Kari Skelton

Top 40 Under 40 2011

Photography 3Ten Photo/Aaron Pedersen

Age: 30

Job Title: Media personality

Why She’s Top 40: She quickly went from being a traffic and news reporter to a local celebrity, boosting spirits with her volunteer work and affable personality.

Key To Success: “Letting go of fear – it’s liberating. Also, lots of coffee, regular massages, scheduled down-time and a strong support system of family and friends.”

When radio and TV personality Kari Skelton was chosen for the annual Dancing With the Stars-inspired charity, “Dancing for the Kids,” she headed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edmonton to spend an afternoon better understanding for whom she was dancing.

Because the participating local celebrities have to quickly learn their dance routines, “there’s the potential for you to get wrapped up in yourself,” Skelton says.  “So it was important to keep my perspective on why I was doing it.” Although she didn’t place first, she maintains it was a close second and worth every minute, even though she barely has a minute to spare these days.

Skelton spends 80 hours a week co-hosting The Wake Up! Show with Jason and Kari on up! 99.3 FM and hosting and producing myEdmonton, a TV newsmagazine program on Telus TV. She sees her dual careers as an about-town lifestyle – one she shares with husband Ryan Jespersen, also a TV host and Top 40 Under 40 alumnus.

Being tapped into the city is practically a contractual obligation, but what makes her so good at telling the city’s stories in two very different formats is her natural congeniality and performance flair.

She had early ambitions of being a pro figure skater, so the chance to entertain audiences is all she could ask for. “I enjoy the performance aspect of it, and I enjoy telling other people’s stories,” she says.

Between the microphone and the camera lens and the theatre premieres and grand openings, she still manages to volunteer with various charities, most actively with the prostate cancer campaign, Movember, of which she is the local chapter’s only female committee member.

“A lot of women think, ‘I can’t be involved in that charity because it’s for prostate cancer, and it’s for men and the guys grow a moustache, and we can’t do that,'” says Skelton.

Proving that woman can get involved, and quite effectively too, she organized the first annual “mo sista” soiree, which helped Edmonton’s Movember raise $1.1 million in 2010, more than double what it raised the year before.

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