Mary Kelley

Productive Leaders Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret., CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

Leadership Matters Most during Crisis, Challenge, and Change


Commander/Dr. Mary Kelly, US Navy (retired) spent 25 years of active duty in the Navy. She was a military professor at the Naval Academy and a civilian professor at the Air Force Academy. She learned lessons in leadership in the first and second gulf wars and during 911. She uses real-world military and industry examples that resonate with participants.

From her days as a naval intelligence officer to her role as one of today’s most influential economists, Commander/Dr. Mary C. Kelly has carved out an unforgettable career in leadership. Former chief of police, professor, realtor and HR Director – Mary has spent over 25 years teaching and training more than 40,000 military and civilian personnel. Mary is now on a mission to spread her message of success with audiences worldwide, sharing with them the secrets to being a true leader in today’s workplace.

A high-energy keynote speaker, Mary is focused on using research, laughter, and experience to show professionals how to excel. Mary’s relatable, no-nonsense approach inspires audiences to embrace their roles, surpass their goals, and plan for the future.

Mary is the author of 15 books on business growth, leadership, and today’s economy. She is a speaker, coach, and trainer who has worked with hundreds of organizations and companies across the globe.

  • Futurenomics: The Economic Snapshot You Need to See Today
  • In Case of Emergency, Break Glass!
  • Navigating Turbulence: Leadership For Guiding Teams Through Crisis, Challenge, and Change
  • P.I.V.O.T.: How to Lead Teams through Crisis, Challenge, and Change
  • Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy
  • Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success
  • A.R.M.E.D. (Recruit and Retain Quality Employees)

“In a world where we are given infinite choices for how to receive information, I would choose Mary’s style 10 out of 10 times!”
Women’s Financial Summit

ON behalf of LIMRA, LOMA, and the SOA, I want to thank you for speaking at the DI & LTC Insurers’ Forum in Florida. Your session received excellent reviews. In fact, your presentation was mentioned as a highlight of the conference with comments like the following:
– “Terrific. Informational and motivating in both professional and family environments.”
– “Mary Kelly’s presentation was a highlight. Very enjoyable.”
– “Mary was very motivated and her real life experiences helped make all her points. Wonderful presentation.”

We especially want to thank you for your professionalism, excellent preparation, and your willingness to share your expertise. Our audience expects very high caliber speakers, and you exceeded their expectations. Thank you again for contributing the success of the DI & ITC Insurers’ Forum.

Donna Ericson
Conference Consultant, LIMRA

Mary speaks to 100+ organizations a year and has worked with organizations such as AMC Institute, National Association of REALTORS, HealthOne, U.S. Air Force, LPL Financial and today we are so excited to welcome Mary Kelly to the stage here at the Health Alliance Brokers 2023 Summit.

Travels From:  Texas
City: Dallas
$15,001 to $20,000


Mary at a Glance

Mary Kelly is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and spent over 20 years on active duty in intelligence and logistics. She retired from the Navy as a commander. She has master’s degrees in history and economics, and a PhD in economics.

Mary Kelly has EXPERIENCE, and it’s this experience that helps your executives and your audiences change the way they view crises, challenges, and changes. Mary turns obstacles into opportunities.

Mary was a professor for over 30 years, and she loves helping others navigate the economy, build their businesses, become even better leaders, and accomplish more in less time. Combining inspirational military and corporate stories, unforgettable energy, and a little comedy, Mary delivers customized and memorable programs every time!

Keynote Speaker

high-energy keynote speaker, Mary is focused on using research, laughter, and experience to show professionals how to excel. Mary’s relatable, no-nonsense approach inspires audiences to embrace their roles, surpass their goals, and plan for the future.
Mary speaks to 100+ organizations a year and has worked with organizations such as AMC Institute, National Association of REALTORS, HealthOne, U.S. Air Force, LPL Financial and many more.

Best-selling author

Mary is the author of 15 books on business, leadership, and economics. Her most recent books, Better in 52 Weeks, The Five Minute Leadership Guide, and Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy. Mary has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, MENSA, Men’s Magazine, and thousands of additional media outlets.


Education / Awards

  • B.S. in History from the United States Naval Academy
  • M.A. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma
  • M.A. in History from the University of Hawaii
  • Ph.D. in Economics from Greenwich University
  • ABD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii
  • American Economics Association
  • National Speakers Association Magazine Editorial Chair
  • National Speakers Association, CO Member of the Year 2015
  • 2020 Top 50 Keynote Speaker
  • Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE)
    Speaker Hall of Fame
  • Certified Speaking Profession (CSP)
  • Certified Virtual Presenter
  • Navy League Leadership Award
  • US Air Force Academy Outstanding Educator
  • US Air Force Academy Instructor of the Year
  • 5th Most Influential Media Person in Colorado
  • Veteran Business Owner of the Year
  • 56th World’s Most Influential Economist


Leaders develop stronger strategies, better decisions, and achieve faster results when they understand economic forces. Changes in interest rates, imports, investments, housing trends, trade, and tariffs…do today’s news headlines have your stomach in knots?
What do the changes in the current economy mean for your business?

What do they mean for your own career?

What do they mean for your family?

Join Dr. Mary Kelly, one of the world’s most influential economists, as she exposes the true meaning of the current economic situation and what this means for your organization’s future.

  • Learn to operate and make decisions from facts and data, not emotions
  • Understand what the changes in international trade mean for your industry
  • Gain a valuable understanding of today’s economy to improve profits and safeguard your businesses’ bottom line
  • Prepare your team for what is to come in 2025 and beyond

A systematic and humorous program to organize important life documents.

5 out of 5 people surveyed discovered that none of us are going to live forever.
If something catastrophic happened to you today, would your family know what to do?

Would your office staff know what actions to take?

If you had to evacuate, could you grab all of your important paperwork in less than 30 seconds?

The reality is no one wants to think about the time when they are not around. No one ever thinks anything tragic is going to happen to them.

Great leaders need to make sure they are personally prepared, that their families are protected, and that their employees have their important life documents in order.

Can we do all of this in less than an hour? Yes!
Can Mary guide us through what we need to know? Yes!
Can it be funny and entertaining? Yes!

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand and assemble an organized system of life paperwork, including letters of instruction, wills, trusts, health care directives, insurance, and end-of-life planning with Mary’s In Case of Emergency, Break Glass! workbook.
  • Assess the needs of a personal business plan that does not involve you.
  • Design a legacy plan that encompasses your business’s specific needs and protects your family.
  • Get the important paperwork and critical information in ONE place so your personal representative can start right away working on your behalf and protesting everything you work for.
  • Less than 40.% of Americans have a current will, and a will is only the beginning. Don’t be left unprepared!

“Navigating Turbulence” equips leaders with the skills, strategies, and resilience needed to steer their teams through times of crisis, overcome challenges, and embrace change.
Strategic Leadership During Crisis
t Refine the art of strategic decision-making under pressure.
t Develop crisis communication skills that inspire confidence and maintain team morale.
t Understand successful crisis management across various industries.
Build Resilient and Happy Teams During Challenges
t Recognize the psychological dynamics of resilience and its impact on team performance.
t Foster a culture of adaptability and innovation within your team.
t Implement strategies to bolster individual and collective resilience.
t See what happy workplaces are doing right and adapt those techniques.
Embrace Change Management
t Master the principles of effective change leadership.
t Use Mary’s toolkit for leading teams through organizational transitions.
t Gain insights into how to manage resistance.
Using the acronym, P.I.V.O.T. leaders reinvigorate their teams with a sense of purpose; they are prepared to inspire and influence others every day, they assess volatile situations in the right way, they see opportunities when others see only problems, and make sure their teams have the tools, techniques, training, and tactics they need to succeed.

This program is for executives, managers, and leaders across industries committed to enhancing their leadership skills and guiding their teams through the complexities of crisis, challenge, and change.

Included in this program is Mary’s vault of materials, which includes:

  • The Leader’s Blind Spot Assessment ($197 value)
  • The 12-Month Business Success and Accountability Planner ($49.95)
  • 2024 Succession Planning Trends White Paper
  • 15 Curated 5-Minute Solutions
  • Generate Ideas. Focus on Solutions. Be Productive. (book)
  • Resiliency: 7 Skills to Bounce Back During Tough Times (book)
  • Dealing With Uncertainty Crisis, and Change (book)
  • How to Manage Difficult People (book)
  • How to Manage Difficult People (workbook)
  • Successful Leader’s Checklist (workbook)

Do your people understand the six stages of a crisis?

Do your leaders recognize the stage their people are in and do they react appropriately?

Are your leaders leading, or just hoping for the right outcomes?

t Understand the six stages of any change, challenge, or crisis.
t Implement the five ways to P.I.V.O.T. through the crisis.
t Use the seven leadership reminders to lead out of a crisis.
In order to successfully lead people through and out of a crisis, first, we have to understand the 6 stages of the crisis. Based on her Navy experiences during the first and second Gulf Wars and 9-11, Commander Mary Kelly articulates the reactions of people in various stages of change, challenge, or crisis.

As effective leaders, we have to be able to help our people P.I.V.O.T. through the crisis, by renewing their sense of purpose, influencing and inspiring others to take the right action, assessing the volatility levels, seeing the opportunities, providing the right tools, techniques, and technology that allow people to succeed. Then we can apply Mary’s seven leadership reminders, using the acronym C.L.A.M.P.E.R. so that we are providing the right response to the right people at the right time to achieve the right outcomes.

We have all seen the news where the head of a very visible corporation suddenly becomes sick, or worse, dies, throwing the organization into chaos. We need to have contingency plans in place for a sudden senior-level departure, but we also need a long-term, strategic plan that includes the routine and scheduled departure of team members. Whether due to promotion, retirement, or other factors, the reality is, people leave organizations. One day you will, too.

Every organization needs to plan for leadership succession, but few leaders know how to start the process. This program, based on the award-winning book, Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy simplifies the succession planning process and gives you the framework and the tools you need to build and implement your leadership succession planning.

Whether you are part of a small family business or a Fortune 500 company, you need to start planning out for who comes next.

Specifically, this program identifies:

  • How to start a customized succession plan ready for immediate incorporation and implementation
  • Proven methodologies for building your leadership bench so top talent can step into increased roles and responsibilities
  • Powerful techniques to build long, loyal, and highly-engaged leaders
  • Secrets to aligning your succession plan to your strategic objectives
  • Innovative strategies to get you out of the “urgent” phase, and into a culture of continuous leadership development

Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success is a corporate training and conference keynote that is based on data and delivered in a way that entertains and engages audiences of all levels.
Great leadership, if you are doing it right, is hard. Being a great leader is more than just showing up, going through the motions, sitting in the big chair, and getting paid.

Great leaders are always thinking about how they can become even better for their organizations, their people, and themselves. Our goal with this research was to identify areas where great leaders can become even better.

  • We surveyed over 100,000 employees in over 70 different industries. We asked a variety of questions, such as
  •  “What gets in the way of you doing your job more effectively?”
  •  “What could leadership do at your organization that would help you be more productive?
  •  “What tools or training do you need so that you can function more efficiently?”

And delved into specific frustrations:

  • “Have you ever seen a really good person be promoted to a leadership position and struggled?”
  •  “Why did they struggle?”
  • “What does your leadership do that frustrates you?”
  • “What are your leaders and managers doing that cause them to sabotage their own success, even though they may have the best of intentions?”

We gathered the data and then categorized it into seven critical areas which define successful leaders. The 7 critical areas are Vision, Trust, Teamwork, Empathy, Fairness, Humility, and Decision-making.

In this highly engaging and deeply effective book and program, leaders will gain insights to:

  • Understand why your top talent is not performing up to their top potential
  • Learn specific actions that lead to both short-term and long-term success
  • Control and manage how you are perceived by your team, your peers, and your leadership
  • Identify small actions that sabotage the loyalty and productivity of the people around you

Using the 7 Prescriptions for Success Assessment, leaders are able to focus their energies on the activities that maximize their time and resources.

This program comes with a vault of materials that includes:

  • The 7 Prescriptions for Success course handout
  • The 7 Prescriptions for Success workbook
  • The 7 Prescriptions for Success Assessment
  • The 12-Month Business Success and Accountability Planner
  • The 90-Day Business Bootcamp Project Management tool
  • Resiliency: 7 Skills to Bounce Back During Tough Times and more!

More than 45% of today’s workforce are millennials. Ten thousand boomers are retiring each day. There are three million vacant job opportunities in the US.

Companies are in a race to secure the right talent that will ensure their business survives the shifting workforce. Team leaders are navigating the new ways of the workplace…. remote work, less direct communication, employee loneliness, and dissatisfaction. It’s a brave new world and you’ve got to be A.R.M.E.D.

In one of Mary’s most popular keynotes, you’ll learn to:

  • Attract the right customers and people to your organization
  • Recruit/Retain the right talent to serve customers and create experiences
  • Mentor/Manage current and emerging leaders to full potential
  • Evolve forward-thinking leadership as the corporate culture
  • Develop teams and talent for future success

Areas of expertise

  • Change Management
  • Corporate Training
  • Leadership Development
  • Executive Coaching
  • Team Building
  • Business Consulting
  • Financial Services
  • Economics
  • Banking

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