Reprinted from a story by Robin Miller in “Encourage Her Network” – Fall 2016 Issue
Keyot Partner Laura Kelly is laser-focused on bringing more women into leadership roles. In her professional and personal life, she is passionate about encouraging women to find their voice, show up in their careers and feel like they deserve to be at the leadership table. “There’s a lack of female voices at the top of companies.” Laura believes. “Much of the reason for that is that so many capable women aren’t establishing themselves and showing that they deserve to be at that table. They are waiting to be asked. I want to help change that perspective.”
Laura challenges young women to expect to be taken seriously, and to present themselves and their ideas appropriately. That is why Keyot’s Crew212 program, as well as her involvement with such community outreach programs as Dress for Success, are so important to her.
Laura was instrumental in designing Keyot’s Crew212 program, which is aimed at helping millenials integrate into corporate IT project delivery roles. Participants are placed with clients, and mentored for a year or two. They are thriving in careers to which they might never have had an access. Companies are connected with fresh talent, coached by the right people, who are learning the business from the ground up.
“I want women to reach for more,” she says, describing her passion. “I want them to strive for greater authority and accountability in their business and personal lives.” She adds that,” Nothing frustrates me more than seeing a gifted woman stand down because she feels something is not worth her effort or that her actions won’t generate results.”
Laura encourages young women to look and act professionally. “Show up like you belong there,” she says. “Don’t distract them with a stereotypical female presence. We’re so conditioned to be fashionable that this may seem like learning to speak a different language. You want your mind, your perspective and your vision to be heard. Only once we move into the leadership ranks, can we change the culture.”
And Laura is powerful role model of that success. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the creation of new business models, business architecture, process design and organizational designs. She leads her award-winning organization’s operations and financial aspects. Her perspective was born from consulting for a multitude of Fortune-ranked organizations across the U.S., and a skill set fusing creative solution thinking and strategic discipline.
In 2015, Keyot was recognized as #19 on the list of top 50 fastest-growing Woman-Owned/Led Companies in the world. In addition to this recognition, Keyot was named one of Minnesota’s 100 best Companies to Work for. And Laura was recognized by Minnesota Business magazine as one of Minnesota’s (Real) Power 50.