Event Hosts & Chair
Karen Holmes Ward
Karen Holmes Ward is the Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of CityLine, WCVB’s award-winning weekly magazine program which addresses the accomplishments, concerns and issues facing people of color living in Boston and its suburbs. Many notables including Oscar winners Regina King, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington, Louis Gossett Jr., Barry Jenkins and Spike Lee among others have been interviewed by Karen for CityLine. CityLine has been a recipient of the Associated Press Massachusetts/Rhode Island ‘Best’ Public Affairs Program and numerous Emmy nominations.
Karen also oversees WCVB’s public service and community outreach efforts including the station’s work on Extreme Makeover: My Hometown, raising awareness about the need for affordable housing in the Greater Boston area, and WCVB’s first-of-its-kind web-based initiative, Commonwealth 5. This on-line project promoted philanthropy by matching viewer-donors with non-profits via the Internet and was nominated for a National Emmy Award. Karen served as Executive Producer for Return to Glory, a one-hour prime-time documentary hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Andre Braugher about the famed Massachusetts 54th Regiment. Return to Glory was syndicated nationally and seen in over 80% of the country. Karen was part of the team honored with a National Association of Broadcasters ‘Service to Community in Television’ Award for WCVB’s community service efforts during and following the Boston Marathon attack.
Karen has enjoyed a forty-year career in broadcasting including early stints as a writer at WEEI News Radio, News Director at WILD-Radio where she hosted a daily one-hour talk show, and a reporter at WGBH-TV.
A graduate of Boston University’s School of Public Communications (now COM), Karen has received honorary doctorates from both Cambridge College and Merrimack College. She was inducted into the 2018 Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon individuals for their outstanding achievements and unparalleled contributions to the broadcasting industry in Massachusetts. She has received numerous awards for her work in the community including the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences ‘Silver Circle’ Award for Lifetime Achievement, Boston Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award; National Association of Black Journalists Region I Journalist of the Year; Big Sister of Greater Boston Achievement Award; Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts President’s Award; Women of Courage and Conviction Award from the Greater Boston Section National Council of Negro Women, Inc., and MassVote’s ‘Champion of Democracy,’ among others. Karen has been a mentor to dozens of nonprofit groups over the years, serving on boards and assisting them in learning how to use the power of television to advance their causes.
DeMane Davis is a Writer, Filmmaker, TV Director and Producer. She had directed two independent features and over seventy commercials when Ava DuVernay (WHEN THEY SEE US, A WRINKLE IN TIME) asked her to helm an episode of her groundbreaking TV series, Queen Sugar (OWN.) DeMane produced the third season. A proud product of The Ava Effect, she went on to direct episodes of How To Get Away With Murder, Station 19 and You. Recently, the Roxbury native produced and directed on The Madam CJ Walker Story starring Octavia Spencer, Blair Underwood and Tiffany Haddish. The series airs on Netflix next year.
As president of MullenLowe Boston and New York, Kelly is focused on partnering with strategy and creative to make the work great; expanding the agency by delivering new ideas and value to existing and prospective clients; and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. She’s part of a leadership team responsible for almost 600 integrated marketing professionals across the agency’s full range of hyper-bundled services, including strategy, creative, media, and public relations. Kelly works with many of the agency’s most progressive and innovative clients, including JetBlue, Royal Caribbean, American Greetings, E*TRADE, U.S. Cellular, and Burger King.
Kelly came to MullenLowe from Bank of America, where she served for 10 years as an SVP and channel marketing executive, overseeing advertising programming, agency management, and brand visual identity. She has deep experience working in creatively driven agencies, having been chief of staf at Modernista! working on brands such as Cadillac, Hummer, TIAA-CREF, and Product (RED).
Kelly has been a keynote speaker at the 3% Conference, at CEB’s ReimagineHR conference, and within the IPG Women’s Leadership Network. Kelly also runs her own online forum related to professional and personal development, MyYearOfWhittling.com, and is an avid supporter of the Special Olympics.