Meeting Kelly for the first time (probably about five years ago) was like inhaling a giant ray of sunlight. Immediately warm and welcoming. Those two words describe her perfectly and righteously so given that she heads public relations for the uber, luxe Langham Hotel right here in Chicago. She's cool as a cucumber. You will never see this girl sweat which is amazing as I am literally sweating all over the city with an average late time ranging anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Some girls just have it!
What's even more likable about Kelly is the fact that she is quite young in such a LARGE role yet there isn't an ounce of entitlement. She was born to be in the hospitality industry...quite literally and they are lucky to have her! Despite her busy schedule, Kelly will always find time to sit down with you and talk. Really talk and focus her attention on the subject. I respect that so much because you know her inbox is literally blowing up!
You should meet my friend, Kelly...or better yet, stay at the Langham and introduce yourself. She's one to watch!
Tell us a little about your role @ The Langham Chicago and the mission of your brand.
I am the Director of Public Relations and am responsible for the hotel and brand image. The Langham, Chicago is Chicago’s newest luxury, 5-star, 5-diamond hotel. We are truly the epitome of luxury in the Windy City and offer the best in service, design and overall experience within our hotel, restaurant and spa.
1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be in the PR industry?
I grew up around hotels so I always knew I was going to end up in hospitality. For me, I always loved and was interested in how a brand came to be, what was done to make it known – the overall function of Public Relations. I wanted to be in a creative role that allowed me to brainstorm strategies and execute those strategies from start to finish, promote other creative talent and a brand/product that I could be proud of. I guess the moment I realized I wanted to do PR was in my first job out of college at the Park Hyatt Chicago, where I was able to tangibly see an an example of the value that PR can provide in the hospitality industry -- an industry I knew I was passionate about.
2. What one moment are you the most proud of and why?
It’s really hard for me to pick one specific moment. I’m extremely proud of what The Langham, Chicago has accomplished since opening its doors in 2013. I think when we first opened the hotel, internally we all knew the product we had and that the hotel would be a force in the Chicago luxury hotel market. We knew this was a hotel we could be proud of. In July 2014, we were given our first major award by Travel + Leisure Magazine – not only were we named the #1 Hotel in the United States, but we were also named the #6 Hotel in the World. In terms of PR, this recognition was and is still huge for our brand. Those two awards were definitely the catalyst for the global recognition our hotel and the entire Langham brand have received since.
3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?
Oh gosh – every single day is so different. If I had to put together a routine, I would say every good day starts with an almond milk latte with a splash of vanilla. Then it’s on to brainstorming ideas with colleagues, media relations, monitoring and promoting our brand on social media, TV segments promoting our incredibly talented hotel and restaurant team members, hosting events in the hotel, and determining strategies to gain further awareness within our target guest and media segments.
4. How do you describe your personal aesthetic?
During the week you can find me in a lot of girly dresses, tops and skirts – I love dressing up and it fits that part of my job. On the weekend, I’m pretty casual – mostly high-waisted jeans with a bodysuit and sneakers or booties. In the summer, you can pretty much always find me in a dress, romper or jumpsuit.
5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?
I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily one or even a couple individuals that I’m inspired by. It constantly changes but I really love women who are kicking ass in any industry. They inspire me to want it all and to have it all and know that I can, too. I will also say I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a group of best girlfriends who inspire me on a day-to-day basis. We all do such different things – whether it be in the finance world, singing in a band, or working as an art director, a doctor, blogger, event planner, or realtor. We all have different interests but are genuinely excited by each other’s success and I think that’s something that can sometimes be very rare.
6. If you weren't in the PR industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?
I think about this from time to time because I really do feel like my job fits my personality to a tee. I really do feel lucky that I get to wake up every day and have such a fun job; I truly love it.
I love music so maybe something in the music industry, not because I’m a good singer but just because I love music.
7. What's on your Spotify? What inspires you?
I love a lot of different types of music, everything from EDM/DJs to hip-hop to Michael Jackson to Adele. I just got back from Coachella so right now it’s a lot of BANKS, Gryffin, BROODS (a new favorite!) and Kendrick Lamar – especially his new album!
8. Favorite restaurant on a Friday night + why?
You can pretty much find my husband and me at Spacca Napoli in Ravenswood on *most* Friday nights. We are both obsessed with pizza and when we are in town, Friday night is always our date night. There is nothing better than coming off a long week and indulging in an order or burratta cheese and pizza – our favorite is the Diavola!
9. Wine or classic cocktail?
Oooo this is a tough one because I love it all but I’m going to say cocktail. Give me the hard stuff!
10. Favorite weekend getaway destination?
I really love Charleston, so maybe there. If we are looking for a weekend getaway within driving distance, I would say a lake weekend in Michigan with friends. We love those too!
11. 5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?
New York Times - for news
Instagram - because well, duh!
Spotify - I have to be listening to music at all times when I’m not running around
Shopbop - because I shop on my phone pretty often…
Candy Crush Saga - because I’m a huge loser and when I travel I sometimes just want a mindless game to play on the plane, if I’m not reading or working (I guess I’m a gamer at heart!)
12. Bonus question - What's next for Kelly and The Langham Chicago?
We aren’t slowing down anytime soon! The Langham, Chicago will continue to be a force in the luxury hotel market, along with our restaurant, Travelle Kitchen + Bar and Chuan Spa. Keep an eye out for all that is to come and come and experience it for yourself.
As for me, I am just going to continue on this path of continuous learning and challenge-seeking. I’m ready!
Follow Kelly on Instagram!