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Mastering Your Craft With USF’s Michael Kelly

Guest Michael Kelly, USF
20:52 min watch


USF Vice President/Director of Athletics Michael Kelly sits down with ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2023 NCAA Convention to share his strategies for achieving buy-in from both his athletics staff and campus decision-makers, how his career experience in event management has led to a detail-oriented leadership style and the influence of Maya Angelou and soul artist Sade on the development of his leadership philosophy. According to Kelly, Angelou’s quote “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you. made them feel” is more than a mantra – it’s a key business and leadership principle.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - As a leader, how do you operate from the 50,000 ft level when you've been so accustomed to focusing on the details through your career journey in event management and operations?
  • - Did you intentionally cultivate the art of understanding people well or is that an innate skill you've always had?
  • - With your past experience at South Florida, how did you separate the need to operate at the 50,000-ft. viewpoint as AD from your desire to focus on the details when in a new role or on a new campus?
  • - How have you achieved buy-in from your staff and your university president about your long-term strategic vision for the department?
  • - How does it feel to be a significant part of the history of an institution that's still in the early phases of having Athletics?
  • - Tell me about taking a class with Dr. Maya Angelou.
  • - Tell us about your master's thesis on rap music.
  • - Your nickname is the "Smooth Operator" - what's been Sade's influence on you?