Co-founder, Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator
Posted on: February 21, 2012 | Go to profile
Building from her past professional life practicing law, Kelly connects the dots between people, ideas and initiatives through her work with Women Innovate Mobile (WIM), the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology. Her goal is to provide women entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to make their startups best in class companies. Community involvement has been a key factor in propelling Kelly’s career and she is honored to be on the board of organizations like inMotion, GEMS and StaringBloc.
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: My professional journey began as an attorney in Toronto, Canada in 1991. In 1998, I moved to New York and this is when my expected career path began to take some interesting turns. Through building my professional networks and connections I was able to shift the focus of my legal career in 2004 then again in 2008 and then to move into entrepreneurship in 2009. That diverse network of relationships also offered up opportunities to join not-for-profit and startup advisory boards. Today, I’m the co-founder of Women Innovate Mobile, the first startup accelerator program for woman-founded (or co-founded) companies focused on mobile technology or mobile applications. I currently sit on the advisory boards for three startups (all with women founders) as well as on the advisory board for The Wunderglo Foundation. I’m an angel investor through The Pipeline Fund.
Q: Who is a leader that you have great respect for and why?
A: Wow. Tough question as there are many prominent leaders in the political realm (Madeleine Albright, Gabrielle Giffords), as well as business (Sheryl Sandberg, Andrea Jung, Indra Nooyi), and media (Katherine Graham) who come to mind; however, the leader I admire greatly is a future leader, and someone you’ve not yet heard of: Gloria Borges. Gloria is an attorney, founder of the Wunderglo Foundation and a cancer warrior. Through her own battle with cancer, she is creating awareness through speaking engagements as well as her blog. She is seeking cures through her foundation. And through it all, she continues to pursue her professional goals as an ambitious young attorney in L.A. and to live her life positively and to the fullest. Watch Gloria. Her leadership contributions in the areas of cancer advocacy, as well as in law and politics, have only just begun.
Q: Innovation requires creative thinking. How do you tap into the creative thinking resources within your business?
A: I have two great entrepreneurs I work with on Women Innovate Mobile, Veronika Sonsev, CEO and Founder of inSparq, and Deborah Jackson, CEO and Founder of JumpThru. We bring different resources, work experiences and perspectives to the conversation and respect each other’s perspectives. We know we can’t have all the ideas or solutions, so we consult each other frequently, as well as our individual networks, to brainstorm ideas.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for networking?
A: Stop committing random acts of networking. Be strategic, focused and consistent in your networking efforts.
Build your network before you need it. Recognize that networking is relationship building and relationship building takes time.
Networking is about people. Become a considerate and thoughtful listener and networking will become easier.
ON Career Transitions
Q: Many people become discontent with their current career yet are too afraid or reluctant to make a change. What’s your best advice for women in this situation?
A: Two pieces of advice: First, the obvious: conduct informational interviews with people who you think are happy in their jobs. What do they enjoy about their work? Is it their role, their co-workers, the company culture or something else? Their stories may tell you something about why you’re discontent in your current role and understanding that may help you make a career change. Second, read job boards, talk to recruiters, search out new career opportunities and go for job interviews, even if you’re NOT actively thinking about a career change. This process, particularly interviewing, helps to clarify what makes you tick professionally and will also help you understand your worth (financially) in the marketplace.
Q: Do you (formally or informally) mentor anyone? If so, who and why is it rewarding?
A: Informally I mentor a number of young professional women and I recently participated in a formal mentoring program through Women in Wireless, a professional organization for women in mobile and digital marketing. I was fortunate to have a great mentor early on in my legal career and to encounter another mentor approximately 3 years ago. These two individuals, both men coincidently, had a major impact on my career pursuits and professional confidence. In some ways I feel it is my responsibility as someone who has been mentored to give back as much as mentoring as I’ve been given and to continue the legacy of my two mentors. And yes, as a requirement of taking on a new mentor, I advise them that they in turn, have to mentor someone else.
Q: If you had the opportunity to give advice to your younger self at say the age 13, what would you say?
A: I’d tell my 13 year old self to shed the “obedient child” mantle and be a little more adventuresome, to take a few more risks and not to worry, there will be still be opportunities to reach your professional goals in new and interesting ways after 40.
ON Time Management
Q: Online calendars, emailing ourselves, post-it notes… I’m still struggling to find the best way to manage my time and to do list? What’s your method?
A: When I find THE one time management solution, I’ll have an infomercial and will be selling the system for millions! Seriously, I use a variety of methods (online calendar with alarms, reviewing the coming week’s schedule on Sunday and sending/signing up for email reminders, using calendar invitations, checking events and updates on Facebook or Linkedin) and yes, I still write things down in my trusty Filofax calendar.
ON Giving Back
Q: Can you share with us an experience of giving that was extremely rewarding or transformational?
A: I participated in a Kickstarter campaign to finance an independent documentary film The Illusionists. The film’s director, cinematographer and editor Elena Rossini, had previously interviewed me for her website “No Country For Young Women.” The Illusionists is Elena’s passion project; it is a documentary about the body as the ‘finest consumer object’ and the pursuit of ideal beauty around the world. By participating in Elena’s Kickstarter campaign and spreading the word on her funding deadline through my various social networks, Elena was able to secure the additional funds she needed to make her film.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Timeless and genuine. These two words are my style statement (thanks to Danielle LaPorte). I keep these two words in mind when I shop, wardrobe and accessorize. I’m also very shoe focused and have been obsessed with shoes since I could walk.
Q: Who are your favorite designers?
A: Since I’m obsessed with shoes, Manolo Blahnik, Azzedine Alaia, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo. Then the rebels and trailblazers of their eras, Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen.
Q: What’s your best buy ever?
A: My best buy was a gift from a friend who has impeccable and enviable style. She gave me a vintage Bill Blass full-length velvet dress. It was an incredible compliment to be given this distinctive and memorable dress.
ON Cooking & Food
Q: If you love to cook, can you share a favorite recipe?
A: My favorite recipe is the easiest, Marcella Hazan’s 4-ingredient tomato sauce from her book “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.”
28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes, no salt or herbs added
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small white onion, peeled and cut in half
Put a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, butter, onion halves, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat. Crush the tomatoes lightly with the back of a spoon as they cook, and stir occasionally. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat appear on the surface of the tomatoes. Remove and discard the onion. Serve over hot pasta.
Q: What are the beauty items you could not live without?
A: An unscented moisturizer containing sunscreen. I’m a big fan of Olay’s Regenerist line. Black mascara. YSL’s Opium perfume.
ON Personal Finance
Q: What are your top 3 personal finance tips for women?
A: 1). Build your bank account, not just your 401(k). Having savings means you can say yes to opportunities, especially career opportunities, which may not as be as financially rewarding as the job you’re in now.
2). Take an active interest in your investing and purchasing power. Where you spend makes a difference. Think about how your actions enhance your personal wealth and financial well-being, as well as the wealth of others.
3). Look for a personal finance expert who cares as much as about aspects of your personal life as your bank account balance.