Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Alina Kelly

By: Gini Dietrich | October 4, 2013 | 
101

#FollowFriday- Alina KellyBy Gini Dietrich

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Alina Kelly earlier this week. She was in Chicago for a conference (and shopping) and took time out of her networking and sessions to meet me for dinner.

Alina, for those of you who don’t know, is a former Rogers (the AT&T equivalent in Canada) employee where she launched several national products, including one that had her in the air for two weeks beginning on September 14, 2001.

For those of you who flew around that time, you know how significant that is. I remember flying to LAX the second flights resumed and how scary it was that the airport was so empty. I thought, “Huh. You’ll never again see LAX without people in it.”

Though she hasn’t worked for Rogers for more than 10 years, the experience she gained there helped her launch her own business, AKelly Consulting, where she focuses on public transit and government.

On the personal side of things, she has two teenaged daughters (16 and 13) and a “wonderfully supportive” husband (quotes because that’s what she said; not because I know him).

But what I find most charming about her is the conversation we had about broken bones. She went her whole life, until two years ago, without breaking anything and then had four bad spills, including two torn rotator cuffs, a broken ankle, and broken ribs.

When she told me about the third accident, I said, “Oh good. That’s three. You’re done for good.” And then she said she broke her ankle. Oops. I just jinxed her. She has two more to go.

She’s a lover of food, wine, and all things about urban design, including art installed in public places. In fact, she gets very passionate when talking about the types of things the big cities are doing with transit and art.

You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest (!!!!), and Google+.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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101 Comments on "#FollowFriday: Alina Kelly"

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biggreenpen
2 years 8 months ago

Congrats on your FF feature, Alina! Look forward to interacting with you here on SS!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

biggreenpen Thank you so much! I look forward to it too!

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

Hi Alina!! Are you Toronto based? Welcome to the world of the Spin Sucks crazies. Congrats on your #FollowFriday! 😀

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay Hello Lindsay! Yes I am Toronto based – Beaches based to be specific. I was delighted when Gini went “international” and hired you. Even though I don’t comment much (my bad), I do read (almost) everything on SpinSucks and have really enjoyed your contributions!

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly Heck, we’re practically neighbours! I live a block north of the Go line, south of Danforth between Main and Woodbine (affectionately known as “the ghetto!”) – as I say “I’m always on the wrong side of the tracks!” – LOL And thanks for the kind words! 🙂

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay Are you kidding me? I can walk to your house. I’m just southwest of Kingston and Main (which intersection is being close again soon). Now I want to know what your “local” is. For some reason I was under the impression you were in the west end. And that’s no ghetto!!

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly HA! It is such a small world these days, isn’t it? I haven’t lived in the west end since I was in my early 20’s. Love the mix of the east side, the working class feel, the “it takes all kinds” population. Reminds me a bit of growing up in the Maritimes.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay Totally agree. It’s very relaxed and very much a small community in a big city. Now fess up: what’s your local? There may be a beer in it for you.

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 8 months ago
Finally! Finally! It has been so long since a Canadian was highlighted here. She must be a good friends since you had her over for Manwich’s. And did she also make you her famous black eyed pea, kale and butternut squash soup topped with crushed butterfingers? I can dream! I will be happy just to be invited for corn dogs at the food court at her mall when I visit. So are you Pro or Against Street Art? My street art friends view it as a reaction to public art decided on by committee who feel they represent the tastes… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb We don’t have malls in the city. As if.

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich hey they have vegan corn dogs.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Is that even a thing?

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago
Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Hello Howie (eh)! I am very pro art. Full stop. I have a very dear friend who is a public art consultant who has managed the Toronto Sculpture Garden (http://www.torontosculpturegarden.com/) for 30 years. The committee issue you describe is definitely a challenge. But it can be overcome. Rina’s job is to ensure the integrity of the art/artist is maintained by managing the process. She works with both private and public sector clients, including managing the installation of a fantastic mosaic at the newly built Toronto Trump Tower, and the station/street art on two streetcar lines (Spadina and St. Clair) and… Read more »
Howie Goldfarb
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly I love that link thank you. I will visit the gardens if I get to Toronto. I agree with your view on public art. NYC has some really cool sculpture/community gardens in the lower east side and Venice Beach in LA has their Graffiti Walls which are constantly changing with new art.

I think controversy also has to do with culture. In Los Angeles it is the freeway murals that are the biggest public art displays. But many are boring. So a lot of street art is aimed/placed along freeways.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb It’s tiny but well worth visiting. It’s featured some pretty amazing work. My husband proposed to me there 🙂

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb Freeway murals can be cool (shame if they’re boring). I love the art that is part of the urban fabric of a street – incorporated into sidewalks, on blank walls of buildings etc. The things that make walking a neighbourhood enjoyable/delightful.

emzki
emzki
2 years 8 months ago

Lisa_Catto am back in London and I have your watermelon gum in my bag! Call me…

Lisa_Catto
Lisa_Catto
2 years 8 months ago

emzki yay, wil do, what are you doing tomorrow?

emzki
emzki
2 years 8 months ago

Lisa_Catto busy – do you fancy yoga at Tri on Tuesday?

Lisa_Catto
Lisa_Catto
2 years 8 months ago

emzki give me my gum

emzki
emzki
2 years 8 months ago

Lisa_Catto come@an get it

emzki
emzki
2 years 8 months ago

Lisa_Catto tri yoga tomorrow?

creativeoncall
2 years 8 months ago

Alina.  Nice to meet you…  thanks for giving new meaning to the term “Breaking Bad” (I hope your series is over, too)

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
2 years 8 months ago

creativeoncall LOL.  I love puns.

creativeoncall
2 years 8 months ago

EricPudalov creativeoncall Puns?  What puns?   The Spin Sucks  community only allows the most sophisticated, Noel Coward-esque wit… (or at least half of it)

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

creativeoncall EricPudalov LOL!

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

creativeoncall EricPudalov Oh dear.

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
2 years 8 months ago

creativeoncall Hmm…I don’t think I’ve reached the mastery of Noel Coward yet, but maybe if I hang out here long enough…

aimeelwest
2 years 8 months ago

Good Morning! Being part of the #ff crazy is a wonderful way to start the weekend 🙂 Enjoy every moment.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

aimeelwest Hello Aimee!! I am beyond blown away…and loving it. To say I didn’t see it coming is an understatement. Thank you!

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
2 years 8 months ago

Congrats on your #FollowFriday, Alina!  You have quite an amazing story.  And as Howie said below, I’m also curious on your stance about street art; that’s one of the things I love about Atlanta.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

EricPudalov I appear to be reading backwards – will get to Howie in a minute. 
Doesn’t art make an immense difference in a community? The simplest things can be absolutely transformative. They’re the things we remember about places when we visit and that make our local communities so much more livable.

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly EricPudalov Yes, it absolutely does!!  Atlanta has this former rail line called the BeltLine that we’ve slowly been refurbishing and turning into green space.  Many artists have contributed to that, and I love how much it adds to the neighborhood.

EdenSpodek
2 years 8 months ago

Nice meeting you AlinaKelly and welcome to the @spinsucks #FF crowd. Perhaps one day soon our paths will meet in Toronto.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

EdenSpodek AlinaKelly Hello Eden! Very much look forward to that!

jasonkonopinski
2 years 8 months ago

Very nice to meet you, Alina! I’d love to hear more about your work with public transit. Seems like quite the shift from the world of telecom!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago
jasonkonopinski Hello Jason! It does seem like a shift, but I started as an urban planner. When I did my MBA, I discovered that business/marketing strategy is just planning on steroids in a bigger sandbox. I LOVED IT! I loved working in telecom – got a great grounding in technology. I now apply private sector marketing principles to non-traditional markets – like public transit.  Once upon a time, if you built it, they would come. Not so any more. I work to make public transit an appealing option. Many people simply don’t know it can work for them and have negative… Read more »
jasonkonopinski
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly That’s awesome. My office (cowork155) is in the post-industrial town of York, PA — and there has been a real effort to reclaim abandoned and blighted properties and turn them into something useful. Urban planning fascinates me.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago
jasonkonopinski cowork155 I find it so exciting when places that seem hopeless are transformed. Sometimes, buildings have to be razed to allow new things to happen, but when the “bones” are good and old places are renewed, they can become really interesting and vibrant communities. I once again had the good fortune to hear Gil Penalosa (@G_Penalosa) speak at the conference I attended this week. He’s the Executive Director of 8-80 Cities (http://www.8-80cities.org/), “…a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to transforming cities into places where people can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant parks, streets and other public places.” The 8-80 concept… Read more »
yvettepistorio
2 years 8 months ago

Congrats Alina!! And nice to meet you – I should show you some of the art that’s being done in my neighborhood – they turned some really drabby, scary looking viaducts into beautiful art. 
Look forward to getting to know you more!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

yvettepistorio Hello Yvette! Thank you so much. I’d LOVE to see what’s being done in your neighbourhood. It sounds great. Art makes such a difference is communities. If you’ve got pictures and can share, please send to alina at akellyinc dot com!!

yvettepistorio
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly Ok, will do!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

yvettepistorio AlinaKelly Thank you!

debdobson62
debdobson62
2 years 8 months ago

Hi Alina.  Nice to meet you.  I saw you had a tennis photo on your twitter of Rogers Cup.  I’m a huge tennis fan as Gini can attest to.  Sorry to hear you’ve had some broken bones.  Congrats on Gini’s #FollowFriday.  I’m going to follow you on your platforms and if you ever make it to Atlanta, let me know.  I love food and good wine.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

debdobson62 Hello Deb! A dear friend and I make an annual pilgrimage to the Rogers Cup almost every year. It’s a highlight of the summer. We both LOVE tennis and are so grateful to have access to high quality action in person! It’s always a great day! 
Looking forward to following you too and the next time I’m heading Atlanta-way, you can bet I’ll take you up on an offer to share a bite and a glass of wine! I’m easy that way 😉

debdobson62
debdobson62
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly debdobson62 I so love meeting another person who LOVES tennis.  How very cool you get to see high quality action in person and with a dear friend!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

debdobson62 I agree – it’s totally cool and I’m totally grateful for the opportunity.

Eric Pudalov
Eric Pudalov
2 years 8 months ago

I did! Thanks for introducing her to everyone!!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

@Eric Pudalov Nice to meet you Eric!

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly Nice to meet you too!

susancellura
susancellura
2 years 8 months ago

HI Alina! It’s a pleasure to meet you! I have a dream to throw a Wimbledon party, but think I will have to DVR it so people can go to church or sleep in.  🙂    I do hope you have a wonderful and fun Follow Friday!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

susancellura Thank you Susan! I am totally honoured/honored to be here.
My view on your Wimbledon party idea: go for it!

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

Ooohhhh I love urban art! So amazing how it can transform neighborhoods (both physically and sociologically). Some of the studies about how this type of transformation of the physical aspects (both art and urban gardens) can improve overall quality of life, decrease crime, etc. are really inspiring. I really wish more cities would invest in this type of urban renewal. 
Anyway, so great to meet you, looking forward to learning more about you and congrats, congrats, congrats!!!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino Thank you so much. So glad to hear we share a love of great neighbourhoods. It’s wonderful to live in a place that you love. Investments in public spaces definitely deliver exponential returns to the community in all the ways you cite.
In our community, the Beach Garden & Horticultural Society (http://www.gardenontario.org/site.php/beach), a community organization, plants many of the public gardens in the neighbourhood. What a difference it makes to so many of our public spaces. So some of the improvements can actually happen from the grassroots (in this case, floral roots).

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly LauraPetrolino Oh how lovely!!! And yes totally agree, actually I think movements that start on the grassroots level, but are supported by government are the ones that are most powerful!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino AlinaKelly Absolutely right. Everyone wins.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
2 years 8 months ago

Hi Alina, It is nice to meet you.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Hello Joshua! It’s very nice to meet you too!

JoeCardillo
2 years 8 months ago

Very cool – it’s nice to meet you Alina and congrats on getting Spun

Do you follow Don Norman’s stuff at all? Love his perspectives on everyday design that most people overlook.. http://www.jnd.org/

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

JoeCardillo Hi Joe! So nice to meet you too. I was not aware of Don Norman but I am now. Thanks for sharing! This is totally in my wheelhouse! Thanks!

JoeCardillo
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly JoeCardillo You bet. And I look forward to jamming on transit and urban architecture with ya = )

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

JoeCardillo I’m in!!

Word Ninja
2 years 8 months ago

Alina, welcome to #FF and great to learn a little bit about you. Broken bones and all. Congrats!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

Word Ninja Thank you! I am now a big time milk drinker/supplement taker 🙂

bdorman264
2 years 8 months ago
Well Alina, your lucky day because ginidietrich only lets me comment twice a month and it appears I have not used up my quota for October yet. Oh happy days…. Public Transportation, huh? Can you come down to Polk County Florida and help us out? We have a county the size of Rhode Island but not densely populated. It’s been a real dilemma on how to fund this and they are trying to put a 1 cent sales take on the referendum next year and I’m pretty sure it won’t fly.  Nice to meet you, if Gini says you are ok, then… Read more »
Howie Goldfarb
2 years 8 months ago

bdorman264 ginidietrich dude just have disney extend it’s monorail. How hard can that be?

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb bdorman264 ginidietrich Great idea. Let’s get the fairies and all of Snow White’s animal friends on that 🙂

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

bdorman264 ginidietrich Hello Bill! Great to formally meet you – although I feel I got to know you a bit back in the days when you were allowed more than two comments a month 😉 
I’d be happy to visit Polk County but funding transit is a problem everywhere. Having said that, the City of Los Angeles has taken tax increases for transit to a referendum and been successful. So hope springs eternal in Polk County! Fingers crossed for you.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

bdorman264 It’s on the fourth

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

bdorman264 Bill, you’re in Polk County? How’d I miss that? Howdy Neighbor! I’m in Ponte Vedra Beach now, but moved not long ago from Tampa! What part of Polk are you in? I have a good friend in Bartow

bdorman264
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino Lakeland, Bartow is just a few miles away; I go through it quite often, and howdy is right, huh?

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

bdorman264 LauraPetrolino Of course! Wow, such a small world! I feel proud our Florida chapter of Spin Suckers seems to be growing by the second! We will need to have an executive committee meeting at LegoLand sometime soon!

biggreenpen
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino bdorman264 I’m ALL IN for the executive committee meeting that I just invited myself to!

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

biggreenpen LauraPetrolino bdorman264 Um…..obviously! It wouldn’t be legal to have an Executive Committee meeting without you!

bdorman264
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino Ponte Vedra; know the Ammianno’s by any chance?

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

Happy Follow Friday Alina!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd Thanks Rebecca! It’s been amazing! Totally unexpected and amazing 🙂

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich What a day! Thanks so much Gini – having so much fun!!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

MediaLabRat Pleased to meet/tweet you. Thanks for participating in the bandwagon effect.

MediaLabRat
MediaLabRat
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly The pleasure is all mine. When you are a SpinSucks #FF, U have truly made it. Still waiting 4 my nod (hint hint ginidietrich)

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

MediaLabRat SpinSucks ginidietrich good luck!

CrazyPens30
CrazyPens30
2 years 8 months ago

MediaLabRat AlinaKelly SpinSucks ginidietrich Hmm…they don’t give out #FF for free, do they? 😉

SpinSucks
SpinSucks
2 years 8 months ago

CrazyPens30 MediaLabRat AlinaKelly ginidietrich I’m open to bribes…but I don’t write them…but I still take the bribes.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

MediaLabRat If there are bribes, they should come to ME SpinSucks

MediaLabRat
MediaLabRat
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich SpinSucks LOL, just tell me where to send the lifetime supply of #Hendricks to 🙂

SpinSucks
SpinSucks
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich MediaLabRat I can share 😀

CrazyPens30
CrazyPens30
2 years 8 months ago

SpinSucks MediaLabRat AlinaKelly ginidietrich LOL – well, if I start writing again, perhaps I can get one the legit way.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

AimeelWest eveypistorio Hello Aimee! Thanks for the endorsement!

AimeelWest
AimeelWest
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly Hello Alina! Enjoy every moment of your fame. eveypistorio

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

AimeelWest eveypistorio My 15 minutes is lasting all day. LOVING IT!!

AimeelWest
AimeelWest
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly eveypistorio Battery yet its for something great!

AimeelWest
AimeelWest
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly eveypistorio darn autocorrect *better

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

AimeelWest eveypistorio Battery – LOL!

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

eveypistorio Thank Yvette. And thanks again for sharing your wonderful photos!

eveypistorio
eveypistorio
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly 😀

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

creativeoncall Thanks for the mention Chuck!

creativeoncall
creativeoncall
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly You are most welcome; nice to almost meet you

dbvickery
2 years 8 months ago

But…does she have better stories for the broken bones? It’s all about the story-telling. Make it up if you must.

AlinaKelly
AlinaKelly
2 years 8 months ago

dbvickery I climbed Kilimanjaro and made it to the top. Unfortunately, I slipped and fell approximately a third of the way back down and had to be transported to base camp by Sherpas. It was mortifying.
The foregoing was pure fabrication. 
Actual story: I tripped and fell on the last step coming down from the upper deck in my backyard. 
Lessons learned: (1) Flagstone is unforgiving. (2) Drink milk to keep your bones strong.

dbvickery
2 years 8 months ago

AlinaKelly dbvickery Classic…folks will get so wrapped up with the mention of Sherpas that they will not hear the backyard part of the story.

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