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March 2, 2021 | International Women’s Day Spotlight: Rosemary Kelly

This article is part of a blog series celebrating International Women’s Day and highlighting the incredible female members of our executive leadership team. Within it, they share insights about their own careers and what it means to them to make an impact in their positions. We could not be more grateful for their dedication and passion for making Wellbox even better.

 

Rosemary Kelly, Chief Financial Officer

Rosemary has more than 20 years of experience as an executive leader with high-growth, start-up healthcare ventures whose business spanned the entire spectrum of the healthcare delivery system. Her comprehensive experience within these companies includes executive leadership of finance, operations, and marketing. She was an instrumental part of the team that took one company from $2 million to $500 million in revenue over a five-year period, achieving the designation of Inc. Magazine’s #2 fastest growing company in America for two years in a row.

 

Describe three characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business. 

It is hard to pick three, but I think these characteristics have helped me the most:

 

What are some of the challenges facing women in leadership? 

Every year for the last six years, McKinsey & Co has published a “Women in the Workplace” study.  I look forward to reading the results every year. The study published in 2020 outlined some challenges that I feel are worth repeating here.

Despite gains women have made in leadership, for every 100 men promoted to Manager in 2020, only 85 women were promoted. The following statistic is most disturbing to me and should be for all women: The COVID-19 pandemic could set women back half a decade. As many as two million women are considering leaving the workforce due to the challenges created by COVID. All the progress we have made as women over these last years could be erased because of this pandemic!

For example, many research studies show senior-level women are more likely than their male counterparts to embrace employee-friendly policies and programs as well as champion racial and gender diversity. In addition, it is well documented that share price and company profits can be close to 50% higher when women are well represented at the top.

Making senior-level women roles more sustainable and having a degree of flexibility is going to be critical as companies face the path forward to deal with this incredible pending crisis!

 

What is an accomplishment you are proudest of?

I was part of a team that grew a company over a 5-year span from $2 million in revenue to $500 million in revenue. We also grew from 20 employees to 11,000 in that same time frame. That was an incredible experience. I am proud and certainly honored to have participated in it.

Beyond that, when I think back on my career, I am personally proud of the impact I had on the people on my team. I enjoy pushing people outside their comfort zones and seeing them grow beyond what they thought they could do.  I can think of three or four people in particular who rose to roles they never dreamed of because of the mentoring I gave them and pushing them to believe in themselves.

I love that and am really proud of it.

 

What advice would you give women starting in a male-dominated industry?

Although it is definitely better now for females in the workplace, we still have a way to go. For example, we have hit a record-high of 37 female CEOs running Fortune 500 companies.

Ladies, find a mentor. I did not do this early in my career and if I could go back and change something, it would be that.  I think having a (male or female) mentor – someone you trust and can bounce ideas off – will help incredibly in navigating your own career. It can also help in dealing with the emotional ups and downs, particularly in a male-dominated industry.

Be confident in yourself. Even if you don’t completely feel that way inside, don’t display it outwardly.  You have as much, if not more, to offer as your male counterparts and you have every right to be at the table. Trust that.

Know your stuff. There is no better way to earn the respect of your colleagues – male or female – if you invest the time to really know what you are talking about. Pay close attention, take notes, read in your downtime, and keep growing!

 

If you could start your career all over again, what would you do differently?

I mentioned it previously, but I would seek out a mentor who I could keep throughout my career. I did not do this, and I think if I had, I would have advanced more quickly or perhaps reduced the number of mistakes in choices that I made. It is my #1 advice!

 

Related Resource: Thoughts from Our Leaders: Wellbox Celebrates Five Years

When we celebrated Wellbox’s five-year anniversary, we reached out to our incredible leadership team to share our history and the progress we’ve made. Read their responses here.

 

We could not be more grateful to have such a wonderful leader like Rosemary at Wellbox. Her incredible perspective and commitment to our goals truly make a difference and helps us reach even more people with our solutions. Thank you for everything you do Rosemary!