Learn more about Kelley, as she opens up about her relationship with her grandmother and why she's so motivated to succeed.

1. Knowing what you know now, what is one piece of advice you would give to a younger you?

One piece of advice I would give a younger me is to enjoy every moment. I know, I know, it sounds cliché, but time flies. All too often we are trying to record a performance at a concert instead of just taking it all in and enjoying every second of it. We hide behind bright, little screens instead of taking just a second to look up and see who and what is around us. There will always be another time and another hour to work, but those little times that you spend with people that are important to you are times that you can never get back.

2. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world tomorrow, who would it be and why?

If I could have lunch with anyone in the world tomorrow, it would be my Nani (my grandma). She passed away when I was a freshman in high school. To this day, she is still one of the most influential figures in my life. She was filled with grace and wisdom. She was always defying the odds. She was a strong woman who knew the value of hard work and could stand on her own two feet. She also knew the importance of knowing that you didn’t always have to stand alone. She had a passion for travel and always had one bag packed. She never regretted one thing in her life because she never left anything unsaid or a moment un-lived to the fullest. She passed along many values and a mindset that I still live by today.

3. What is your biggest motivation to succeed and live the life you want to live?

I want to make a difference that is bigger than me. My brother always tells me, “So many people live every day just to be average. Don’t be one of them.” So every day, I wake up with the determination to make something of myself for the hope that it inspires others around me to do the same.

4. What is your biggest fear and how have you overcome it?

My biggest fear is being inadequate; that the work I do won’t be valuable or won’t make as big of an impact as I had hoped. However, my dad taught me a very important lesson at a young age: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s all a matter of mindset and your mindset is contagious. So I’ve learned not to be my own worst enemy, but rather my own best asset.

5. What is one defining moment that has made you who you are today?

When I was 14, I had a teacher tell me that I would never be successful. Being a fairly successful student up to that point, I had never had anyone doubt me as a person or a student. From that point forward, I made a promise to myself that no one would ever be able to say that to me ever again. So everyday, I push myself to be better, think bigger, and strive farther.

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