Kelly Howard

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Most of the time, our 9-5 is not just 9-5. CEO and publicist Kelly Howard believes that "good things take time and that if you stay focused, positive, and have a little faith, the path will unfold as it's supposed to." Today she talks about how she successfully re-branded and launched a company, her career road bumps and risks, and their invaluable rewards.

Instagram Handle: @eightsixtysouth

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: CEO, EightSixtySouth

Age: 31

Secretly Obsessed With: Fun, unique coffee mugs. Caffeine in the morning is a constant, so switching up my mug to something different each morning makes it taste that much better.

On My Nightstand: A good read - either the latest business book or something from the monthly w̶i̶n̶e̶ book club I'm involved in. I'm currently reading "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***" by Mark Manson. I'm also newly loving my calming essential oil roller from a recent Krystle Knight Jewellery event we hosted--the scent is super relaxing before bed. Oh, and my cellphone, always within an arm's reach. Terrible, I know.

Last Thing You Read: "How To Murder Your Life" by Cat Marnell. Also for w̶i̶n̶e̶ book club.

How did you get started on your career path?

It's silly, but I was inspired to pursue a career in PR from a movie I saw on the ABC Family Channel years ago. It was called "This Time Around," and the main character was a publicist. Her job looked really fun...and, well, the rest is history. 

I decided to pursue a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications at Iowa State University and worked to surround myself with experiences and opportunities that would further my growth as a publicist. When I graduated in 2008, it was literally the worst time to find a job. It was the height of the recession and no one was hiring (despite the 400 resumes I sent out). 

After many dead ends, I was fortunate enough to uncover an opportunity with Kip Morrison & Associates, a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle PR firm in the heart of LA. I moved to LA in October 2009 and remained at KMA for over three years before making the move to Post+Beam in 2013. 

I served as Post+Beam’s West Coast Director up until the end of 2016, at which time I acquired the business and took P+B through a re-brand--and EightSixtySouth was born.

What key elements played into your success?

Faith, persistence, and dedication. It's important to remember that good things take time and that if you stay focused, positive, and have a little faith, the path will unfold as it's supposed to.

What struggles did you face getting to this point?

Do you want them alphabetically or chronologically? Ha. In all seriousness, though, growth as an individual and growth as a business takes a lot of time and reflection, so to pick just one or two struggles wouldn't accurately illustrate the journey. I find it more productive to embrace those struggles and challenges, and always look for the opportunity in failure within them.

Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?

My biggest influence was my first boss in LA. She taught me what it meant to be a true publicist and how to not take no for an answer. She gave me an unfiltered, raw look at what it actually meant to be a full-time career publicist rather than just a 9-5 account executive, and for that, I am forever grateful.

When do you feel most successful?

I feel most successful when my team is successful. It means I've done something right!

What’s the best piece of advice you received?

Be willing to put in the work. If you won't do it because of the time or the amount of money you're getting paid, someone else will. Like they say in "The Devil Wears Prada," a million girls would kill for this job!

What advice would you give to women looking to enter your industry/space?

I’ve said it before, but it still reigns true. Go with your gut, but recognize that good things take time. Along the same lines: don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Definitely becoming CEO and transitioning Post+Beam to EightSixtySouth. Successfully rebranding and launching a company was a risk and took a lot of work, but the rewards have been invaluable!


Want more ways to design a career with purpose? Mavenly + Co. is the best resource to turn to if you’re looking for answers to those big career questions, from coaching programs to podcasts to tools and much more. We're here to help you, girl.

Staff