Employee Spotlight: Kelly Clay

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Kelly Clay joined our team earlier this year and hit the ground running on two of our COVID-19 projects with the CDC. With her 20-plus years in health communication and health education, she has been an invaluable asset to our team and to the projects. Let’s learn a little more about this mother of two.

Q: What is your position and what do you do?

My title is Health Communications Specialist. I provide health communication and technical assistance, strategic direction, at this time, for two of Karna’s COVID-19 related projects. My background is in immunizations, health education and health communications.

Q: What has been your favorite project at Karna and why?

This seems like a trick question from one of my boys. Just as I say to my kids – I equally enjoy all of my projects for different reasons. 

Q: What have you gained from working at Karna? 

Karna has been a fantastic experience thus far. I work with so many talented peers from various backgrounds. Karna leadership is stacked with really smart folks who enjoy what they do and know what they are doing. For those reasons, I’m excited to be a part of the larger Karna team and learn from everyone I have the opportunity to work with. 

Q: What do you do to stay fit/healthy?

During the week, I spend a good amount of time waiting for my younger son at his various sport practices. It’s a year-round waiting game. I use the time to listen to my favorite songs, sing, and walk. I probably walk approx. 10-15 miles a week. 

My favorite way to stay active and healthy is to practice yoga. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I have not been in a yoga studio since March 2020.  

Q: Do you have a tip for coping with stress? 

My tip is to do whatever makes you happy, increases your endorphins and brings you back to your center. 

Q: Where is your hometown?

I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I attended college, started my career, and started my family in Maryland. Most recently, I’ve landed in the Atlanta area. But I would consider Maryland to be my “hometown.” Wonderful life-long memories were created there. 

Q: What did you want to be growing up?

As a kid, I dreamed of being a singer. There was no real reason for this goal as I cannot sing. Not at all! I just love the joy that comes from connecting emotionally to an awesome song. I sing as loud as I can anytime a good song comes on – while cooking, while walking, while driving, etc.  You may even catch me singing in my office. My apologies in advance if you hear me singing. 

Q: You’re happiest when?

I’m happiest when my house is full of noise. Sounds funny but I love it when my boys are in their rooms laughing and talking loudly with friends and the dogs are running around. Everyone is happy, so that makes me happy. 

Q: What is something most people don’t know about you? 

My favorite color is pink. 

Q: Anything you would like to add or say to help your colleagues and clients know you a little better? 

I really enjoy what I do. Public health is more than just a job for me. It’s my passion. My first job was at the age of 15 working as an intern for the University of Pennsylvania. I was assigned to a researcher studying the correlation between the loss of smell and early onset of Alzheimer’s. I conducted literature reviews the old fashion way – going to the library, making copies of journal articles and reading microfiche. That’s what I did on Friday nights as a 15 year old. It was so cool to me. I’ve been exploring the different aspects of the sciences and public health ever since.

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