Kelly has the passion, leadership, and experience Denver needs to hit the ground running on day one and start making an impact on the city’s most pressing issues.
Kelly’s Career & Leadership
Chief Strategy Officer, Metropolitan State University of Denver (2020-21)
- Helped create free tuition for indigenous students.
- Maximized student financial aid.
- Developed master planning process, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Created accountability in planning with goal setting and tracking.
President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (2009-21)
- First woman to run 150-year-old business organization.
- Advocated for policies that improve the lives of Coloradans.
- Helped pass Prosperity Denver, creating college scholarships for all Denver Public Schools students.
- Led the successful effort to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections in Colorado.
- Improved the state’s financial stability by addressing the state’s retirement fund, PERA.
- Advocated for increased funding for transportation.
- Fought for equity and inclusivity:
- Created Prosper Colorado, an arm of the Chamber, to address inequities in our economy based on race, ethnicity, and gender, focusing on income, housing, and entrepreneurship.
- Opposed bills intended to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community posed as religious freedom.
- Submitted an amicus brief in support of the LGBTQ+ community and opposed discriminatory business practices (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al.).
- Established paid family leave plan for employees.
- Diversified board and staff.
Chief of Staff, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (2006-09)
Previous role: Deputy Chief of Staff (2005-06)
- Balanced budgets through the Great Recession (2009 and 2010).
- Supported the development of a CFO and auditing oversight for Denver’s Auditor.
- Increased elections accountability by overseeing elections move from commission to Clerk & Recorder role.
- Delivered Denver’s 311, a phone and chat system that provides residents with an effortless, accessible way to navigate city services.
- Managed the city through the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
- Supported successful re-election of Hickenlooper in 2007.
Director, Career Service Authority (2003-05)
- First woman to be hired as director, overseeing more than 8,500 employees in Denver’s career service (human resource) system.
Director, Center for Public-Private Sector Cooperation (1997-2003)
- Ran leadership program at University of Colorado Denver focused on improving public operations.
- Provided dispute resolution and facilitation services to clients.
Founder and Principal, Brough and Associates (1997-2003)
- Led facilitation and mediation company.
Legislative Analyst, Denver City Council (1990-97)
- Worked for all 13 members of Council on their central staff in both the Peña and Webb administrations.
Personnel Analyst, City and County of Denver (1989-90)
- Developed the city’s first pay-for-performance evaluation system.
- Received commercial driver’s license and plowed snow on-call at Stapleton International Airport for three years – the first woman to do so.
Counselor and Assistant Admissions Director, Excelsior Youth Center (1986-89)
- Worked with young women who had been adjudicated.Br
M.B.A., University of Colorado
B.S., Sociology, Montana State University
“I came to Denver 36 years ago because I believed in the promise of a better life for me and my family – and it was true. Since then, I’ve worked to keep that promise to the community that has given so much to me. I’m running for mayor because I believe in the people of Denver. Together, we can fulfill that promise – of good jobs, safe neighborhoods, great schools, and housing that’s affordable.”
Kelly has proudly served the community as a board member for these organizations:
- Colorado Brain Injury Advisory Board
- Delta Dental of Colorado and Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation
- Denver Civil Service Commission
- Denver Public Schools Foundation
- Denver Scholarship Foundation
- Denver Zoo
- Goodwill Industries of Denver
- Habitat for Humanity for Metro Denver
- Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado
- Visit Denver
Kelly has been recognized by the community:
- Allied Person of the Year, Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce – 2021
- ATHENA Leadership Award, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce – 2021
- Black Cannabis Equity Initiative Honoree – 2021
- Partner of the Year Award, Pro 15 – 2019
- Outstanding Woman in Business, Denver Business Journal – 2018
- Community Leader Award, Goodwill Industries of Denver – 2015
- One Colorado Ally Award – 2015
- Women Making History Award, Colorado Black Women for Political Action – 2015
- Most Powerful People in Denver, 5280 Magazine – 2014
- Woman of Distinction, Girl Scouts of Colorado – 2014
- Top 25 Most Powerful Women, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce – 2013
- Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City honoree, Denver Rescue Mission – 2013
- The Denver Post’s 10 Most Influential Colorado Women – 2012
- University of Colorado Denver Alumni Recognition Award – 2012
- Colorado “I Have a Dream Foundation” Roast Honoree – 2011
- Marshall Memorial Fellow – 2001