(Note: I wanted to highlight some of the people I work with at Live Well Network as part of our ongoing Life Lessons feature. Today, it’s my boss, Peggy Allen’s turn. Peggy emailed me a few years ago after reading about my story in More Magazine. After a bit of trying we finally connected and she asked if I’d shoot a pilot for Live Well Network. Though awfully busy creating content from my walk-in closet (insert sarcasm here), I agreed. That pilot was the first episode of Sweet Retreats. I love working for LWN, in part because of the show but also because Peggy introduced me to some great folks who I may have never come into contact with. But beyond that, she gave me a chance; she believed in me and values the contribution I make to the network. So Peg, I humbly thank you.)
*Are you happy at the moment?
I am very happy at the moment. I’m flying to Chicago where I’ll see old neighbors, co-workers, and attend a wedding of a niece who seems very happy with the man she’s marrying.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
To my 16-year-old self, I would say, “Don’t change your name when you go to college. It doesn’t work out well.” But seriously, I am not sure I would say anything that would cause a change in direction because I feel internally, that I am that 16-year-old still. Maybe wiser, certainly a little heavier, but the inner voice took good care of that 16-year-old and continues to be a trusted source.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
This has been a year of massive learning. A year ago my husband and I sold our suburban home in the Chicago area and moved to a gorgeous setting in Vermont where we have built a small sheep farm. We both have day jobs, but this adventure has put a great deal of newness on our plates. I’ve learned to trim hooves, look for and treat intestinal parasites, run a stomach tube in a 6-hour-old lamb and salt a hide. And that’s just for starters.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I’m a wicked task master. Work-wise, I want to continue to grow and nurture the Live Well Network. We are a team that has accomplished a great deal in three years and I believe this team is capable of moving the network to even greater success. Personally, I want to learn more about dying wool, selling our yarn, and meeting more people in our new world of the Upper Valley.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
I face forward. I work at staying in touch with the people, especially women, I’ve met in my career and in the neighborhoods I’ve lived in over three major family moves. I think for me happiness is a balance of personal accomplishments that satisfy and being in the company of generous people.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Staying in touch with my two sisters who know me cold and who have never not been there for me.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I think looking back at “what if’s” is a waste of time and in fact, potentially destructive.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I’m not sure I’ve taught my girls any particular lessons. What I know is that my 25 and 27-year-old daughters were blessed with great grey matter and natural curiosity. It’s my hope that I have shown by example and that they too will live life facing forward, preserve and enjoy friendships, and pursue their passions.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I sure wish I could stop chewing the inside of my mouth, a really annoying habit.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
Like the regrets question, asking about what I’m most proud of requires looking back. I’ve had personal and professional accomplishments that made me happy, helped others I hope, but I don’t really think of it terms of an event or action that I’m “most” proud of. I have been hard wired to look for opportunities all my life and I went after and bagged a ton. Were they all the right move, big hits? No, but hokey as it sounds, the journey almost always beat the actual finish line.
*When were you happiest?
My cup is full almost always.
*What ten words best describe you?
Task Master, friend, list maker, intense, dyslexic, crafter, entrepreneur, loved.
Peggy Allen, an accomplished television executive with wide-ranging expertise spanning broadcast, cable, online and multimedia, is Vice President of Programming and Operations for the Live Well Network, one of the fastest growing digital networks and the leading destination for lifestyle-focused programming. Since her appointment in 2010, she has overseen all programming, affiliate distribution, brand development, and communications for the fast-growing Live Well Network, now available in nearly 70 markets and reaching about 65% of all U.S. television households. Ms. Allen reports to Rebecca Campbell, President of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, which includes the Live Well Network.
In addition, Ms. Allen is responsible for identifying key network talent for the Live Well Network such as Rene Syler (SWEET RETREATS), Joey Fatone (MY FAMILY RECIPE ROCKS!), Ali Vincent (LIVE BIG WITH ALI VINCENT) and Ryan Scott (FOOD RUSH). Tapping the expertise and personalities of these and other series hosts, Ms. Allen continues to expand the Live Well Network’s signature schedule of original series that entertain, inform and inspire viewers on popular topics ranging from food, fitness and finance to style, travel and more.
Prior to joining the Live Well Network, Ms. Allen served as Senior Project Manager for ROI Ventures from 2008 to 2010. She oversaw all aspects of brand development for far-reaching projects that ranged from a communications platform for behavioral economist and Nobel laureate, James Heckman to the New Options Initiative for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an innovative web-based platform featuring highly sophisticated simulation modeling.
From 1997-2008, Ms. Allen was a partner at the consulting/production company Allen/Nee Productions whose roster encompassed broadcast and cable clients such as NBC Entertainment, The Food Network, and CNN News Source, as well as print properties including Time Inc.’s Real Simple, InStyle, Better Homes & Gardens, and Entertainment Weekly. Other work with Allen/Nee involved TV pilot development, start-up network scheduling and book-concept development.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Allen served as Vice President Original Programming and Production for Lifetime Television where she was responsible for the development, launch and management of original programming. Her vision for original programming targeted towards women was instrumental to the branding the network “television for women,” driving ratings to an all-time high and setting records for three consecutive years for original ratings growth. Especially notable were the accolades Ms. Allen received accolades for her work on the network special “Lifetime Applauds: The Fight Against Breast Cancer,” winner of the Golden Cable Ace Award.
Ms Allen also worked with Hearst Broadcasting Productions as Director of News Services and Director of Development, where she received two Ace Awards. Prior to that, Ms. Allen was Executive Producer for “Good Day!,” a top rated daily live variety program based in Boston. She began her television career in production at WMAQ-TV in Chicago, after graduating from Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Peggy lives on a small sheep farm in Vermont with her husband Todd. They have two adult daughters, Dr. Kate Allen and Lori Allen of The Other Bones, a Portland ME band on the verge of greatness.