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Stephen Reily, Founder and Chairman
Entrepreneur, marketing expert, author and active blogger, Stephen is the Founder and Chairman of VibrantNation.com, the leading online community for women 45+ – the place where they connect and support one another on issues unique to midlife.
Stephen launched VibrantNation.com after researching the lack of media geared towards women 45+. As a marketing professional, he built IMC, a full-service global agency specializing in strategic partnerships that help its clients innovate, representing major companies like 3M, Kraft, Sunkist, TABASCO, General Mills, and AT&T.
Stephen is a respected author, speaker, and expert on topics related to the Boomer woman demographic. He writes frequently for MediaPost and brandchannel.com, has published articles in BRANDWEEK, and is the co-author (with Carol Orsborn, Ph.D.) of Vibrant Nation: What Boomer Women 50+ Know, Think, Do & Buy. In addition, he consults regularly with companies seeking to better understand the Boomer woman, including Brown-Forman, Campbell Soup, and General Motors. He has been a featured speaker at leading industry events including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, Book Expo America, M2W® – The Marketing to Women Conference, and the American Society for Aging (ASA). In 2011, Stephen was chosen as the best speaker by brand marketing and agency executives who attended M2W® and was awarded the event’s annual “You Take the Cake Award.”
According to Stephen, who was also inspired by a very vibrant grandmother and mother, “Once you recognize the strength of individual women at this stage of life, you recognize the strength of all women at this stage of life. I’ve always known women over 45 could do anything, which is why I couldn’t understand why the marketplace ignored them – and why I started Vibrant Nation.”
Stephen graduated from Yale College, summa cum laude, and from Stanford Law School, after which he clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife and three children.
Contact Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carla Dearing, CEO
Carla started her career at Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. where her responsibilities included new product and market development for Morgan Stanley Capital International, operating out of the company’s London and Geneva offices. She then co-founded a financial services advisory and fund administration firm that was acquired in 1998 by a Boston bank now owned by State Street Bank. In 2000, Carla became the founding CEO of Community Foundations of America, Inc. (CFA). With a blue-chip client list of major philanthropy institutions and funders such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation, and more than 115 community foundations nationwide, CFA was widely recognized for its entrepreneurial drive and innovation, particularly in the areas of nonprofit technology, high net worth donor marketing and strategies for demonstrating accountability. Most recently, Carla served as Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, University of Louisville, Office of Health Affairs where she was responsible for developing strategic initiatives and working within the School of Medicine, the Hospital and the faculty practice organization to improve strategy development and execution/management. Carla graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan with Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics and political science, and she holds an M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago.
Cara Reynolds, Director of Communications
Cara has been a writer and editor for such innovative media companies as Lucasfilm, Creative Publications, Classroom Connect, and CNET (now CBS Interactive). Most recently, she worked as multimedia editor for TechRepublic.
She received her M.A. in English from the University of California at Irvine and her B.A. from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
Online, Cara enjoys following technology, media, environment, education, travel, and pet news. Offline, she lives in Southern Indiana, with her husband and their spoiled miniature rabbits, Indy and Tyler.
Vibrant role models: “My grandmother, Encarnacion Evangelista, who ran a successful family business well into her 80s and encouraged all her children and grandchildren to pursue accomplishment and self-expression. My friends Sue Rostoni and Dyane Mohr, vibrant, caring Boomer women with a finely tuned inner compass for ‘the things that matter’ and who never stop growing and embracing new adventures. And the women of VN, too many to list here. On any given day I’m usually enthralled with a different member from the one I was in love with the day before. It’s hard not to fall in love with VNers – they’re just so darn smart.”
Beth Blakely, Director of Digital Marketing
Writing, editing, and publishing have always been at the core of Beth’s career. She fell in love with writing as an editor for the college newspaper at the University of Louisville, where she earned a B.A. in Communication. She immersed herself in creativity when she served on the marketing team at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and then she taught software classes for New Horizons Computer Learning Center.
Bitten by the technology bug, Beth moved on to spend nearly eight years writing, editing, and engaging members for TechRepublic. Most recently, she served as the company’s product manager, developing features for the site and moderating its forums. She joined the Vibrant Nation staff because the lure of learning from the site’s colorful membership was simply too much to bear. Beth manages our blog circle of nearly 200 mid-life Vibrant Women bloggers as well as a team of staff writers, including Faye Darnell, Loraine Lawson, and Veronica Combs.
Beth lives with her vibrant ten-year-old daughter, a chihuahua named Jiffy and a puggle named Jay. If she’s awake, she’s online, and participates in a number of social networking sites.
Vibrant role model: Her mother, Sarah Metcalf, whose integrity, work ethic, and artistry have served as inspiration. Sarah’s quilts, green thumb, and sweet honesty have her “sewn up” as Beth’s nomination for Mother of the Year, every year.
Katharine Crawford, Senior Director, Business Development
Katharine recently joined the Vibrant Nation and IMC Licensing teams after relocating from New York City where she worked for News America Marketing, a News Corporation Company, for 10 years. During that time, Katharine worked directly with senior-level marketers and their agencies to develop, implement and analyze print, point-of-purchase and online programming as part of an overall integrated marketing plan. She has developed shopper marketing and consumer promotion programming for Fortune 500 companies such as L’Oreal USA, Pepsi, Energizer and American Express. Katharine earned a B.A. in Communications and International Marketing from Miami University.
Contact Katharine at email@example.com
VN Editors are the editorial staff of Vibrant Nation, who manage and publish all Vibrant Nation content and contributors. Formerly, the editorial staff was represented by Susan Lee Ward, a composite created and managed by the Vibrant Nation staff to represent themselves and the Vibrant Woman. Since VibrantNation.com is about its community and not any one person, and much of our published work is curated from our conversations originated by our members, we thought it would be best to have the community and our writers represented by a single face and name. Susan Lee Ward was managed by the all-woman Vibrant Nation editorial team: Cara Reynolds, Beth Blakely and several staff writers who work for them. We have never hidden anything about who Susan Lee Ward is or is not.
Over time, some community members have expressed discomfort with the presence of a character in our community who is not a real person. We created Susan Lee Ward early in our site’s history as part of our effort to make VN authentic for all Vibrant Women, but now it seems like the right decision to credit the articles compiled and written by our staff to our editorial team: “VN Editors.” All of our current editors and staff writers are listed above on our staff page.