While attending the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Mandy Kelley thought she wanted to be a financial planner. But after a few months in that field, the Crossett native knew she wanted to pursue another path. She was first drawn to marketing, then owned a catering business and eventually brought her talent to the chambers of commerce in Little Rock and now in Hot Springs.
For four years, she worked in membership development with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and earned national Bronze Lifetime Achievement sales awards from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives after two years.
Her experience there made her realize that she loved that industry and wanted to be there for a long time, she says. Lately, the economic development side of the chamber is what is most exciting to her.
"The chamber world is exciting," she says. "It's exciting to hear about new businesses or restaurants or a company bringing in 230 jobs. That kind of stuff is what fuels my energy."
Kelley has volunteered with the Humane Society, Upward Basketball and Riverfest, among other organizations. She was president of the Arkansas chapter of the Sales & Marketing Executives International in 2008 and 2009.