Page 84

FACES OF GIVING Connecting Industr y with Nonprof its

Enduring passion Go-getter Teri Kelley can overcome ‘anything’ to instill spirit into local youth By ALISON BAILIN BATZ

F

inding your way in life can sometimes be hard.  For Teri Twarkins Kelley, she has Girl Scouts to thank for finding her anything and everything in life.  “I started with my Brownie troop in second grade and the courage, confidence and character I learned at even that young age transformed my life,” said Kelley, who would earn a Girl Scout Silver Award – their second highest honor—before she left for college. “With these ‘Three Cs,’ I knew I could do anything.” The first major “anything” she did after Girl Scouts was running Division I track and cross country for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  “Two-a-day workouts and year-round competitions made the college experience very full,” says Kelley, who earned a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations when she wasn’t busy running laps.   The next “anything” took courage not many people have in their early 20s – moving across the country, from her home in the South to Arizona. And doing so based simply on a book. “As a little girl, I read a book about a girl who MAKING A DOFFERENCE: Teri Twarkins Kelley, center with blonde hair, is board chair of the Arizona Cactus-Pine Council of the Girl Scouts, which serves more than 20,000 girls in grades K-12 in the region. PROVIDED PHOTO

82 | AzBusiness Angels

lived in this cool town called Tucson, a city no one in the Southeast really knew at that time, save for perhaps college basketball,” Kelley explains. “So when I graduated, I contacted a friend from Arizona State University I had met in college, who helped me make Arizona my home.” Once she made her way to Arizona, she would embark on her next “anything.” “I got my start in public relations and marketing and then eventually moved on to product management. After I earned my MBA at ASU in the early 2000s, I jumped in head first with a complete career change,” says Kelley, who became a financial advisor for then-

Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley. And she didn’t just become a run-of-themill advisor . She worked her way up to senior vice president and now serves as a corporate retirement plan director. Kelley also dipped her toes back into Girl Scouting, volunteering as a troop leader with the local Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC), which serves more than 20,000 girls in grades K-12 in the region.  “As I tend to do – both literally and figuratively – I took the volunteer position and ran with it, eventually joining the council’s board of directors in 2008,” says Kelley. She would also get back into actually running that same year after being diagnosed with

Profile for AZ Big Media

AzBusiness Angels January-June 2018  

The mission of Az Business Angels is to help create an alliance that will give new hope to nonprofits and inspire businesses to make it thei...

AzBusiness Angels January-June 2018  

The mission of Az Business Angels is to help create an alliance that will give new hope to nonprofits and inspire businesses to make it thei...