29, Chief Marketing Officer for Choice Insurance Agency, Virginia Beach
Business community involvement:
Hampton Roads REALTORS Association (HRRA) 2019 Chair of the Affiliate’s Council, Hampton Roads Chapter Financial Planners Association (FPA) Affiliate Member, Tidewater Mortgage Bankers Association (TMBA) Affiliate Member
Strong Women, Strong World Sponsor, Girls On The Run running buddy/mentor
Something that makes you stand out in your industry?
I’ve gotten to actively work in multiple areas of the insurance field. I’ve written home and auto policies, I’ve managed large commercial accounts, I’ve done business development and I have my Property & Causality and my Life, Health and Annuities license. Most marketing professionals don’t get hands-on experience working in multiple departments of an agency. It changes the way you approach and think about business growth within an agency, and it changes what you can bring to the table for clients and partners.
Something or someone who keeps you motivated?
Two things drive me: the opportunity to learn, advance and grow in my career field and the opportunity to achieve financial freedom. For me, “financial freedom” means having the means to help others, be debt free and utilize financial resources for investment, retirement and travel. My husband and I have started building an investment property portfolio and are adding to our properties in Hampton Roads. My husband, Zach, is a motivator for me as well. He keeps me encouraged, focused and laughing every day.
What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome to find success?
I place a huge value on education, and earning a college degree has always been important to me. I started college when I was 16 years old and paid my own way through my bachelor’s degree. I took a slightly unconventional route, and there were distinct challenges, but I completed my degree from a private university without accumulating debt. I worked several jobs while in school and it took me longer than four years to finish, but the skills and principles that I learned from my courses are aspects that I heavily utilize every day in my current role.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current position?
I would probably be backpacking through Europe or teaching English Second Language (ESL) somewhere. Each of these elements were parts of my first job out of college working in Oaxaca, Mexico and Bogota, Colombia and I absolutely loved it.
What new idea or development are you most excited about in Coastal Virginia right now?
We’ve seen huge trends for growth in our area in developments like the internet pipeline, which places Virginia Beach in a huge position for economic growth by connecting our area with high speed connection to other major business hubs, and growth from our ports, which is a substantial catalyst for economic growth and new jobs in Hampton Roads.
What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?
Sea level rise is a huge challenge. This issue has massive potential to negatively impact economic growth in Hampton Roads by increasing flood premiums, compromising new build development sites and impacting the function of Norfolk Naval Base (NOB). When more areas are experiencing flooding and flood insurance premiums go up, this can have a huge impact on the real estate market in our area. Norfolk Naval Base is a huge economic presence that has been negatively impacted by base flooding due to sea level rise. This is definitely a hot topic that needs to stay on the front burner of Hampton Roads discussions as it poses an impactful link to the economic growth potential for our area.
Favorite place in Coastal Virginia to go on the weekends?
I love First Landing State Park. Any free weekend we have we usually try to get a run in with our pup and some time to unplug on the trails.
From her nomination:
“Sharp, dedicated, professional and kind, Kelley cares about the community and about the people around her. She is living proof that ethics and success can coexist and that in fact, being ethical and working hard leads to success. In my mind, Kelley deserves this recognition more than anyone I’ve ever met. And she’s just getting started.”
—Thomas Freridge, associate/coworker