Kira Lafond 2

Kira Lafond

Publisher, Milwaukee Business Journal

Why She’s Amazing

Kira Lafond doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.

Kira Lafond became Market President and Publisher of the Milwaukee Business Journal in July 2016. She oversees a team of talented editorial, events, audience development and marketing professionals who work every day to help their readers grow their businesses, advance their careers and simplify their professional lives.

Prior to becoming Publisher, Kira served as the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Director of Advertising for two years. She spent the balance of her 30+ year career in radio sales and management during which she led teams of as many as 100 to financial success.

Kira never expected to leave radio, but when the opportunity to lead the Milwaukee Business Journal team came up, she jumped at it. “There is a magic that happens when business people engage with the Milwaukee Business Journal. We keep them informed, educate them on the latest developments in their careers and, most importantly, we connect them with other professionals with whom they can do business.”

Kira encourages you to contact her at klafond@bizjournals.com.

We had a chance to ask Kira a few questions. Something tells us the Milwaukee Business Journal is just one area in which she will make magic.

“If someone tries to ‘label’ you as something
that you are not – don’t just TELL them,
SHOW them who/what you really are.
They will never make that mistake again.” – Kira Lafond

Q & A


Q: When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

A: For a while, I wanted to be President of the United States. That changed in high school when an article I wrote for the school paper was picked up by the St. Petersburg Times. Then, I wanted to be an investigative reporter.

Q: What did people think when you told them that?

A: I’m not sure they paid that much attention to me, but perhaps that’s good. I don’t think anyone ever told me I couldn’t be president or an investigative reporter. It really never crossed my mind that I couldn’t be these things because I was a girl.

Q: What does the word “princess” mean to you?

A: Although I believe that words are powerful, the words themselves don’t mean much. What matters is what you DO with them. Make of yourself what you want to be. If you want to be a princess, then be the best darned princess you can be. If I were to be a princess, I’d be a warrior princess, but that’s just me.

If someone tries to “label” you as something that you are not – don’t just TELL them, SHOW them who/what you really are. They will never make that mistake again.

Q: How did you become interested in journalism and media, resulting in being the Publisher of the Milwaukee Business Journal?

A: Both of my parents worked in the media when I was growing up. My dad was a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and my mom did ghost writing for Ann Landers. I was very proud of their work and loved going into their offices with them. When I went to college, I started as a Journalism major. When I switched to the Radio Television Management program, I think my dad was disappointed. But, they supported my goals and were very happy with the success I had in my sales and management roles.

As I mentioned above, I worked on the school newspaper team. I was also in theater. We had a very old lighting system in our theater that frequently shot sparks and shorted out. I melded the two into a story about the dangerous conditions that ended up as a front page story in a section of the St. Petersburg Times. While our principal was NOT happy with me, we got a new(er) lighting system in the school. And, kids stopped getting hurt. The principal called me in and asked why we didn’t come to them first. I responded with the many, many times we went through the “proper channels” and got nowhere. I saw the power of the press to make things better.

Q: What did you have to do to accomplish this?

A: After college, my career started in radio. I worked my way up from Account Executive to Sales Manager to General Manager and have been up and down on that ladder a few times depending on what was going on in my life. For a few years right after my daughters were born, I worked part time. I found that this was an incredible way to learn to work smarter with fewer hours.

Q: Did you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?

A: I have had many. My mom taught me a ton about hard work. In my radio career, I would have to say that the owner of Pride Communications, Jim Hooker, was my greatest mentor. I learned every single day on the job with him. He taught me not only about the systems and strategy that goes into making a business successful, but about the passion and heart it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Q: Did your family and friends support your aspirations?

A: My family and close friends have always been supportive of me. My most important supporters are my husband, Tim, and my girls, Katie and Emily. They have always believed in me and have been supportive of my journey. I’m very lucky. But, I think just as important is that I was supportive of myself.

Q: Did you think about being called a “trailblazer” for choosing this path?

A: Not really. I guess I never thought I couldn’t do it.

Q: What motivates you?

A: That has changed over the years. At first, I was motivated nearly 100% out of fear of failure. After my parents divorced, we had some very rough financial years. I was determined to never, ever be financially reliant on another person. As I got more financially secure, that lessened. I now love working with and helping others see the opportunities that are around them. I love challenging others to be the best they can be – even if it’s uncomfortable.

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Q: Did you ever want to throw in the towel? If so, what helped you to turn that around?

A: No – probably there were times when I SHOULD have. I have worked for bosses that I didn’t think had the right stuff or who were motivated only for themselves at the detriment of their employees, company and community.

Q: Of what are you most proud?

A: My daughters. They are strong, proud young women who are finding their way in this world in very different ways. I’m in awe of them.

Q: What would you like people to learn from you?

A: Ask questions. Then ask more questions. Then ask them again. Look for the patterns in life. In patterns you see opportunity. In opportunity you find ways to make yourself and your world better.

Q: What three words would you like people to use to describe you?

A: Thoughtful. Strong. Determined.

Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of your accomplishments?

A: I’m a daughter, wife and mother first.

Q: Given the choice, would you do it all again?

A: Yes, I just would have done it sooner. ☺

Q: Who do you follow on social media that shares your passion for business and news?

A: I follow nearly all of the major media outlets locally and nationally. I love seeing many sides of a story. Usually somewhere in there is the truth.

Q: If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be?

A: I am SO lucky. I’m currently working my way through meetings (sometimes lunches) with 100 CEOs in 100 Days. I am learning so much from them. One person – hmmm…

Q: Which woman would you choose to have on U.S. currency?

A: A composite of a working mother.

Q: What advice would you give to a girl who wants to be just like you?

A: Stop in – let’s talk! I’d love to help you on your way!

Bonus Question:

Q: What question would you ask the next Modern Day Trailblazer we interview?

A: What was the most difficult decision you have ever had to make personally and professionally?

Fun Facts:

  • Kira is a night owl who forces herself to be a morning person
    (she has to for the job).
  • Her favorite Halloween candy is anything chocolate.
  • Kira’s favorite movie is anything that makes her cry. She still loves
    Bridges of Madison County and thinks she was actually physically
    dehydrated by the time that movie ended.
  • Her favorite quote is “Do one thing every day that scares you”.
    Kira told us this quote is widely attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but Quote Investigator says an exact match for this quotation appeared within a June 1997 essay by Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
  • Kira’s two daughters sent her the last text messages that she received.