Dave Kelly is America’s Student Leadership Trainersm and America’s Community Service Advocatesm. As a professional speaker, trainer, motivator, and team builder he teaches students how to develop their leadership skills, run their campus organizations more effectively, and become serving leaders. An expert on leadership, organizational success, and community service, he has spoken and trained more than 300 times on college and university campuses and for over 70 higher education and youth conferences and events across the United States. He brings humor, energy, and fun to all of his presentations.
Dave is an associate member of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) and has been a two-time finalist for APCA Campus Speaker of the Year. He is the founder and national coordinator of APCA’s community service initiative APCA Serves! Additionally, he is an associate member of and keynote speaker for the American Student Government Association (ASGA). His keynotes and training programs are highly interactive, content rich, and provide tools students can use immediately!
Dave was a professional mortgage broker for 25 years, including ten years as founder and owner of a multi-state mortgage company. He served on the board of directors of the Georgia Equity Lenders/Mortgage Association from 1993 to 2003, including two years as president. Dave also spent more than 17 years in the restaurant industry during high school, college, and alongside of his mortgage and speaking careers.
A native of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Dave is a graduate of University Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UW-Oshkosh). While there, he was involved in student government as a member of the student assembly, three terms in the student senate, and was Vice President Pro-Tempore of the Oshkosh Student Association (OSA). He also was Legislative Affairs Director for OSA and the state-wide association, the United Council of UW-System Student Governments. Additionally, he is a member of the Alpha Lamda Delta honor society and served as chapter secretary.
He double-majored in political science and speech, with an emphasis in theatre arts, a minor in religion and graduated cum laude. He was named as an Outstanding Senior, recognized as a member of Who’s Who In American Colleges and Universities, and was named an Outstanding Young Alumni by the University in 1996.
While in high school, Dave joined Key Club, a sponsored youth organization of Kiwanis. He was soon elected to the position of Lt. Governor. He won two Outstanding Lt. Governor Awards, one from the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District and the other from Key Club International. Upon entering college, he immediately joined the UW-Oshkosh Circle K club, a collegiate service and leadership organization also sponsored by Kiwanis, and was appointed Lt. Governor. He subsequently became Governor of the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District and later ran for Circle K International Vice President. After serving a year as Vice President, in 1982 Dave was elected to the highest position in the 14,000-member organization, International President, for which he served a one year term.
A Kiwanian since 1988, Dave is a past distinguished club secretary, president and Lt. Governor. He served as the District Administrator for the Georgia District of Circle K International for nine years and has been working with college students for over 20 years. Moreover, he is a nine-time Circle K International Distinguished District Administrator award winner and a recipient of the Georgia District of Key Club Frank J. Powers Award. He was inducted into the Georgia Circle K District Hall of Fame in 2001, which was renamed in his honor at the same time. Because of his volunteer work through Kiwanis, Dave was selected to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay in 1996.
Dave has been a Lead Facilitator for the Kiwanis International Key Leader program and was also a certified trainer for both Circle K and Kiwanis International. Dave’s experiences with students, in business, and through civic involvement give him a unique perspective and allow him to offer practical examples in his presentations.
Dave has published one book, “Gonzo’s Little Book of Motivation”, a chapbook, “The Courage to Serve”, and over 75 editions of his newsletter, “Gonzo Motivation Newsletter”. He has also had more than 25 magazine articles published and posted over 60 blog submissions. A prolific writer, he also regularly submits articles for the newsletters and publications of his clients.
A survivor of prostate cancer, Dave advocates to his audience members to tell men they know and love who are over the age of 40 to get their P.S.A. tested. It is a simple blood test that checks the level of a man’s prostate-specific antigen in his blood. The blood is taken through the arm and, as Dave says, “The test could save their life – it did mine!” He has been cancer-free since 2011!
An avid Green Bay Packers Fan and shareholder, Dave is a sports enthusiast. He is married to the former Dia Stokes of Hillsborough, North Carolina and has two daughters. The whole family attends Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Georgia.