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Challenge Becomes Opportunity

July 6, 2020 | 2:36
Turning Challenge into Opportunity

PenFed’s Kelly Clasen wears many hats: Associate VP of Marketing, mom of two, painter, soccer player, and more. In this Women in Leadership segment, she gives us a look inside her busy life and shares how her biggest challenge led her to PenFed.

If we can find the joy and the fun out of what we do every day, that really makes a difference.

I would say the best part of my job is definitely working with my team.

My leadership style is best described through the qualities that I strive to be as a leader.

And some of those qualities are transparency, honesty, just being authentic and true to myself.

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced that really intersects personally and professionally, is years ago I got laid off from a job that I really loved and I was really good at, and I was actually 8-and a-half months pregnant at the time.

I do remember going to an interview 9 months pregnant, and just saying, “You know what, I’m gonna do this because this is what I have to do to just stay focused and kind of keep in that flow.”

I didn’t get that job, but I will have to say after, you know, after having Shane, who’s now 3 years old, it definitely led me in the place I am now.

One thing that’s unique about me is I have pretty deep roots in San Francisco, California.

My great-grandfather actually brought the accordion from Italy to San Francisco, and started a business there.

And he was one of the pioneers in the industry to build upon that.

My other grandfather worked on the docks as a longshoreman right on Pier 19, right down the street from the famous Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf.

So I can learn a lot from both my grandfathers  and the roots I have in San Francisco, including,

just starting out with a dream and taking it all the way through.

Some of my hobbies include playing soccer, so I played in college. I played for Georgetown, and I still try to play once a week on a women’s team.

And lately, my hobbies have really included dance parties with my kids because I don’t have soccer, running kind of gets old sometimes, so it’s a fun way to exercise, get their energy out and keep us all sane.

One hidden talent of mine is, I’d say I paint sometimes.

I was an art major in college.

I love that part of my job actually includes managing the creative team and you know, kind of getting that art and science balance to marketing, which I think is really important.

I use painting definitely as a hobby, but it’s always connected to that, kind of creative, that creative core that defines who I am.


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