It’s been a roundabout career path for entrepreneur Kenya Gipson, who graduated from Marist College. “I had always wanted to work in radio, but there weren’t any jobs, so I took other positions in the meantime — including as a legal secretary and in health care — until an opportunity in radio turned up.”
That finally happened when the Middletown psychiatric center where she was working shut down. “I was literally packing my boxes the day the office was closing, when I got a call for an interview for a job at Clear Channel Radio,” Gipson says.
Since then, she’s done everything from producing commercials to doing on-air spots for the company that operates nine of the Valley’s radio stations including LITE 92.1, WRWD, and 96.1 KISS FM. “The radio industry is very hands-on, very technical. So I’m grateful that I learned both ends — production and behind-the-scenes. It’s been awesome,” Gipson says.
Once she had her foot firmly in the door, Gipson worked her way up, attaining her account executive position earlier this year. In this role, she works with clients regarding their marketing and advertising strategy as a whole, whether it be for on-air commercials or packages involving digital and Web advertising. She’s been so successful at this that she earned the right to call herself “the Queen of Radio Advertising.” “That was a catchy nickname I got from some of my clients,” she says. “They came up with it because I know how to produce a commercial, write copy, come up with a schedule — usually account executives don’t do those kinds of things — to better help my clients.”
Gipson, 32, who lives with her husband and two children in Middletown, is definitely a people person. She volunteers with the Women’s Leadership Fund of the United Way of Orange and Dutchess Counties, an organization that raises money for programs to help girls and women learn to become financially independent. She also heads the Minority & Women in Business Committee of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and is a chamber board member. Gipson is a certified wellness/personal trainer at the YMCA of Middletown, and also teaches a diabetes prevention program at the facility.
“Everything I’ve done in my life, in terms of my career, has helped me learn something new, and has prepared me for the next step — even if I didn’t know it at the time. It’s all connected.”