Offleash Employee Spotlight: Kelly Hall

Posted on March 30, 2022

By Nina Beck

Get to know our rockstar VP and head of our Integrated Marketing Practice: Kelly Hall! Kelly came to us one year ago, bringing along 20 years of marketing and communications experience.

It’s easy to see why she’s had such a successful career: she is brilliant, hardworking, tough as nails, and also one of the most kind-hearted people we know. Kelly’s answering some of our burning questions—from advice on navigating being a woman in a male-dominated tech market to how she manages her work-life balance.

Before you joined us at Offleash to lead our Integrated Marketing Practice, you were CMO at Descartes Labs. Can you tell me how being a CMO prepared you for your current role?

My journey to CMO was an interesting one. I started off in fundraising and after two years I realized that I wanted to put my communications degree to work. That decision brought me to PR where I worked in a variety of markets before finding myself in B2B tech PR about 15 years ago. From there, I slowly transitioned into other roles, including leading marketing operations and digital advertising for Pivotal, a company that later was acquired by VMware. 

Having a background in PR and marketing made me hyper aware of the importance of integrated marketing. I realized through my journey that no single marketing activity should ever stand alone; each discipline within marketing should work together to tell a more complete story. I like to explain it like an orchestra: When each instrument is playing in tune, you create beautiful music. It was this lesson that led me to my role as CMO at Descartes Labs. My background enabled me to truly understand the role and what it takes to be effective as a marketing leader. 

After leaving my role to take a short sabbatical, I reconnected with Offleash’s Partners, Julie and Robin, who were looking to expand their services to offer a more holistic communications approach. Together, we worked to create an Integrated Marketing Practice that allows for deeper collaboration, targeting wider audiences with a unified story. Our dedicated integrated marketing practice includes digital advertising, enhanced marketing and PR analytics, influencer relations, marketing consulting, and ABM demand generation services. These efforts, when combined with thought leadership and communications, ensures our clients can garner awareness with their key audience personas.

In 2020/2021 you and your husband Patrick lived in Mexico. What was it like living and working abroad?

During the sabbatical I mentioned earlier, my husband and I loaded up our five dogs and drove to Mexico, where we lived for five months, splitting our time between Merida and Cancun. After 20+ years of building my career, it was nice to take a step back and spend some time contracting.

Offleash was my first and only contracting client and they allowed me the freedom to slowly build up my hours as I was ready, while allowing time for my husband and our furry family to enjoy and explore the beauty of Mexico. I had already been working remotely for some time, so the transition was quite simple and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to live abroad while still keeping my toe in the marketing and communications water, so to speak. 

How do you manage your work-life balance and make time for mental wellness? Do you have any tips for avoiding burnout? 

In any fast-paced career, work-life balance is critical. I try my best to set my work hours and work when I’m at my best, which is earlier in the morning, so that my evenings are generally free. I take breaks when I can, whether it’s to take a few deep breaths, stretch, or even go for a short walk. I also make sure to keep water and snacks in my office mini-fridge, so I don’t skip meals and can stay hydrated.

My tips for avoiding burnout include:

  • Take short breaks when you can to get up and move around
  • Organization is key: make lists, manage your inbox, and prioritize your day (I do this by taking a few minutes at the end of every day to set work goals for the following day so I don’t get behind or overwhelmed)
  • Sign off at the end of the day and give your body time to rest and recover
  • And when you go on vacation, actually go on vacation. Turn off Slack and email and enjoy your well-deserved time off, so you can come back refreshed and ready to bring your best

We recently celebrated International Women’s Day. Do you feel like you have faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman, and what advice do you have for young women who are just starting out in PR?

At the beginning of my career in B2B technology, it was very rare to work with women in positions of leadership. Over the course of the last 15+ years, there has definitely been a shift, which is thrilling. It’s wonderful to work with female leaders, not just in marketing roles, but in C-level positions and in more technical roles, like engineering.

That said, there is still more work to be done. As the saying goes, “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” and with more women in positions of power, younger generations see that they too can do and be anything they want to be in this world. 

One of the things I appreciate most about Offleash is that we are a women-led company. I work with incredible, smart, passionate, hardworking women (and men) who I learn from each and every day. 

My advice to young women is to make your voice heard. Never shy away from a conversation or a debate. Know your value and make sure you never let someone take advantage of you or ignore your point of view. Sometimes in a group of men, that can be difficult, but don’t be steamrolled. Be confident in who you are and the rest will follow. 

Kelly has more than 20 years of marketing and communications experience, specializing in media and analyst relations, digital demand generation, influencer relations, and account based marketing (ABM). As vice president at Offleash, Kelly helps define media and marketing strategy and execution that drives measurable business results. Contact Kelly here.