When Kelli Jones interviewed for a position at LEADERship Ashtabula County in the summer of 2018, she was asked where she saw herself in a few years. When Kelli shared that she planned to be the Executive Director of a non profit organization, current Executive Director Laura E. Jones and LEADERship Board members knew they had found the right person.
“Sometimes, people are afraid to retire or leave a long term position because of a lack of succession planning. We were determined to not have that problem.” Laura shared. Kelli came into her role as Program Manager prepared, and is coachable, a team player, and a leader. I have loved working with her.”
After 10 years, Laura E. Jones announced her planned retirement from the organization in June of 2020. In May of 2018, Laura informed the Board of her plans to depart LEADERship with enough time to ensure a smooth transition.
Kelli Jones is an Ashtabula native. After graduating from Sts. John and Paul High School in 2004, she continued on to earn a B.A. from Heidelberg College in International Studies and Political Science with a M.P.A. degree from Kent State University.
“For the past few years, I've had the fortunate opportunity to work alongside Laura to learn more about the organization and our community. I will definitely miss her expertise and knowledge about LEADERship and the wonderful people that support Ashtabula's progress.” said Kelli
After graduation, she began work in communications and development for an international non-profit specializing in promoting safe and controlled use of explosives. She settled in Ashtabula in 2010 with her family and began working the following year for Kent State University at Ashtabula.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of LEADERship’s legacy as the next Executive Director. After working in the non-profit sector for over 12 years, to be able to combine my expertise with my passion to move Ashtabula County forward is incredibly rewarding.”
During this time she became more active with volunteer opportunities within the county and was a LEADERship graduate of 2013. She went on to work in Communications & Marketing at Grand River Academy prior to her role with LEADERship Ashtabula County.
Kelli shared that “The best part of the job is to be a facilitator to help connect individuals throughout the county and to continually learn about what's happening and changing in Ashtabula. Being a graduate of the LEADERship class of 2013 I've been able to see how the community is constantly evolving and shifting and it's exciting to help play a positive role in that progress.”
LEADERship Ashtabula County Board President Vince Gildone echoed Laura’s confidence in Kelli as her successor. “Our entire Board is excited to have Kelli at the helm of the Organization upon Laura’s retirement. We knew right away that she would be an excellent fit. Her vision for LEADERship and commitment to our Mission have the Board’s full support.”
Kelli is currently the Board of Trustees Vice President for the Ashtabula County YMCA. She also participates with the North Coast Women’s Sailing Association out of Edgewater Yacht Club in Cleveland and is a member of the Ashtabula Distance Runners Club. She currently resides in the Ashtabula with her husband Steven, son Robert, and daughter Harper.