Hi, I'm Kelly Charles-Collins
Depending on where you meet me, you might think I’m two completely different people.
If you met me on a Jamaican beach covered in tattoos laughing, dancing, and enjoying time with my friends and family — you might have one vision of me.
If you met me training executives in a boardroom or standing in a suit addressing a courtroom — you might have a completely different vision of me.
It’s that dichotomy that has led me through my life and career. My contrasting personality and the awareness that minds make generalizations based on first impressions, has led me to a career based on uprooting assumptions about who people are, what is right, and how we can make a difference.
Children are often seen as roadblocks to a path to higher learning and professional success — especially when motherhood comes at an early age. Knowing that made me terrified to tell my family and boss.
But, assumptions are often wrong. My family was incredibly supportive and so was my boss. And me, well…
I embarked on a journey that includes:
- Practicing law as a trial attorney
- Being an adjunct professor at several universities and law school
- Presiding as an international arbitrator
- Earning partnership at two different law firms
- Writing my book: ACE Your Workplace Investigations
- Founding a nonprofit for breast cancer
- Owning several businesses
- Delivering an award-winning TEDx Talk on The Bystander Effect
- Being nominated for Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year
- Founding Ladies Who Leverage, a global community for women
All while watching my son grow into a brilliant, compassionate man.
And I’m just beginning …
I’ll be the first to say it wasn’t easy. There were a lot of challenges — and I had to look at life differently to see a way past them.
I realized that what was “normal” for many moms or working lawyers wasn’t going to work for me. I couldn’t fit a superficial stereotype. I needed to create my own way of doing things.
Thankfully, I’m not one to shy away from going against the norm or tearing down assumptions to see things as they really are or for what they can be.
The truth is that at times we all have a problem seeing what’s real and what’s possible because of the blurry lens of bias, stereotypes, and superficial assumptions.
I’ve witnessed first-hand what problems bias and indifference can create, and more importantly — I’ve seen what opportunities can arise when you disrupt bias and stand up, speak up, and act up.
After 20+ years of working in courtrooms fighting for employment rights, working with leaders to build safe, inclusive and harmonious cultures, and personally experiencing bias, I am committed to disrupting unconscious bias and advocating bystander intervention.
Fun facts about Kelly, kelz, kC
♥ Born in Kingston, Jamaica.
♥ Have tattoos. Yes plural.
♥ Managed my son’s hip-hop group and sang the hook on one of his songs.
♥ Owned a wedding and event planning business and was voted Best Wedding Planner in Atlanta.
♥ Was Mrs. Fulton County, Georgia.
♥ Daughter of a breast cancer survivor.
♥ Born on my dad’s birthday.
♥ College at 16. Law school on a whim.
♥ Hates vegetables. Milk is not even an option. Carbs are my lifeline.
♥ Favorite poem is “The Dash.”
♥ LOVE shopping for clothes and shoes. #girlneedsasponsor
♥ Enjoys dancing. Watch me do the HR Shuffle.