Strategic Search Partner
Kelley O'Brien has over 15 years of experience as a higher education and nonprofit administrator. She has extensive experience helping leaders and organizations implement strategic initiatives by leading and participating in searches for key leaders and connecting organizational priorities with opportunities for partnership and funding.
As director for strategy and innovation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Government, she led efforts in strategic planning, market research, and outcomes measurement. In this role, she also oversaw hiring initiatives to advance the organization’s strategic priorities.
As director of the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium, Kelley built a team of educators and project managers to create and deliver tailored resources to K-12 civic educators. Here, she spearheaded and published the 2010 North Carolina Civic Health Index and 2003 NC Civic Index, the nation’s first statewide study of youth and adult civic engagement. These publications served as the basis for statewide legislation and national replication.
She has a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies, Urban Studies from the University of Georgia. More recently, she has completed the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Executive Program in Innovation and Harvard Division of Continuing Education's Design Thinking Program. Kelley is currently president of the Frank Adoption Center Board of Directors. She has previously served in leadership roles on the Kids Voting North Carolina Board of Directors.
Kelley has taught extensively on grant writing and communications, designing and instructing courses for graduate students and professionals on these topics. She is adjunct faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Government. She currently teaches Professional Communications and Grant Writing. As a grant writer, she has secured more than $4.5 million in public and private grants.