John K. Lawo, Jr is an independent consultant specializing in media/publishing strategies and business development and management. In his career of more than 35 years, Lawo has been instrumental in the founding, development and operation of numerous publishing businesses in local, national and international markets (U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and Asia). These range in subject matter and markets from architecture, city, construction and design to home furnishings, fashion & beauty, general interest, sports, real estate, transportation and travel.
Magazine titles that have been under his direction or ownership include Architectsʼ Guides (the design series), At Home in Memphis, Flatirons (Boulder, CO), L.A. Style, Los Angeles Exclusive, Resort Management, Southern Motor Cargo, Steamboat, The Presbyterian News, The Tennis News, U.S. Glass and Vail/Beaver Creek. He was instrumental in the organization and founding of Modern Media, LLC, which published Chicken Soup for the Soul Magazine, for which he personally with another staff member negotiated the rights to publish. Currently, he has a long-standing position with national teen magazine Justine.
Within the magazine industry, he specializes in business management, operational analysis & strategic planning, start-ups, reorganization & repositioning, and sales & circulation management and training.
He has extensive high-level, broad-based management experience with bottom line responsibility. His hands-on sales and marketing experience includes the development and implementation of advertising sales strategies, individual, direct, and team-oriented sales and work with Fortune 500 accounts and their ad agencies; circulation strategies, development, management and operation.
He began his career 1975 in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., with JKL, Inc., an entrepreneurial start-up., and grew that sales, marketing and publication business from a modest investment to produce multi-million dollar revenues. In 1980, he moved the business to Chicago to better serve its client base and to expand into new markets.
In 1994, he sold his interest in the business and moved back to Memphis where he developed and operated his magazine marketing communications and sales consulting business until 1996 when he accepted a position as Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Wallace Witmer Co., Publishers. He orchestrated repositioning of that companyʼs primary title, an established mature magazine (55 years old), which led to increased sales and market share for four consecutive years, outperforming the well established market it served.
Lawo later developed At Home in Memphis, LLC, and was the founding publisher of At Home in Memphis, a consumer life-style magazine serving the Memphis MSA interior design, home fashion market. The monthly magazine made a successful debut in 2001 with 79 advertisers and significant revenue. It was sold in 2002.
He has been a member of the American Business Media, American Marketing Association, the Association of Magazine Media, MUS Alumni Association, Sigma Delta Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the Vanderbilt Alumni Association & Career Advisory Board. In addition, he serves on several boards.
He graduated from Vanderbilt University with major studies in business & economics, psychology and English. He is married to the former Elizabeth (Beth) Schwenk of Northbrook, Ill., and has four children.