Blacktie-Arizona recently spoke with Marion K. Kelly. This warm and genial Director of Community Affairs for Mayo Clinic has always been a volunteer. “ My father was very active in the political realm, so I began by helping him in registering voters. And I also worked in polling places during elections.”
Marion credits his father with the drive and work ethic that has propelled him through an important and engaging career. “My father put in many hours as a laborer, sometimes working three jobs to put all eight of his children through school. And he showed me by example his commitment to community affairs, and that has influenced the path my career has taken.” Marion is pleased that his parents are able to winter here in Arizona.
In his role as Director for the Office of Community Affairs at Mayo Clinic, Marion provides leadership for the organization’s efforts to build solid neighbor, civic and corporate relationships. His sphere of influence includes the entire Southwest region of the United States. Additionally, he is also responsible for institutionalizing diversity as a corporate objective throughout the Mayo Clinic system.
Mr. Kelly has a varied and impressive resume. He has taught elementary education, worked in the United States Senate, and was the Associate Director of Indiana University School of Medicine Admissions Office and Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs at Mayo Medical School. Marion was an appointee in the former Bush White House administration as Special Assistant for At Risk Youth at the United States Department of Labor, and Department of Labor Liaison at the White House.
Today the local Arizona community benefits from Marion’s volunteer service. He has held the position of Chair, Community Celebrating Diversity, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Board, a Wallace Foundation Board member, as well as the Maricopa County Workforce Investment Board.
Presently he is Co-chair of the Diversity Leadership Alliance and does outreach at the Ronald McDonald House, and Mesa Men’s Shelter. Marion is a member of the Gamma Mu Boule Chapter and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.
“ I also invest much time mentoring medical and graduate school students. Sometimes a student just needs counsel and advice to navigate the medical and university system. We’ll soon be hosting a student for 6 weeks here in Arizona while he studies for part I of his medical board exams.”
The Kelly family has lived in the Valley of the Sun for almost nine years now. Marion emphasizes that what he likes best about Arizona is “The 300 days of sunshine we enjoy here! I always feel like I’m on vacation- it’s like living in a resort with the sunshine, the mountains, and the stars out at night.” It’s also an ideal environment for someone whose interests outside of work are “ hiking, biking and really any physical activity.” The Kelly family includes Marion’s wife Francine Ellison Kelly, their three college age children and their Yorkie Terrier, Boots.
What are your volunteer activities? Diversity Leadership Alliance, Ronald McDonald House, Mesa Men’s Shelter.
Which social event is your favorite? Scottsdale Annual Dr. Martin L. King Dinner
Favorite Restaurant? AZ 88 /Arcadia Farms
Who is your hero and why? My father. He put eight of us through school and sometimes worked three jobs to do it.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Tavis Smiley
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Will Smith
What gives a woman/man style Inner strength
Do you have any Pets? Our Dog Boots - A Yorkshire Terrier
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? We were entertainers.
What words describe you best? Practical Leadership
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Warm, engaging, friendly, accommodating, always Christian, faithful, trustworthy.
What was your first job? Dairy Queen counter person
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Trying to be everything to everybody
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Manipulation
What is your greatest indulgence? Dessert
What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? Friendship/Friendship
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My wife
What is your current state of mind? Open minded
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Being a great father and mentoring
What is your most treasured possession? Life
What is the quality you most like in people? Open mindedness
Favorite books / Writers? Favorite Book “ The Five People You Meet in Heaven"; Favorite Author: T. D. Jakes
What is the best advice you have ever received? From my grandfather. "Never let them see you sweat!"