Chief Operating Officer, Story Worldwide
In 1997, an amiable Brit with a keen sense of humor single-handedly and permanently changed the landscape of custom publishing in the U.S. Taking a lead from the venerable APA (Association of Publishing Agencies—our older and more-established sibling organization in the U.K.), Simon Kelly approached the MPA (Magazine Publishers of America) with the idea of forming a separate entity for custom publishing.
He recruited the founding members, finessed the relationship with the MPA to charter an affordable and viable independent organization, became the first chairperson, and organized and co-chaired meetings during the group’s first two years. Since then, he has gone on to contribute as a board member while creating a liaison and information-exchange with the APA as well as with custom publishing organizations throughout the world. Simon’s efforts have clearly imprinted custom publishing on North America’s marketing psyche.
Kelly’s publishing career spans 20 years, beginning in 1984 when he started with IDG UK’s Computer News (Computerworld UK). In 1990, Kelly co-founded TPD Publishing, ltd, one of the leading independent custom publishers in the UK. In 1995, TPD won the contract to publish Microsoft Magazine in the US and, as a result, Kelly moved to Seattle to launch the company’s US operation, which grew into Fluent Communications. In 2001, Fluent Communications became part of TPA (The Publishing Agency), an Interpublic company, and in 2005, Kelly re-branded the company as Story Worldwide.
Now, in his spare time, Simon is COO of Story Worldwide, one of the most forward-thinking custom publishing companies on the planet, with offices in Seattle, New York, Norwalk, CT, London and Hong Kong And just as he has endeared himself to all of us in the industry, his charm and wit are appreciated and loved in his new “hometown” of Seattle, where he resides with his wife and two children.