Senior Vice President & Sales Operations of Gray Television
“A Strong, Persuasive Leader”
Karen Youger’s ability to problem solve is one of her greatest assets. She can look at the big picture and the desired result, analyze the workflow steps that need to be altered, and get down into the details, so the new processes are setting us up for the future. In her role, she develops workflow solutions to solve business issues in our sales pipeline. These changes vary from simple adjustments to meet client needs to new process integrations or system changes. She is also constantly watching for the next project or industry changes to prepare the workflow and the team for the challenges ahead. Karen has been in the broadcast industry for 31 years and has a background in Marketing, News, Traffic, Research, and Programming. She built her first centralized hub in 2003 and has built two since that time. She graduated with an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northern Kentucky University in 2003.
“Gray Television (NYSE: GTN and GTN.A) is a leading digital media and broadcasting company, owning and operating top ranking local news stations, digital and mobile platforms in 102 markets across the United States.”
Karen is very dialed into the needs of women in today’s workplace. She can identify talent early and create regular dialogue about the path. She is always tapping into many different points of view to draw from. “Remember if you are doing your best, communicating clearly your objectives, successes and challenges; you are being noticed, and more importantly, be a great partner for those around you. As a leader you win when the team wins,” advises Karen. “I have been very lucky to work with and for some of the most amazing leaders in broadcasting including here at Gray Television. The best example I can give you of a servant leader is Pam Taylor. I didn’t work directly for Pam but I spent a great deal of time with her in meetings and around our offices. Pam was the COO of Local TV LLC and ran her department, from my experience, with humility and care for her staff and the company. She treated everyone around her with respect and always remembered to thank everyone for their efforts. I always felt an important part of her team and I strive to do that in my own life both professionally and personally.”
Currently, Karen is working with another amazing leader here at Gray, Sandy Breland, one of our Senior Vice Presidents of Local Media. Sandy is a great example of strong leadership and is respected by everyone who works with and for her. Armed with such strong qualities, Karen has been leading the company towards great heights.
Since Karen joined the company, Gray has undergone massive growth, more than doubling in size. Karen has created systems that work for the ever-expanding network but stayed true to the individualism Gray affords its local affiliates, “the national sales in house is the biggest differentiator and by representing ourselves in the national marketplace has made us stronger as a company. It is important to make efficiencies of the routine so there is room to individualize the points important to our clients and partners,” she adds. “Assessing the workflow objectively isn’t always easy but is crucial to the success of the project. At the end of the day, we care about the communities we work and live in across the country. We take our responsibility seriously and work to make a difference through our work and coverage every day. That attitude and work ethic can be felt across our company in the way we do business.”
Karen, along with partners Becky Meyer, SVP National Sales, and Mike Jones, VP Political, worked to move Gray away from the national rep services model prevalent in our industry and established a more direct customer service-focused national sales workflow in our markets. After six years, our national business is healthy, and we have great relationships with our partners in that space. Great customer service is very important within Gray.
Whether it is an internal or external customer, getting things right and meeting their needs in a timely fashion is paramount to our success. IEWL
Senior Vice President & Sales Operations
of Gray Television
Gray Television's roots begin in January 1891 with the creation of the Albany Herald in Albany, Georgia. Over the next several decades, the company transformed in parallel to the ever-changing media landscape, expanding with additional newspaper acquisitions and later television stations to eventually became known as Gray Communications Systems.