Kelly Nash is a principal success manager at software company Salesforce and the founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She’s passionate about growing her own career, as well as helping others navigate their own. Read on to learn her best tips for finding/working with a mentor for career and personal development, and her favorite place in the whole world.

Kelly Nash - Salesforce
Photo courtesy of Kelly Nash.

Tell us about your background and how you got to where you are now. What made you want to pursue that profession/area of focus?

I’ve always had a love of writing, so I went into college confident that I was going to major in journalism. I took one journalism class and immediately realized it wasn’t the right path for me. I instead decided to major in advertising, which I grew extremely interested in. I started my career at an ad agency in Chicago and ultimately made my way into advertising tech at Salesforce a few years later. Working in the tech industry has kept me on my toes and challenges me every day. I love the work that I do, the company I work for, and the people I work with.

As I accelerated in my career, however, I essentially put off writing for a number of reasons. It wasn’t until early 2018 that I realized how much I missed writing and how much I felt like a part of me was missing. To fill that void, I decided to create Lipstick & Ink®, a career and wellness blog and events business, as a resource and community for young female professionals.

Over the years, I’ve grown passionate about the need to serve others and help women navigate their careers. Lipstick & Ink® helps me to not only align with my core values, but gives me a platform to blend my professional and personal life. I feel like I’m at a point where I get the best of both worlds: an incredible job where I can grow professionally and a passion that I believe fuels my purpose.

Working in the tech industry has kept me on my toes and challenges me every day. I love the work that I do, the company I work for, and the people I work with.

What gets you excited to wake up every day?

My passion and drive to impact is really what gets me out of bed every morning. I ultimately want to make a difference and make my mark on this world during my time here. I show up every day and give it my all in my job, L&I, my community and my relationships. I’m energized by creating meaningful, quality connections with others and helping them see the potential they have within themselves. 

What’s the best/most important thing you’ve learned or taught yourself? Why?

The most important thing I’ve learned in my life is to own my power. To me, owning your power means being authentic and confident in who you are and what you can offer, both professionally and personally. It’s about knowing your worth, standing up for yourself, using your voice, setting boundaries, and being unapologetically yourself.

What’s the next thing you’re going to learn or teach yourself? Why?

If I’m being honest, I’d love to teach myself a TikTok dance! I love how much freedom and creativity is on that platform and that’s something I need in my life right now. 2020 has been so heavy and right now, TikTok is an escape for me; I’d love to spend a day learning a dance, rocking it and sharing with my 30 followers (LOL). 

Do you have advice for finding a strong mentor/ building a relationship with one?

I recommend seeking out those you admire and who are in positions or careers you’re interested in. You don’t have to explicitly ask the question of ‘will you be my mentor?’ That’s super awkward; it can be much more casual and natural than that. Work to develop a two-way relationship with them. Be curious and ask questions, but also look to see where you can add value and help them too. Request to meet or have phone calls periodically so you can check in and discuss your successes, struggles and progress.

Favorite resources for ongoing learning?

I’m a big fan of professional and personal development, so naturally much of the online resources, books, and podcasts that I enjoy and benefit from revolve around that. Career Contessa is a phenomenal resource for career related topics that I enjoy reading.

Some of my favorite books are Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Soulbattical by Shelley Paxton. From a podcast perspective, I’ve been loving Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, The SimplyBe. Podcast, and Moxiecast with Mandy Lehto.

Kelly Nash of Lipstick & Ink

What’s your favorite spot where you currently live & why?

There are so many amazing parts of Chicago where I live, but I especially love when I’m outdoors in Lincoln Park. It’s calming for me to walk through the park and see views of the lake and the city. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond is tucked away there too, and every time you walk in, you feel like you’re stepping into an oasis. It also carries special meaning; my husband proposed to me there!

You don’t have to explicitly ask the question of ‘will you be my mentor?’ Work to develop a two-way relationship with them. Be curious and ask questions, but also look to see where you can add value and help them too.

I’m also a big fan of dining out at restaurants (when we’re able to of course!) as I feel that’s when I’m able to both connect with the people I am with and also indulge in Chicago’s food scene. Two of my favorites are Siena Tavern and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba.

Related: check out more Chicago hot spots and things to do in Illinois by reading this guide!

Out of all the places you’ve been, which has been your favorite and why?

The South Island of New Zealand has been, by far, my most favorite place I’ve ever traveled. My husband and I went there on our honeymoon and really got to take in the beauty of nature, solitude, and incredible people there, known as Kiwis. It felt like much of the country had been untouched and it was stunningly beautiful. 

Paris is so far my most favorite city on earth. It’s completely magical to me – the architecture, the food, the culture. I can’t wait until I can go back.

Kelly Nash in Paris, France

All photos courtesy of Kelly Nash.

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