Kelly Jenkins is no stranger to challenging herself. With a background in martial arts, Kelly was a competitive karate practitioner in the past and has more recently taken up kung fu. In her relationships, she often finds herself leaning into the difficult conversations and moments that others tend to avoid. “I like to push myself and challenge myself to do the hard things,” she said. “It's always just been part of my nature.”
Kelly’s willingness to face difficulty head-on is evident in her career journey. She initially went to university to become a lawyer but soon realized she wasn’t passionate about this line of work and dropped out of school. Kelly then began working in door-to-door sales, which she grew to love, despite how demanding the job was.
Kelly ultimately decided to complete her legal training and went on to work as a lawyer for six years. During this time, she also worked in account management, finding new clients and partners for the firm, which allowed her to tap into her sales experience and expertise. After realizing she was much more interested in the account management side of the business than in actually practicing law, Kelly decided to quit working as a lawyer and lean fully into sales.
Eventually, Kelly joined a learning and development tech company, which she felt would align with her interests and values. “I'm a really avid learner,” she said. “I’m constantly reading and listening to podcasts, and I've usually got three or four books on the go at one time. That's a huge part of who I am.”
After a few years working at this company, Kelly came across a job listing for Go1 – one of her company’s competitors. “I thought to myself, ‘Well, we keep losing business to this Go1 lot. What is this that they've got going on? I want to find out more,’” she recounted. “And when I learned about the aggregation model, it made complete sense to me in terms of scope of learning and customer needs. So that was why I moved across.”
Kelly joined Go1 as a senior account executive. She loved her role but soon realized she missed coaching and mentoring junior salespeople, which she had loved doing in previous jobs. Three months into her time at Go1, Kelly met with her boss and discussed her desire to lead a team and support others in their development. Just a few weeks later, Kelly’s boss told her that the perfect role had just opened – the company was building a new sales development function and needed someone to lead the team.
Kelly stepped into the sales development manager role and has continued to move up since then, first as the head of sales development, then as director of partner success, and now in her current role as director of strategic alliances. “It's been incredible,” Kelly said. “I've learned so much already and I’m just getting started.”
One of Kelly’s favorite aspects of her job as director of strategic alliances is the fact that no day is the same. “It might be that I'm working with the team in Germany to build a lead gen campaign,” she said. “It might be that I'm presenting alongside one of our AEs. I might be flying to Paris to attend an event. Or I could be up to my eyeballs in a contract trying to work out where we stand on a legal point.”
Kelly also loves the people she works with, as well as the opportunity to work with many different teams across the business. Partner marketing, product, and legal are just a few of the teams she collaborates with, and she also loves working with her own team. “The strategic alliances team are this powerhouse group of women who have so much experience and knowledge and are so accommodating and so helpful and supportive,” Kelly said. “I just feel so at home in that team, which is really lovely.”
Most of all, though, Kelly is passionate about Go1’s mission, especially as it relates to her personal experience. While Kelly loves learning, she didn’t take a traditional path through education. “Having dropped out of university and then qualified vocationally, I did that through the support of my employers at the time,” she said. “So not only have I seen firsthand the importance of upskilling, reskilling, and being supported by your employer in that way, but the mission of reaching a billion learners, I'm so passionate about that.”
Kelly feels that with the rise of AI, reaching learners is now more important than ever. “What's going to change for people in the workplace, and how do we safeguard humans and livelihoods in the best possible way that we can while we work through this transition of AI assisting and supporting in roles?” she asked. “The mission of reaching a billion learners – I actually think it's an absolute necessity now given where we are technologically.”
But it’s not just about the product for Kelly; she also loves working for Go1 because of the people. “I have worked at a few different organizations where the culture has varied considerably,” she reflected. “When I joined Go1, I was just blown away. I used to say really frequently that it was the only place I'd ever worked where I really felt like other people were rooting for your success as much as you wanted your own success. And I still think that that is true. The power for Go1 is in the product, but it's also powered by the people, and that's where they've really got it right.”