As part of our 2019 salute to women in leadership, we feature seven of the Capital Region’s most relevant and successful women leaders — here’s one of them.
President and Publisher, San Joaquin Media Group
Stockton-native Deitra Kenoly’s longstanding tenure at The Record, Stockton’s daily newspaper servicing San Joaquin and Calaveras counties, started in 1981 when she joined the paper as a production coordinator. Save for a five-year stint with neighboring publication the Tracy Press, Kenoly’s entire career has been spent working in nearly every department of The Record, including a 12-year role as advertising director, before becoming president and publisher of it and San Joaquin Media Group, a subsidiary of GateHouse Media. Kenoly oversees the day-to-day operations of the company, managing the revenue, distribution, editorial and accounting departments.
“I’ve really grown up with the company,” says Kenoly, “and in my 38 years here, I’ve seen a lot of changes.”
To remain relevant, in 2007 the company took a strong look at the business, which was struggling like many legacy papers to shift to a digital landscape. While advertising director, Kenoly helped implement a corporate initiative to rebrand the organization as a multimedia company that offered more than just print, before taking over as president and publisher of the subsidiary in October 2017.
“It became a matter of evolving and adjusting to those changes or closing the business. We opted to change and evolve into something bigger and greater,” she says. In addition to San Joaquin Media Group’s four publications, which reach a combined 80,000 households, the company now offers expanded digital services like web design, e-commerce and social media marketing through its digital agency ThriveHive, along with event marketing and commercial printing services.
One year into her role, Kenoly made the difficult decision to shutter the organization’s in-house printing operations in favor of outsourcing. The aging equipment, high cost of paper and demand for digital news all contributed to the closure. “From a business standpoint, it was a solid business decision. From a personal standpoint, it was painful because it meant the loss of jobs,” she says. “But the idea behind the change was to evolve, save money and make it seamless to our readers and our business partners from a quality standpoint, and I think we’ve done a good job of that.”
Words of Wisdom:Be confident and believe in yourself and don’t take no for an answer.
Last July, Kenoly was named president of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, where her goal is to build on the chamber’s current programs that connect education and business through an apprenticeship program and business education alliance, as well as increase awareness to resources and incentives that help companies reduce the cost of doing business.
“The City of Stockton has done an amazing job navigating through some tough economic issues, and now we’re experiencing good growth and expansion in a number of areas,” Kenoly says. “My vision for our businesses and residents is to continue moving our city forward.”
Hear more from Deitra Kenoly in our upcoming article “The Voice of Capital Region Chambers Is Decidedly Female — Here’s What They Have to Say” or sign up for our newsletter and we’ll alert you when it’s online.