Interview with Kelly Springer, Founder of Kelly's Choice Nutritional Company
Kelly Springer began Kelly’s Choice in 2012, and the nutritional company has quickly grown its presence through national TV appearances, virtual nutrition programs and a commitment to simplify nutrition for Americans. They offer customized nutrition coaching programs for schools, workplaces, medical facilities, athletes and anyone who wants better health, performance and happiness. Before being a founder Kelly was the Division Dietitian at Wegmans Food Markets, spearheading the company’s workplace wellness program.
Who are your biggest influences?
I have been fortunate to have many positive influences in my life and, as a female and a business owner, I am proud to say that many of them have been and are women.
First and foremost, there was my grandmother, Pauline Tennant. She taught me about faith and the importance of love. She was an amazing mother, grandmother, friend and wife. She was the first person to help me believe it was possible to have it all –loving family, successful career, wonderful friendships.
Beyond my grandmother, I’ve been influenced by a host of other incredible females, including, Kathy Scholl, one of my first bosses. I credit Kathy with teaching me the importance of teamwork, as well as how to lead in a positive and effective way.
I also have to give high credit to my Administrator, Cindy Debbold. She is a steady, positive force in my life and I know it would not have been possible to reach my current level of professional success without her. When I had three nickels to rub together, Cindy encouraged me to start Kelly’s Choice. I was terrified at the thought of taking such a risk, but she cheered me on – she knew me and she was accurate about matching my skills with what she knew the market wanted and needed.
What drove you to start your company or firm?
In 2011, I was working for Wegmans as their Employee Wellness Dietitian. The role was so effective that I knew I had to build out the concept and take it to other companies and employers. I understood that not all companies would have the same wellness budget as Wegmans, so I set about building a comprehensive platform to effectively arm employees with nutrition knowledge and actionable tools. The platform allows both small and large employers, alike, to tap into wellness education for their staff without the overhead of trying to build something from scratch, in-house. In 2012, I started Kelly’s Choice and have now helped over 100 companies.
Here at Boston Private we understand that wealth rarely has to do with money. What is your wealth really for? Tell us a little bit about what motivates you – the Why behind your passion and Why you work so hard to achieve your goals?
My early childhood was truly the definition of charmed and I wanted for absolutely nothing. However, at age 14, my family’s circumstances changed drastically and we lost everything we had. When I left for college at 17 years old, I was handed five dollars and, from that point on, had to be fully financially independent.
The loss of my family’s monetary wealth had a profound impact on me and is a huge part of what motivates me to work so hard today. It impressed upon me the importance of creating lasting financial security and, also, the importance of always being able to support myself and my family.
However, at the end of the day, my biggest passion is my desire to help others – my own family and the clients I serve. Seeing my clients succeed in their individual wellness journeys, helping them up when they struggle, and giving hope to those who have lost it give me endless motivation.
As a business person, what has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I had 7 years of higher education and only one business course. This is a perennial challenge! I was trained to be a dietitian, not a business person. I have had to ask a lot of questions, be open to advice, and resilient enough to take some hard knocks. However, most days I love the challenge of it all. It is fun to learn a whole new vocabulary and meet amazingly talented people. My advice to anyone who is in my shoes: ASK for what you want and need.! You may be told “no”, and that is ok. Generally, people are good and will help you in any way they can.
What are some of the things you have learned about yourself that surprised you most?
I set out to be a stay at home mom and had no long-term professional aspiration…did I just surprise every reader? Every day I wake up, I can’t believe that I own a company that has a national client-base and that I built this business brick by figurative brick. Moreover, I cannot believe how much I love my job. Although owning my own business was never part of my specific dream, I believe life gives you what you need.
I’ve also learned that I’m a pretty darn good public speaker! I’ll never forget being called and asked to be a guest on Good Morning America. I was so nervous before I went on the air that morning, and was grateful my two young daughters were there, in-studio, to keep me grounded.
When my segment was finished filming, I stood with my girls outside of a dressing room with my name on the door and I said to them, “I hope this shows you that you girls can do anything you set your mind to!” The coolest part, is that they already knew that.
“If I could spend 30 minutes with a person of import, it would be….
Oprah Winfrey – no question about it! She has helped so many people and I would love to learn from her and then join her in her mission! She has such profound empathy for the struggle people have with nutrition because she has struggled herself. I love the way she connects with others and puts herself in their shoes.
My favorite part of the day is?
Although I love most parts of the day, morning is becoming a favorite time. Although, historically, no two days are ever the same for me, of late, my mornings have become fairly consistent.
I am in no way a morning person, but for some reason I now love waking up with my kids for school. My girls are almost 14 and 12 years old and they are so enjoyable. We turn some fun music and sing and dance while my partner, Greg, makes us breakfast. After dropping the girls off at school, I love to use any free time my morning offers to run or walk with my friends. It is usually a therapy session and I get out all my concerns and I am way more productive.
Kelly’s Choice is a collective of registered dietitians, nutritionists and educators dedicated to improving our communities by transforming diets. We offer customized nutrition coaching programs for schools, workplaces, medical facilities, athletes and anyone who wants better health, performance and happiness. We strongly believe that a person who adjusts their diet to “real” food will live a healthier life – and we have the research to back up that belief. Kelly’s Choice nutrition plans make ample use of real, unprocessed foods and seek to supply vitamins and nutrients from the foods we eat.