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Meet the Dallas 500: Kellyn Kenny

The chief marketing and growth officer for AT&T Communications talks about her industry outlook, key strategies, and what she learned from her first job.
By D CEO Staff | |Illustration by Andrea Chavez
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Kellyn Kenny Illustration by Andrea Chavez

After leading marketing efforts for Hilton, Kellyn Smith Kenny was appointed to a new chief marketing and growth officer role at AT&T Communications in 2020. A division of the Dallas-based telecom, media, and tech giant, it focuses on mobile phone, broadband, fixed-line telephone, cybersecurity, and business services.

As part of her work to promote the organization, Kenny says she is passionate about closing the gaps that exist in technology access and is proud of AT&T’s work to engage the community and expand its network and product offerings. “We have to address the digital divide in this country,” she says. “Not all Americans, especially those in unserved and underserved communities, have access to the high-speed, reliable broadband connectivity they need to thrive in a digital world.”

Education

Northwestern University (MBA), Colgate University (BA)

Birthplace

“New York”

First Job

“I was a lifeguard and swim instructor when I was 14. In addition to teaching kids how to swim and ensuring everyone’s safety, I was responsible for cleaning, testing, and treating the pool, as well as cleaning the bathrooms. It wasn’t always glamorous, but I learned the value of hard work and taking responsibility for the safety of others.”

Best Advice

“Early in my career, one of my mentors told me, ‘Attitude is the greatest predictor of your altitude.’ I have tried to live by that mantra every day.”

Destinations of Choice

“We love the mountains during the winter. Both of my daughters are hard-charging skiers, so we try to get to Colorado and Utah as often as possible.”

Local Fare

“Hands down, Carbone. We’ve sampled almost everything on the menu and it’s all divine, but the biggest can’t-miss items on the menu for me are the Calamari Marco, Caesar alla ZZ, and meatballs.”

Fun Fact

“My dad was a pitcher
for the Boston Red Sox in the 1960s.”

First Car

“I owned a white Toyota Camry; shout out to my mom and dad.”

Walk-up Song

“I’d choose ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor. This song resonates with me because I’m someone who likes to challenge the status quo and make an impact. I’m resilient in the face of adversity.”

Must-Read

“In Adam Grant’s book, Think Again, he proposes a new approach to improving one’s thinking—he calls it rethinking. He encourages readers to think like a scientist because scientists are constantly curious, experimenting, and discovering new information.”

Spirit Animal

“A bluebird. They are considered flexible, innovative, kind, grateful, and in pursuit of glory. It’s a bonus that my spirit animal’s color matches that of AT&T’s logo.”

Alternate Reality

“I love adventure and adrenaline so maybe I’d be a big mountain skier, African safari tour guide, or oceanographer on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Bucket List

“Heli-skiing in the Alps”

Key Strategies

“A practice of equal parts head and heart: rigorous data collection meets intense listening and teamwork.”

Industry Outlook

“I’m excited about AT&T’s combined power of 5G and fiber. These two next-gen technologies will serve as the digital backbone of the country’s economy for years to come.”

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