, Tony who is now my husband and our grandson, Hayden who has brought so many of our family together!
What do you do around town for fun?
I love to travel both locally and abroad while also working at home as well as spending time with family and friends. My home away from home is now both New York City and South Florida where my grandbaby lives with his parents. I also love music, movies and exercising!
What are your favorite events in Louisville?
I absolutely love Waterfront Wednesday, St. James Art Fair, PRIDE events, and the Kentucky Derby.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be yourself, stay focused, be kind while being strong and remember at the end of the day you cannot accomplish a whole in life without working with others!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be approaching my retirement from the historic Louisville Memorial Auditorium and successfully have grown the institution as a business and landmark. As well as spending more time with Tony, friends, and family!