As Chief Operating Officer, Kelly oversees Facilities, IT, Marketing & Communications, Operations and People & Culture. Kelly is a member of the executive team at the Center and is responsible for the internal operations to ensure the Center continues to thrive after transformational growth in 2021. A passionate education advocate, Kelly Powers has dedicated her career to leading innovative work to positively impact young children and families.
Prior to the Carole Robertson Center, Kelly served as the Executive Director of VOCEL, an early childhood education non-profit she co-founded in 2013. Under Kelly’s leadership, VOCEL grew from an early-stage start-up working with 18 children to a well-established organization in the early learning sector deploying programs in 17 community areas across Chicago. Prior to founding VOCEL, Kelly’s career included teaching 1st & 2nd grade in St. Louis; coaching teachers in CBOs and elementary schools across Chicago; and managing a team of educational coaches at Teach For America.
Early in her career, Kelly realized the tremendous impact quality early learning experiences provide to children and has she has remained committed to leading in organizations that focus on delivering exemplary programming to children, youth and families. A native of the Chicago suburbs, with a deep commitment to equity and justice, Kelly believes in the potential of each child and works daily to ensure that a child’s zip code is not the determinant of their educational opportunity or trajectory. Kelly is a graduate of University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business where she earned her MBA with concentrations in Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship, Managerial & Organizational Behavior and Operations Management. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of Neubauer Civic Scholars at Booth. During her undergraduate career, Kelly was a Hunt Leadership Scholar at SMU where she earned her BA in Communications & English.