Kelly entered private practice as a communications consultant in 1989, after serving in the office of Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich as press secretary and communications director to Lt. Governor Marlene Johnson, the first woman to hold that office in state history.
Since 1992, Kelly has served as lead communications counsel to the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA), widely recognized as one of the most active and effective tribal associations in Indian country. In that role, she has managed the association's web site and internet communications, message development, research and polling, and community outreach efforts.
An experienced media relations expert, Kelly also provides media training and speech writing for business and government officials and corporate leaders who serve as spokespeople for their organizations.
In 2013, Kelly was appointed to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians in Santa Ysabel, CA. As a member of the EDA Board of Directors from 2013 to 2017, she assisted the Band in identifying and pursuing business development opportunities, securing grant funding for business development efforts, and purchasing property to expand the tribe's land base. She continues to provide consultation services in support of the Band's community and economic development efforts.
Kelly is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota in English and speech/communications.