- Lisa Kelly, Author -
“Your talent determines what you can do.
Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do.
Your attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz
Lisa had no choice but to love Notre Dame football. Ever since she can remember, Notre Dame football has been a part of her life. She learned her first colorful word at the tender age of three during the Notre Dame–USC game on a Thanksgiving weekend spent at her grandparents’ house. She and her family made annual pilgrimages to Notre Dame to spend football weekends with her dad’s college roommate and his family. Notre Dame football has always been an integral part of her life.
As a Notre Dame grad herself (business major), Lisa made sure she took advantage of three things in her four years. First, becoming a student of theology at the most renowned theologian institution in the world. Second, studying English to support her passion for effective communications, no matter her career direction. Finally, and most importantly, leaving this great university with a degree in business and a specialty in marketing. Armed with these tools she engages the world, continuing to use what she so aptly calls, the “Notre Dame Value Stream.”
Lisa began her professional career in the not-for-profit sector, working for the Better Business Bureau (BBB). She taught people how to be better-informed consumers and served as a dispute resolution arbitrator. She expanded her career horizons by branching further into her career field, working thirteen years as a marketing professional in Yellow Pages advertising. The fast-paced environment in an agency setting and the creative outlet energized her career.
In 2007, she took a leap from the advertising world and accepted a job with a marketing and communications company, Katey Charles Communications. Their specialty was web design and maintenance, and e-mail newsletter design and production. At first, she knew little about HTML programming or copywriting but was confident she could learn how to do anything. She spent two amazing years working for Katey Charles and learned much about copywriting, web design, and HTML programming—the stepping-off point to where she is today.
When the economy took a downturn in 2009, Lisa, like so many others, faced a job loss. But such a loss with the right mental attitude turns into an opportunity. For Lisa, her loss turned into a marketing research position, running in-house advertising, marketing, and social media for a small company. She also took the lessons and skills she had learned and began her own blog, which was a mishmash of digital marketing best practices, motherhood, music flashback, and sports. Blogging is hard work, taking patience and perseverance. Lisa’s perseverance was the catalyst for a major life change.
In 2011, Lisa was contacted on Twitter by an advertising agency who was working on a contest sponsored by Volvo and the Big East Conference to determine the “Biggest Fan of the Big East Conference.” She was selected to compete for the title of “Biggest Fan,” along with fifteen other alumni writers representing the sixteen schools in the Big East Conference. As basketball is not really her forte, Lisa dug inward for this contest. After eight writing assignments, a trip to New York City for media day, a trip to her alma mater for the Notre Dame–Syracuse match-up, and endless self-promotion on social media, Lisa rose to the top and was crowned the “Biggest Fan of the Big East Conference.” In all honesty, Lisa never expected to win this contest; but the more she thought about it, losing really is not in her vocabulary. If you’re going to do something, give it your all and shoot for the top.
Shortly after the contest, Lisa realized she was constantly defending Our Lady’s University. People were quick to find the shortcomings of Notre Dame and those associated with it, and Lisa really wanted to do something that would showcase all the positive things that emerge from Our Lady’s University. And that is how her first book, “Echoes From the End Zone: The Men We Became,” took shape. Her first interview was with former tight end Oscar McBride. It was more like two friends catching up, but it was a wonderful walk down memory lane with Oscar and a discovery of how Notre Dame helped shape him into the man he is today. Lisa realized that this was the beginning of something special. One interview led to another. As she completed each interview, it was clear that a theme was emerging. Even though Lisa and these former players all came to Notre Dame from vastly different backgrounds, they all had similar experiences, and each credited their time at Notre Dame and the Notre Dame Value Stream with playing a huge role in molding them into the people they are today.
Lisa currently has three books in the “Echoes From Notre Dame” book series: Echoes From the End Zone: The Men We Became, published in 2013; The Men We Became: More Echoes From the End Zone, published in 2016; and Triumphs From Notre Dame: Echoes of Her Loyal Sons and Daughters, published in 2019. Domer Dishes: Inside the Lives and Kitchens of Your Irish Gridiron Greats is Lisa’s first cookbook.
Currently, Lisa is an e-content specialist in the eCommerce Department at Nestle Purina PetCare. Eighty plus interviews and three books later, Lisa is still enjoying how wonderful it is to be able to share these positive stories about Our Lady’s student-athletes. In Lisa’s words, “There are so many of these stories yet to be told.” She hopes that you have enjoyed her journey through the lives of these loyal sons and daughters of Our Lady’s University and the stories they tell. Lisa’s three books only touch the surface. She looks forward to continuing the journey and sharing more remarkable stories of her loyal sons and daughters. Lisa is currently working on several projects including a Notre Dame Baseball book, not yet titled.
(Photo above taken by Lynne Gilbert)