Kelly Veney Darnell is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for The Executive Leadership Council (ELC). Kelly is responsible for providing leadership and overall management direction concerning a wide range of organizational activities including strategic planning, building effective business operations and supporting departmental collaboration initiatives.
Prior to The ELC, Kelly served as COO for United Way of the National Capital, where she led the organization’s operations, including community impact, marketing and communications and fundraising teams.She led the organization’s largest fundraising initiative, Do More 24, the Washington region’s largest giving day, which raised more than $2.2M in 24 hours.
Kelly’s operations experience also includes her tenure as COO for the Washington, D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education. As COO, she led student transportation, procurement, human resources and general operations. She managed over 1,800 employees and a budget of $100 million.
Prior to her operations positions, Kelly served on the transition team for the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch merger, where she was responsible for integrating their market risk programs, and as a Credit Risk Manager in Capital Markets Structured Finance, where she focused on mortgage finance and derivatives. Her mortgage finance experience also includes positions at Fannie Mae and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. In addition, she practiced corporate law at Saul Ewing, LLP.
Kelly has held several political positions including serving as the Federal Affairs Director for the City of Atlanta under the leadership of Mayor Bill Campbell. During her tenure, she created and implemented a federal affairs program in anticipation of the 1996 Olympic Games. She also served as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta and for the Committee on the District of Columbia in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kelly serves on numerous boards including the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, D.C. Bar Foundation and Calvary Women’s Services.She is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous awards including the Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award and the Executive Business Award from SmartCEO. She has testified before the D.C. City Council, California State Legislature, U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Roundtable and the Women in Housing Finance organization.
She received her B.A. in Economics from Spelman College and a Master’s of Public Management degree from the University of Maryland, where she concentrated in Public Sector Financial Management. She received her law degree from the American University, Washington College of Law.