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Kelly Smith, graduate of the class of 2007, returned last week to talk about her whirlwind of a career post-Emmanuel at the Israeli Consulate, and her time now as Deputy Press Secretary for the MBTA. Kelly was all smiles in the glass room of the JYC as she shared her journey from a little freshman Saint to a woman who interacts with the likes of the President of the United States all in the name of her job.
Kelly came to Emmanuel as a Global Studies major, and she explained that her first class with Dr. Martin- Intro to International Relations- inspired her to focus on the Middle East in college. Outside of the classroom, Kelly was a part of Emmanuel’s intramural volleyball team, Political Forum, and a service group. She shared that as a little rebellion against her very Democratic family, she also became the Vice President of the Republican club.
“That was my first experience being a minority,” Kelly said with a laugh, as it would foreshadow her time at the Consulate as oftentimes the youngest and only non-Jewish female in the room.
Following college, Kelly interned at the Israeli Consulate. After years of “jumping in the deep end” at every opportunity offered to her, Smith was performing basically every role possible at the Consulate, as Head of Press & Political Affairs, Director of Political Affairs, and Interim Academic Affairs Officer at the Consulate General of Israel to New England.
How did she find herself moving up and up in the political world? Kelly cites her method of never hesitating and always saying yes as her root of success. She advises us undergrads to “always let yourself be exposed,” and through that exposure never hesitate to introduce yourself. She believes the common thread that has strung from event to event in her career comes down to connections with other people.
After six years in an unpredictable career, the spontaneity of the political world hit Kelly on her last day at the Consulate, as on her ride to give her two weeks notice, Israel started bombing Gaza. There probably couldn’t have been a worse time to leave, but she was already on another path.
Today, she is the Deputy Press Secretary for the MBTA.
“People ask me all the time,” She said with a smile, “Are you ever gonna work for something people like?”
She shares that news of Government Center closing down has inspired bouts of anger in Bostonians, and the Twitter account she manages for the MBTA is always sure to receive complaint tweets about slow service. Still, Kelly is loving her work for the company, and since starting in 2012, has had quite a busy time there, after the huge storms and the Boston bombings.
“I never planned on working for the T,” She explained, “But goals are always better than plans.”
Kelly Anderson is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.