Local Media Association’s highest individual honor salutes leadership, innovation and achievement.
From a humble start as a part timer in the classified department of Oshawa This Week, Betty Carr forged an outstandingly successful decades-long career in the community newspaper industry. Now, capping off her professional career from which she just recently retired, Carr has been selected to receive the Local Media Association 2012 Dean S. Lesher Award. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to her company, community and the local newspaper industry at large, Carr has been resoundingly chosen for this lifetime achievement award, LMA’s highest honor. It is bestowed annually on an individual who has enhanced the industry through leadership, innovation and achievement of excellence in both their company and community.
In honoring Carr, who retired from her position as vice president of Metroland Media Group’s Toronto division and publisher of Toronto Community News in the spring, LMA is saluting one of the industry’s finest. She has made a vast imprint on the local community newspaper industry, within her company and in her community. According to Peter Haggert, Editor in Chief of Toronto Community News, “(Betty is) someone who fought an uphill battle, took a one-paper publisher's job nobody wanted, and turned it into an incredibly successful franchise of community newspapers in Canada's largest city.”
“Betty was my publisher for the past two years and every day I reap the benefit of what she's done for this company, this industry and this community,” added Haggert. Her staff and colleagues praise her instincts and skill at enabling an innovative and progressive work place. She is regarded as the type of leader who innately knew when to step in and when to give staff room to grow, build and flourish. Her thirst for new ideas and growth opportunities for her company was complimented by her desire to do good by her staff and the combination has yielded outstanding achievements and a prevailing pursuit of excellence that is a hallmark of her company. Metroland is frequently a leader in total number of awards in LMA contests and just last month took 16 awards, the most of any non-daily member, in the 2012 Local Community Web Site Contest.
Carr has been a key driving force behind expansion of Metroland's Toronto division and has implemented business strategies to build a strong, successful brand in a very competitive market. Under her leadership, TCN has transformed into one of Metroland's best-performing and most diverse divisions, publishing nine community publications and reaching over 500,000 homes each week. She also guided the expansion of TCN's advertising arm and today, the company has grown to become the largest flyer distributor in the city of Toronto.
Metroland Media is part of TorStar Corporation and its Board Chairman John Honderich praised Carr’s selection as the Dean S. Lesher award recipient. “Betty’s business acumen is nothing short of exceptional. Her dedication to her community was legendary,” said Honderich. “Every once and a while, a publisher comes along who makes a huge difference. Betty Carr is one of those.”
Within Local Media Association
With an easy smile and affable nature, Carr was a welcome face and a fixture at Local Media Association annual conferences over the past many years. She inevitably came to these gatherings with an armful of handouts, prepared to share innumerable new ideas and initiatives that were blazing trails, and revenue, in her company. One of those initiatives included a digital platform for preprinted circulars, www.flyerland.ca that was launched well ahead of the now popular move to online for deals, coupons and circulars.
Her increasing involvement with LMA led to a position on its all-volunteer, very dedicated and hard working board of directors and culminated with her leadership of that board in the 2009-2010 term. Her service to the organization came during a time of significant transition for the industry and the association. Through a pioneering spirit and focused vision, she contributed to numerous strategic initiatives that have been implemented over the last several years. As board chair, Carr was instrumental in preparing Suburban Newspapers of America (now Local Media Association) for a solid future. She was a strong advocate of the name change and embraced any opportunities, even if they were risky, to help the membership with the digital transformation.
Nancy Lane, President of Local Media Association, praised Carr as a farsighted leader, friend and mentor. "Betty Carr was simply one of the best board chairs that we ever had", said Lane. "She served as a mentor to me and I am a better leader and person because of my exposure to Betty. She was extremely loyal, engaged and hard-working during her time on the board. I am thrilled that she is getting this much deserved recognition."
Betty Carr will be recognized as the Dean S. Lesher Award winner at the upcoming Local Media Association Fall Publishers’ and Advertising Directors’ Conference running September 11-14 in Atlanta, Georgia at The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Full details, agenda and online registration for this important gathering are found on LMA’s website.