Owner/Director Bad Beard Events formerly Rock/Creek Race Series

College/University attended?

BS, University of Mississippi

A little about Ginny… 

I am a graduate of the University of Mississippi. I spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry before moving into the outdoor industry. I am the Owner and Race Director of Bad Beard Events formerly the Rock/Creek Race Series and a RRCA certified running coach. I am also a member of the Rock/Creek All Mountain Team and an Arc’teryx ambassador. 

I sit on the boards of Lula Lake Land Trust, Lookout Mountain Conservancy, Wild Trails, and CHI Memorial Foundation. I am married to Tim Kelly and have two stepsons, Jack and Cannon, along with four pets! During the week, you will find me running on trail or road and on the weekend at group runs, concerts, or cheering on the Chattanooga Football Club.

What motivates you? 

Watching people achieve goals that they thought were not possible. As a race director, I have the pleasure of watching someone who’s never been a runner ask for help running a 5K. That 5K then turns into a 10K, half, marathon, ultra trail run. It is a beautiful thing to see the confidence that builds in someone conquering something they didn’t think they could do. 

When you’re not working, where and how do you spend your time?

I volunteer as often as possible for various groups, or I am outside working in the yard. In the past 11 months the majority of my free time was spent volunteering for my husband’s campaign. 

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?

Learn your strengths and play to them, and you’ll be set up for success. 

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?

My mother. She is so incredibly smart, and can truly do it all. She is a constant encourager and raised me to be a strong independent woman and to go after things I thought might be too difficult to achieve. She worked full-time and volunteered on her off time. She believed in working hard but always allowing time for fun, and to make sure that you give back to the community you live in.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

Being a founder of the Rock/Creek women’s summit back in 2014. We noticed a lack of women participating in trail running events and the summit brought in women from all over the US to talk about underlying motivations and hesitations and ways to get women into the sport. It was an incredible event that continued for a few years and took some time off but will soon be back in 2022.

What strides do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?

Take time to reach out to women in the community even if you don’t know them. One of the greatest gifts of being on the campaign trail with my husband was meeting SO MANY incredible women who’ve made Chattanooga their home. 

How would you best describe the benefit found in joining this organization? 

The most important part of CWLI for me is the L: Leadership. This organization brings female leaders together to make them stronger and gives them tools to create/achieve whatever it is they are looking to do- truly a team effort.