Kelly Flannery: President and CEO, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce

20 Questions With ...

Kelly Flannery is president and chief executive officer for the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Community Support Council for MacDill Air Force Base and the City of Tampa Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee. She serves on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida and is the West Central Regional Chair for the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals.

College alma mater? 

I am a proud alumna of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and minors in theater and communications. Go Noles!

Last book you read? 

I am currently reading “Intergenerational Engagement: Understanding the Five Generations in Today’s Economy,” which I bought after hearing a live presentation by author Dillon Kalkhurst at a recent conference. For fun, I like mysteries and thrillers and tend to binge read series through the Kindle app.

Last place you vacationed?

We had two great vacations this summer! We took my parents to Alaska on a cruise for their 25th anniversary, and then I spent two weeks unplugged with my husband in Europe. We visited Amsterdam, Bruges, and the Champagne Region of France.

PC or Mac? 

While I love my iPhone and iPad, I can’t wrap my head around the Mac operating system.

5 Guilty-pleasure food?
Pasta! My no.1 favorite dish EVER is the butternut squash mezzaluna from Bella’s on South Howard.

We’ll find you on the weekend?
I am on the go 12-plus hours a day during the work week, so weekends are my time to rejuvenate and relax. I am fiercely protective of prioritizing time with my husband, family and friends, many who live in our same neighborhood. My perfect Saturday night is a bottle of wine shared with friends on our back porch.

Biggest fear?
Failure. But it’s also a necessary part of personal growth and learning. It would be impossible to truly appreciate your wins if you have never experienced a loss.

Proudest moment?
It was an honor to give the commencement address for South University this past spring. I did not attend my own college graduation ceremony, so it was very exciting to have the opportunity to share that special moment with the 2018 Tampa grads.

Dream dinner companion?
My husband and I are going through the adoption process right now and I can’t wait for family dinners at home with our future kids.

10 Any pets?
We adopted our pup, Zoey, from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay five years ago and I simply cannot imagine our lives without her. She brings so much joy and love to our home.

11 Who did you last text?
There is a never-ending group text with my “PHS Girls.” We graduated from Henry B. Plant High School 20 years ago and have maintained our friendships over the years.

12 What is your cellphone wallpaper image? Zoey. Seeing her photo makes me smile no matter what kind of day I am having.

13 What do you listen to in the car? Depending on my mood, I bounce between country, 80s and 90s, but mostly I use time in the car to return phone calls.

14 What is your go-to drink order?
During the day a sparkling water with lime. After hours, a cabernet.

15 Favorite candy?
Starburst jelly beans. I don’t buy them because I will eat the whole bag in one sitting!

16 Do you suffer from Primesia*? 

I have made a commitment to #ShopLocal whenever I can. I do love Prime when I need something out of the ordinary or hard to find, like when I needed to purchase a heavy winter coat in the middle of the summer.

17 Pool or beach? 

Always the beach. The sound of crashing waves can slow my active mind in minutes.

18 Charity you support?
I am incredibly proud of my work as a board member for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls. We launched our Camp CEO program two years ago and it has been exciting to see the impact of the program on high school Girl Scouts right here in our community.

19 Favorite childhood memory?
As an only child, I LOVED holidays with my large extended family! Easter egg hunts in my grandparents back yard, Thanksgiving dinner at my parent’s house, and Christmas Eve surrounded by my cousins.

20 Words of advice? 

Work hard because success is not free. There is no “one size fits all” for success. Success is the result of hard work, determination, persistence, experiencing failure, learning from it and trying again.

*Primesia is the act of ordering from Amazon and forgetting about it.

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