J Kelly Hoey | The Legacy Project | Investor and Speaker


Listed in Forbes as one of five women changing the world of VC/Entrepreneurship, Kelly Hoey is the CMO of Cuurio, a New York City based startup. In 2011, Kelly co-founded Women Innovate Mobile, the first start up accelerator focused exclusively on launching and accelerating the growth of women-founded companies in mobile technology.

An angel investor, she sits on the advisory boards of several early-stage companies as well as mentoring startups participating in accelerator programs in New York City, Tampa Bay, Omaha and Cairo. She was the first president of global women’s networking group 85 Broads. Kelly was recently recognized as 1 of 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter by Business Insider. Before venturing into start-ups and angel investing, Kelly was a corporate attorney.

J Kelly Hoey Definition Of Success | Success is the ability to do what you love to do on a daily basis. I used to think of success in terms of a title, a corner office and get-away home. Now, I think about of success in terms of choice, freedom and opportunity to choose.


I Am Driven By | Seeing others succeed and achieve their goals.


My Highlights | I’ll let you know when it happens! At 49, I still consider myself to be a work in progress.


A Key Talent | Building networks of professional relationships has been critical to my career success and the best guidance I can provide is build a broad, diverse network of career contacts before you need them. Here’s why: building professional contacts takes time and a diverse network generates a variety of career opportunities. Back in 2002 I decided to embark a career change, from being an attorney to a professional development role on the management side of a law firm.


To transition into this new role I had to build an entirely new network of professional contacts – and that process took 18 months! My network was filled with lawyers and bankers, but not with the contacts I needed to land the new job. To build the new network I scheduled informational interviews, joined a committee and planned events, attended conferences, took classes in the area I wanted to go into….building this network of contacts was a full-time job!


Since 2002 I have always maintained a contact list which is diverse (various industries, across org chart levels, global etc.) and this diverse network has continued to produce new opportunities for me.


Lessons I Have Learnt | It is never too late to start over or to pursue a new career or opportunity. The three career tips I dish out regularly are: (1) build your expertise (2) build your network and (3) build your bank account. Expertise is much more powerful when there are connections (the network). Connections help you navigate up / around and over the corporate ladder. Connections are why some startups get funded with relative ease and others struggle.


Connections produce opportunities if you have the expertise or substance to back it up. And the bank account? The bank account enables you to say to opportunities, to pursue your career interests, not simply chase a paycheck. The bank account or career cushion is the investment you make in your career so you don’t ever  have to say “I’d take the job but it doesn’t pay enough”.


My Future Dreams And Ambitions | To write a book. To appear in the media regularly. To make Cuurio (startup where I’m CMO) a success. To help diverse founding teams reach success in the emerging technology world.


The Best Advice I’ve Received | I worked with a lawyer who believed in training his assassins, as in he trained the junior attorneys on his team to be better than he was at the job. His philosophy created fierce personal loyalty and commitment to producing the best work for him – which in turn created great work opportunities, career access and elevated professional experiences for me (and other junior attorneys). As someone who aspired to a corner office this was great leadership advice to receive and observe in action.


Advice On Building Wealth | Follow your passion. Work hard. Be kind to people.


I Am Inspired By | The female founders I’ve invested in, inspire me. The women coders I mentor, inspire me. My role models include a woman who graduated from law school in the 1960’s and was then one of the first female law firm partners of a big NYC based firm, to various angel and VC investors (men and women) who I am fortunate enough to know. I am drawn to people who are driven, self-aware and who understand the need to lift others up.


The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | A number of years ago I had the good fortune of hearing Glenda Bailey (editor of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine) speak. Glenda talked about attending London Fashion Week right after she had taken the job with Harper’s. As it was the first London Fashion Week she attended as the editor in chief of a U.S. publication vs a European publication, it was a new experience as she was seated across from her “usual” seat for the shows.


As I recall the story, Glenda sat down in her new seat and waved to a familiar face and the entire front row across from her waved back – it was at that moment Glenda realized she had mentored so many people who went on to become editors in chief of major publications. I would like to have a similar legacy of having mentored people to professional success.



Interview Questions

View further interviews.

The Legacy Project

Guy Ailion is one of South Africa’s brightest young architects. The winner of SA’s 2010 National Architectural Student of the Year award for his M.A.Thesis Everywhere is Here: Architecture and a Developing Information Society, his design is informed by a dual fascination with moving images and the urban environment. Not only is he revolutionizing the […]

The Legacy Project

Dave Foord serves as the Chief Investment Officer and Director of Foord Asset Management (Pty) Limited. Dave Foord founded Foord Asset Management in October 1981 when he was 28-years old together with Liston Meintjies. This month marks the companies 33rd birthday. My Definition Of Success | Success to me means having the independence to be […]

The Legacy Project

A legend in the music world with P!NK, Mark Schulman | The Legacy Project is an incredible musician, dynamic performer and a strategic business mind who has parleyed his success on stage into true business success. Unlocking strategies to help audiences Hack the Rockstar Attitude and Boost their R.Q. (Rockstar Quotient), your team will be […]

The Legacy Project

Ernie Els has 70 professional career victories to his name, including four Major Championships, two World Golf Championships and seven World Matchplay titles. He is ranked No.1 in all-time career earnings on the European Tour and is known as “The Big Easy” due to his imposing physical stature, along with his fluid golf swing. I […]

The Legacy Project

Mavericks is a surfing location in Northern California where storm-waves can top out at over 60 feet with many actually being recorded on the Richter Scale!! It is also the home of the Mavericks Big Wave International Surf Contest for a select few of the world’s best big wave surfers. Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker has won […]

The Legacy Project

As an experienced branding and marketing specialist Donna Rachelson is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and women. Donna is a guest lecturer at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) having penned three books. With a wide frame of reference, being a mother and an adventurer, here she generously shares her thoughts with us: Donna Rachelson, Definition […]

Penny Heyns

Penny Heyns TLP is, without doubt, the world’s greatest female breaststroke swimmer of the 20th Century. She is the only woman in Olympic history to win both the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke events in Atlanta 1996 and broke 14 individual world records during her career. Her achievements brought her personal audiences with Nelson Mandela […]

  • South Africa
  • Keynote Speaker
The Legacy Project

In 2009 Ntsoaki Phali decided to become the change she wanted to see — and so began Beyond Ability Talent Solutions, a self-sustaining recruitment agency for the physically disabled. As a former human resources co-ordinator, Phali struggled to meet her employment equity target when recruiting employees with disabilities. She knew it wasn’t for want of […]

The profiles and images embedded on these pages are from various interviews conducted by The Legacy Project.

These remain the property of its owner and are not affiliated with or endorsed by WeSpeak Global.

© All rights reserved 2024. Created by Hesketh Media LLC

1902 Wright Place, Carlsbad, CA, 92008