Brian Kelly at Salem State College with Professor Linda Coleman
Brian Kelly (center) visited Salem State Professor Linda Coleman's Special Topics in Marketing class last February and discussed his journey to success

By Salem Statement's Sara Ward - Brian Kelly made $20 a week at his first lemonade stand in 1960. He then moved on to newspapers, selling so many that he had three other children working for him in the neighborhood.

Born and raised on the North Shore, Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit eventually led him to his father’s used car lot, doing odd jobs and helping out with the business. He was able to expand on his father’s success and now leads Kelly Automotive Group, which currently has 11 brands and seven locations in Massachusetts.

Last spring, Brian visited Salem State Professor Linda Coleman’s Special Topics in Marketing class and spoke about how to be innovative, persevere, do the right thing, take initiative, and pay attention to details.

“With all of the technology available today, I believe it’s important to remember that a firm handshake and eye contact is still very powerful,” Brian said. “I really enjoy talking to young people; they are the future!”

“He gave us insights on marketing old and new,” said Christine Pimental ’19, a student in the marketing class. “He emphasized that one of the most important parts of marketing is to give honest service to consumers and have a quality product.”

Professor Coleman believes it’s important for individuals like Brian Kelly to visit classes because they add to the learning process, further motivate students and provide an example of the application of business practices. “Business speakers are a separate voice from the professor that can reiterate what the student is learning and emphasize the significance of it,” she said. “Brian Kelly visiting my class is an indication of giving back to the community by a business leader, which is also an important example for the students.”

Bertolon School of Business Dean Kathleen Barnes also attended the talk with Brian and felt he related well to the students.

“Brian Kelly is very similar to many of our students in terms of his humble beginnings, willingness to work hard and eventually succeed,” offered Dean Barnes. “Brian really connected with the marketing students as a wonderful role model for their careers.”



 
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