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Mount Made: Saturdays are for the Alums

7/14/2021

How Kelly Martin ’10 Is Taking Barstool Sports by Storm

When Kelly Martin ’10 has a goal, she’ll stop at nothing until she achieves it.

And that mindset is exactly how she got to be Senior Vice President and Head of Talent Relations and Communications at Barstool Sports—one of the youngest SVPs in company history.

Kelly’s playing a significant role in changing the face of modern media. At Barstool, hosts and contributors of shows and podcasts aren’t afraid to make their opinions known, while still sticking to the facts and letting their audiences know what’s happening in the world. As a senior vice president, Kelly’s responsible for managing almost every single talent that represents one of Barstool’s many platforms—something that takes organization, skill, and guts.

Kelly Martin on a stool

Working for a mainstream media company like Barstool has always been a dream of Kelly’s.

But before she started to climb the ranks at Barstool—one of the nation’s premier sports and entertainment digital media companies—she launched her career at Mount Saint Vincent.

The Mount was the perfect place—the #RightPlaceOnTheRiver—for Kelly to study and as she described it: “the stars aligned.”

“My mom is a nurse practitioner and the Mount is very credible in her field,” mentioned Kelly. “The College is well-known for its nursing program, and my mom even taught there for many years! She knew that I wanted to work in journalism, so she suggested I check out Mount Saint Vincent. Since it’s so close to Manhattan, I’d be able to utilize all the resources available in the communication field.”

While filling out college applications during her senior year of high school, Kelly’s mom nudged her along the way and kept reminding her about the Mount. Admittedly, Kelly didn’t originally consider the College as one of her top choices, but—after taking her first footstep on campus—she fell in love.

“I loved the beautiful grounds, I loved the kind people that I met—and after a little more persuasion from my mom (and a generous scholarship) I was officially a Dolphin!”

And it certainly helped Kelly’s decision when one of her closest childhood friends, Anthony Brestolli ’10, also applied to Mount Saint Vincent—and got in. They took a leap of faith together and stuck by each other’s sides throughout their college journeys.

Kelly Martin with friends.

Kelly met some of her lifelong friends at the Mount. She’s pictured here with some of her fellow Dolphins at a recent wedding they attended!

At the Mount, Kelly had the resources needed to put her passion for the media into action, majoring in communication with a concentration in broadcasting and journalism.

Originally, Kelly wanted to be in front of the camera. She had a dream of being on air and becoming one of the nation’s leading news broadcasters. However, as she began seriously considering a career in news reporting, she realized that it wasn’t exactly where her passion lied.

“As I started exploring internships to help me get ‘camera ready,’ I began to realize that maybe it wasn’t the field I wanted to dive into,” Kelly reflected. “Realistically, I’d probably have to move out of New York City to start my career as a journalist—and that wasn’t something I was looking forward to doing.”

But then, as she shifted her focus and registered for classes with a deeper focus on public speaking and media writing, Kelly found her niche.

Kelly Martin plays lacrosse.

Even after graduation, Kelly found a way to stay active in her sport. She frequently comes to campus to compete in lacrosse games with alumnae of the team.

Not only was she dedicated to her studies, but Kelly was also an active member of campus life outside the classroom—playing as an integral member and two-year captain of the women’s lacrosse team.

“Lacrosse was a big part of my life at Mount Saint Vincent—and even prior” said Kelly.

In high school, Kelly played for a Section I Class AA school—one of the top-ranked in the state. It was very competitive, and Kelly remembers late nights returning home from tournaments and games. When searching for colleges, while she knew that she wanted to continue playing the sport she loved, she didn’t want time spent on the field to outweigh the time she had to study. That made playing for a NCAA Division III school—like Mount Saint Vincent—the perfect fit.

“My lacrosse teammates are some of my best friends—even to this day,” Kelly mentioned. “We all keep in touch and formed such a strong bond as a team. I think that was one of the best things about my time at the Mount—the friends I met became my family.”

After successfully leading the team as captain and demonstrating not only skill, but sportsmanship, Kelly was nominated by her peers and earned a spot in the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Kelly Martin Alumni Hall of Fame

In honor of her dedication and leadership both on and off the field, Kelly was an ideal candidate to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Here, she is pictured with her parents at the ceremony in 2019.

Mount communication professors like Vincent Fitzgerald, Brad Crownover, and Ted Kafala were essential in guiding Kelly through her coursework and mentoring her as she navigated her way through her college journey.

One of the best aspects of a liberal arts education is the opportunity for students to take classes not only in their respective major—but across the disciplines. While communication was her focus, Kelly has fond memories of a religion class taught by Professor of Religious Studies Edward Zukowski.

“Dr. Zukowski is brilliant. I loved his classes and they truly made me think, challenging me to use different parts of my brain and contemplate those bigger-picture questions.”

Aside from all the support and perspective Kelly received from faculty members at the Mount, one piece of advice she’ll always take away from her professors is the importance of networking. As Kelly puts it: “It’s all about who you know!”

After graduating from the College in 2010, Kelly was entering a job market that wasn’t exactly inviting for young professionals. Jobs were scarce and interviews were cutthroat. With that in mind, Kelly decided to go straight to graduate school that following September—earning a degree in media and professional communication from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Kelly Martin with microphone.

Even though most of her work takes place off-camera, Kelly still likes to make occasional guest appearances on some of Barstool’s podcasts and shows!

Then, when it was really time to start looking for a job, Kelly imagined all her Mount professors shouting “NETWORK! NETWORK!” into her head.

“I actually landed my first full-time job after grad school because of someone I went to Mount Saint Vincent with,” said Kelly. “One of my classmates, Arnold Ross ’08, helped me gain a position at ‘Anderson Live,’ Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show. I was there for two years as a talent coordinator.”

Kelly stayed behind the scenes in the television media field for a majority of her early career, taking on a position as talent booker for another daytime talk show, “Bethanny” with Bethanny Frankel. After a year in that role, Kelly went on to work for “The Chew” on ABC—a food and lifestyle afternoon panel news show. For four years Kelly was a talent producer, in charge of booking guests, and even won a Daytime Emmy for her work.

“Your first years working in the media—whether it’s in television, public relations, or broadcasting—can require you to work some grueling hours. But that’s the time for you to explore, put your time in, network, and grow into a career that you love.”

But remember: when Kelly has a goal, she’ll stop at nothing until she achieves it.

Still striving for more responsibility, more flexibility, and less structure, Kelly knew it was time to research a new opportunity. That’s what led her to Barstool Sports in the Fall of 2018.

Kelly Martin with Wallo and Gillie

In her role, Kelly has the opportunity to work with some of Barstool’s biggest personalities. Here, she poses with Wallo and Gillie Da King who host “Million Dollaz Worth of Game,” one of Barstool’s top podcasts.

“Every day is ever-changing,” said Kelly. “I don’t think there’s ever been any day that’s the same. I spend most of my time pitching our shows to reps, networks, talent bookers—really anyone who might be interested in picking up one of Barstool’s programs. And then it’s the vice versa too—those agencies will pitch their talent and shows to me, and I’ll decide whether or not it’s something or someone our Barstool shows might be interested in.”

Working closely alongside founder Dave Portnoy and CEO Erika Nardini, Kelly is finally excited to come to work each day. Barstool is all about new media—delivering the latest in sports and pop culture news to audiences around the world. And while she’ll always be grateful for the skills and experience she gained working for companies like Telepictures and ABC, Kelly firmly believes that the cutting-edge news environment of Barstool Sports is where she’s meant to be.

Need more proof of Kelly’s success? When she began her work with Barstool just about three years ago, there were under 100 employees. Now, the company has reached over 275 employees—and will only keep growing.

Kelly Martin at Barstool

One of Kelly’s favorite elements of working at Barstool? The opportunity to have fun in the office! She recently teamed up with Barstool Personality PFT Commenter to play a few rounds of Jenga in the Stool Streams League. They even made it to the finals!

Getting to where she is today certainly took patience, drive, and dedication, but Kelly has the College to thank for preparing her to enter the workforce and become one of the nation’s top media professionals.

“The Mount taught me how to communicate—and I don’t mean that just because I was a communication major,” joked Kelly. “I learned how to work with a team, how to be organized, and how to collaborate. Gaining that confidence has greatly helped me in my career, and I’m thankful I had such dedicated professors and mentors to guide me along the way.”

What’s her next goal? We’re not sure—but we know Kelly’s got some ideas in mind (maybe even teaching some communication classes as an adjunct faculty member *cough cough…looking at you, CMSV Communication Department*). But there’s one thing we’re certain about: Kelly will stop at nothing until she reaches the top.

Are you Mount Made? Do you know other alums living out the mission of the College? Let us know—we’d love to show how the Mount helped launch your career. Contact us to be featured!

About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.