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Kelli Wingo

Kelli Wingo

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Warrior, Orator, Coach, Content Creator, Fire-starter and Lover of Laughter

I have a passion and calling to help business leaders, organizations and citizens of the world catalyze the greatness that lies within. I serve as the Founder/Chief Vision and Strategy Officer of KMW Catalyst LLC, a personal and professional development company focusing on authentic personal branding and entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship culture to increase employee engagement and retention leading to revenue growth. I am also the Founder/Chief Orator of Spiryt In Motion, a movement dedicated to dismantling the oppression of limiting beliefs one talk at a time.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I joined Ellevate in August 2019 and hit the ground running. Within a month's time, I had been asked to present a workshop, submitted two articles for Forbes and Medium, and signed up to attend 3 events in the NYC and Northern New Jersey chapters. There is not one specific event that undergirded my decision to join Ellevate, but the women and the environment of the organization that so willingly and easily welcomed me in.

How would you define your professional mission?

As a business junkie, what intrigues me most is the stories about the people behind business. From corner bakery store owners to recent college grads entering into the workforce to CEOs of trillion-dollar companies. Everyone has a unique journey worth knowing. Everyone has greatness within them that is directly tied to their ability to help others. Having spent much of my career in the financial services industry in the corporate space, I learned firsthand the effect that employee engagement, happiness, and retention has on organizations. When I jumped ship without a lifejacket into the unchartered waters of entrepreneurship, I found the intersection of fear and fearlessness, failures and successes...and have never felt more empowered. For this reason, my mission is to help unselfishly ambitious business leaders and their organizations develop cultures of empowerment and engagement.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

I believe there are three main qualities that would make someone successful in my line of work -

- Authenticity - When you own your uniqueness, the notion of competition disappears. An entrepreneur or intrapreneur (an employee operating with an entrepreneurial mindset) needs to understand and articulate the value of their offering.

- Resilience - Learning to embrace and accept fear and failure is paramount to success. Experiencing fear, but moving forward anyway is the road to fearlessness. You will not know what success is if you have not failed at something. All go hand-in-hand.

- Confidence - None of us is born with any particular set of skills other than raw survival. Put more emphasis on confidence than pre-existing skillset. Having a skills is definitely important, but be confident enough to know that you have the ability to learn anything you put your mind to. Life and business are about forward movement. Move forward and learn as you go.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I spent 25 years in financial services, primarily in the corporate space. I started out as an intern in college and then formally started my career in a branch office before moving from the Midwest to the East coast to pursue a corporate career.

The bulk of my corporate career was in the areas of sales/marketing and wealth management product development, utilizing vehicles such as separately managed accounts, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds.

I steadily climbed the slippery slope of the corporate ladder until gradually, I realized that my fire had been all but extinguished and lulled into complacency by a perceived sense of comfort and security. I had two pivotable conversations with colleagues over the course of a 5 year period that snapped me back into owning my power and authenticity. It was then that the seed of a personal and professional development entrepreneurial venture was planted.

I made the shift to full-time entrepreneurship with a vision to help those who are my former avatar own their authenticity, use their voice and catalyze their greatness.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Humor, smiles, and laughter are integral to my work. Joy goes with every outfit you wear and in every meeting you attend. At the end of the day, I want my clients to be comfortable in the skin that they are in knowing that their is only one of them in a world of 7.5 billion. How awesome is that!

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I want citizens of the world to know that each of us was born into greatness. Our power is limitless, as our vision should be. Our legacy is directly tied to how we help one another and leave the world a better place.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

Three things that make this entrepreneurship journey a great fit for me -

- Freedom - It is addicting. I don't think my brain has ever worked as hard or I have learned as much career-wise, but each and every decision I make is intentional in a way that I had not felt before.

- Dismantling of the status quo - I am not a risk-taker, but a faith-taker. I may not be able to see the ground in front of me, but I am willing to take the next step anyway having faith that I will be supported.

- Humanity - Personal and professional development is only successful if you are able to see the humanity in others. At its core, it is one human connecting to another. Plain and simple.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

My superpower is my ability to help others see the greatness in themselves.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

My best career "advice" interestingly enough was one of the most negative encounters I have ever experienced in my career journey, or in my life, really. The president of my division at the time blatantly and directly verbally attacked me personally. It knocked me off my center and affected me to the core. I am grateful for that conversation because it was then that I finally realized I was designed for greater. The birthing process is painful, but necessary.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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