Louisville values its young professionals, enough so to support an entire organization devoted to the development of young talent, the Young Professionals Association of Louisville. The 20-something woman at the helm, Ann Marie Kelly, has been the executive director of this organization for a year and a half, leading the charge with her exuberant, but approachable, personality and professionalism. As you can see from the photos below, her laugh and big smile come easy to this Louisville native, and today, we’re thrilled to have her as our FACE of Louisville.
How did you get involved with YPAL?
Several years before I worked for YPAL, I decided I wanted to become a member. I wanted to get more involved in our community. I started to come to events and then joined the entertainment committee. Then I applied for the three-month leadership program, The Emerging Leaders Program. While I was in the program, YPAL was hiring an executive director, and the rest is history.
What does YPAL do for young Louisvillians? Why is it an asset to our community?
YPAL seeks to provide a platform for young professionals to connect, engage and develop with each other while introducing them to the community as a whole. Not only does it bring together our younger professionals, but it puts them in touch with local business leaders. YPAL helps Louisville retain young talent!
Who is the typical YPAL member?
A 25- to 30-year-old young professional looking to become more involved with their community. Any and all career paths are welcome!
What is the hardest part of your job? And what is the easiest?
There are a lot of people, events and moving parts involved in this wonderful organization. So keeping everyone communicating and on the same page is key to the success of this group and the hardest part of the job. The easiest is enjoying the events after they’ve kicked off! The work is done, and now we get to network and enjoy the evening with good people and an adult beverage.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
YPAL usually has about one to two events per week for its members that I help plan. Also, I go to other community events to represent YPAL. My week also has a lot of meetings with board members to finalize plans, work on events, etc. I meet with new sponsors and community partners and see how we can work together to serve Louisville’s young professionals. And, of course, attending the events themselves to ensure all runs smoothly.
I also want to say CrossFit, but I have been lacking lately. I’m hoping putting it in this post will hold me more accountable!
Who are your mentors and what advice do you treasure?
My mentor is my father. He works hard, loves what he does, is respected by many people, is a great community leader, loves to have fun and, above all, puts God first. Another mentor of mine is Rebecca Weis. She was YPAL’s president when I started and hired me. At first, I was a little scared of her. She is a badass (can I say badass?). She is a strong woman leader in our community. She is also an attorney, like my dad. People respect her, and she knows how to get things done. She is decisive, which is something that I am working on. I still reach out to her for advice.
The best piece of advice that I have received: “If you can go out of your way to help someone, you should.”
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my ________.
Is it embarrassing to say eyeliner? I want to say eyeliner.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Most likely trying one of the many new restaurants in town! I want to be a foodie.
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
Cinque Terre, Italy
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Churchill Downs. I grew up going to Churchill a lot of weekends with my family. We love it! The weeks leading to Derby are some of my favorite weeks of the year. Derby is my favorite holiday (other than my birthday).
Are you a night owl or early bird? And what do you do during that quiet time?
Night owl! My roommates would suggest I don’t really know what quiet time is. But if I’m winding down after a long day, it’s probably watching one of my favorite shows on Netflix.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Lightning round! Give us your:
- Candy or junk food splurge: Doritos
- Guilty pleasure song: “Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift
- Tearjerker movie pick: Embarrassing, but probably The Notebook
- Standby nail polish color: Cajun Shrimp—OPI
- Favorite cocktail: Vodka-soda with lime or wine!
- Cartoon alter-ego: Can’t say I have one, probably a Disney princess
A big note of gratitude as always to Adele Reding and her wonderful photography for our FACES articles. Visit Adele’s website at adeleredingphotography.com.