Mary Kelly

Commander Mary C. Kelly, US Navy, PhD, CSP specializes in leadership growth that improves profit growth. Her programs are content-rich, funny, and fun.

Mary is one of the first female Naval Academy graduates, who served 25 years on active duty, mostly in Asia, leading multi-cultural teams in 9 countries. She was an intelligence officer, a chief of police, an HR director, a chief of staff, and she has trained over 40,000 military personnel. With a PhD in economics, Mary was a professor at the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and Hawaii Pacific University teaching leadership and economics.

Mary’s 11 leadership and business books are used in 9 countries and, and her best-selling book, Master Your World is named a “must read” by MENSA and MOAA. Her latest book is the award-winning Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success, profiled in Forbes and Success magazines.

A frequent media guest, Mary is featured in Money Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Men’s Health.

Listed as the world’s #56 Most Influential Economist. A frustrated comedian, Mary loves wine, dogs, and growing businesses.


Banking, Education, Finance, Government, Healthcare/Medical, Insurance, Military, Real Estate


Leadership, Military, Economics

Full Bio

Mary is an internationally known economist and leadership expert specializing in the fields of leadership, productivity, communication, and business profit growth.

  • US Naval Academy graduate
  • PhD in Economics
  • Trained over 40,000 military and civilians in multi-cultural environments
  • Naval Intelligence Officer
  • Human Resources Director
  • Assistant Chief Staff Officer
  • Chief of Police
  • Taught at US Naval Academy, US Air Force Academy, Hawaii Pacific University
  • Programs in leadership, communication, business growth, teamwork, strategic planning, customer service, time management, and project development.
  • Executive coach for corporate success

An energetic, engaging, and perceptive leadership author and speaker, Commander Kelly delivers humorous, inspiring, and insightful keynote speeches, offering tools and insights that increase productivity, morale, and profits.

As a consultant she provides creative and insightful problem-solving tools that enable her to transform corporate cultures and structures.

Mary authored 11 books, including:

  • Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success
  • Master Your World: 10 Dog-Inspired Lessons to Increase Productivity, Profits and Communication
  • 15 Ways to Grow your Business in Every Economy
  • Money Smart: How Not To Buy Cat Food When You Don’t Own A Cat
  • Stop the Barking at Work
  • In Case of Emergency, Break Glass!
  • 360 Degrees of Leadership: Steering Around the Icebergs

She is also quoted in hundreds of periodicals including Money Magazine, Entrepreneur, the Wall Street Journal, and dozens of business journals.

Industry Experience

Awards / Certifications / Honors

  • Government / Military
  • City Governance
  • Finance, Insurance, Banking
  • Education
  • Medical Practice Management
  • Dental Practice Management
  • Housing and Real Estate
  • B.S. in History from the United States Naval Academy
  • M.A. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma
  • M.A. in History from the University of Hawaii
  • Ph.D. in Economics from Greenwich University
  • ABD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii
  • Professional Associations
  • American Economics Association
  • National Speakers Association Magazine Editorial Chair
  • National Speakers Association, CO Member of the Year 2015
  • Certified Speaking Profession (CSP)
  • Navy League Leadership Award
  • US Air Force Academy Outstanding Educator
  • US Air Force Academy Instructor of the Year
  • 5th Most Influential Media Person in Colorado
  • Veteran Business Owner of the Year Nomination
  • 16th World’s Most Influential Economist


Mary Kelly is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and spent over 20 years on active duty in intelligence and logistics. She retired from the Navy as a commander. She has masters’ degrees in history and economics, and a PhD in economics.

With over 20 years combined teaching experience at both the Naval Academy and at Hawaii Pacific University, she taught economics, finance, history and management. She has extensive experience in business coaching, management, economics, finance, banking, insurance, real estate, government, organizational leadership, communication, business growth, teamwork, strategic planning, human resources, customer service, time management, and project development. Mary has a track record for success as an organizational change agent.

In her role as a human resources director, Dr. Kelly developed a business model for the computer and telecommunications organization for personnel hiring, training and retention that was adopted globally by the U. S. Navy. Managing culturally diverse teams, she orchestrated organizational changes for over 3,000 personnel for 2 military base closures. Her ability to problem solve and provide innovative solutions enabled her to transform the Navy’s largest pay and personnel organization from the lowest in customer satisfaction to the highest in the nation in 18 months, with 23% fewer employees and a 19% budget decrease.

As an educator, Dr. Kelly created a mandatory curriculum for a college student body of 4,500 students. During her teaching career, she developed 31 university courses in the areas of business management, economics, history, management, geography, political science, human resources and international relations. Mary taught remote course work for multiple colleges while creating 4 distance learning courses using online lectures, webinars, interactive exercises and podcasting. In addition to standard curriculums, Dr. Kelly coached 450 students on life skills and time-management. She created and taught wealth building and personal finance to students at the United States Naval Academy, resulting in a student body educated on budgeting and retirement planning before graduation.

As a speaker and presenter, Mary Kelly pulls from her diverse experience to provide keynote presentations that are engaging and compelling, leaving the audience wanting more. With a warm and sincere style, Mary takes her vast knowledge and provides an educational presentation that holds the interest of her audience. She is a popular speaker on topics of leadership, communication, financial planning, and management. As a communicator, she has chaired academic and military panels for economics, political science and historical conferences, and she has conducted over 2,200 seminars on financial, business, management and leadership topics.

Productive Leaders maintains sites in Dallas TX and Denver CO. Mary enjoys skiing, kayaking, time outside with her dogs, and philanthropic activities.

Leadership Expert

  • Helping corporations, government agencies, associations and non-profits develop leadership and productivity skills through engaging and informative keynote speeches, break-out sessions, and focused training.
  • Member of the National Speakers Association, the Global Speakers Federation, and the Colorado Speakers Association.
  • Taught at U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Hawaii Pacific University.
  • Retired from active duty in the Navy with specialties in Human Resources, Logistics, Intelligence, and Security.

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