Kelly Stewart Nichols is on a mission to help government, non-profits, businesses and community members come together to solve big problems. She has a knack for translating complex issues into understandable concepts. She understands the power of data, but also the intuitive importance of storytelling. Above all, Kelly cares deeply about social equity and the power of a group of committed people to come together and create unique solutions.
Having worked in business, higher education, philanthropy, non-profits and government, Kelly understands the value of relationships when working in a complex environment with multiple constraints. An English major at heart, Kelly loves to synthesize information to create clarity and a compelling message. Having Connectedness as her #1 Strengthsfinder strength, Kelly is a natural systems thinker who aims to break down silos and utilize interdisciplinary and multi-sector approaches to addressing complex challenges in housing, workforce development, behavioral health, and criminal justice.
Before founding WNA, Kelly was Planning and Policy Manager for the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Office, overseeing a team of planners, research analysts and communications professionals. That team produced the HUD Consolidated Plan, implemented the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan Household Affordability priority program, and supported the department’s overall communications and public information needs. Kelly was instrumental in writing the grant submission for the City of Austin’s Colony Park Sustainable Community Initiative, which received a $3 million Community Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities.
Kelly is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She is married to Jason, a software engineer, and has two children. A Missouri native and city geek, the city by which she compares all others is the “Paris of the Plains,” Kansas City. Except naps, almost nothing makes her happier than wandering the stalls of an open-air market in a new city.