Meet the Scout Team: Holli Banks Allien, Founder & Publisher

HolliHolli Banks Allien (second from left) in her flag football league.

Holli’s journey to Somerville and to the brazen task of launching a print magazine in 2009 was a complicated one. She grew up in East Tennessee, studied acting in New York, and ultimately followed a friend up to the Somerville and Cambridge area.

Scout was a long shot, to say the least. Holli went from business to business around Somerville, pitching her crazy idea. “I’ve got nothing to show you, but it’s going to be all Somerville, and it’s going to be awesome,” she remembers telling restaurant and shop owners as she tried to pull together money to publish the first edition.

Sheila Borges from Neighborhood was the first person to take a chance on Holli, and that’s when she felt her idea could actually work. Ken Kelly of The Independent, who passed away in 2015 and was mourned by many Somerville friends and neighbors, gave the final ad sale for that first issue. Holli cleared budget by just $40.

Holli

Holli (left) and her husband, Jerry Allien.

Holli says the city was enthusiastic about the first issue of Scout, despite its scrappiness, and she appreciated how much people cared about their community. “Everyone was so pumped about having something that was so dedicated to Somerville,” she says.

Holli kept clawing her way up, somehow always managing to pull together the resources to make each edition possible. For the first three years of Scout, she lived in the back of her office on Highland Avenue and cooked on a hot plate.

A few years after starting the Somerville edition, Holli responded to requests for Cambridge coverage, and Scout Cambridge was born.

As our publisher, Holli is in charge of the business side of Scout, which means her days include everything from ad meetings with local businesses to making sure our magazines get on stands to checking out new restaurants in the cities.

Holli married a Somerville man and has two stepsons and three basset hounds. In the few hours a week that she’s not thinking about Scout, she plays in a flag football league with our art director, Nicolle Renick.

Want to chat with Holli? Reach out! You can contact her at (617) 996-2283 or hbanks@scoutmagazines.com.

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