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Conversations with the Council featuring Eric Kelly, President of Quantum Foundation

“Be kind” are simple yet purposeful words Eric Kelly has instilled in his four children. A loving husband and father, he says, “Kindness is not what you do but who you are.”

As President of the Quantum Foundation, Kelly brings that same sense of decency to his work every day, ensuring the communities they serve experience a better life through quality health and funding initiatives that improve overall wellness and promote change by asking the challenging questions to drive action and provide opportunity. “I believe business and business practice has an impact on the community. Business helps build strong communities, and communities can and do build a strong business.”

As a seven-year member of the Economic Council, his vision for Palm Beach County is to be robust and thriving and to serve the whole county, including the historic areas ripe for revitalization. “People living in those communities need employment. Those communities need to be strengthened for the people to be workforce ready.” More than words, actions that he puts into practice daily both as a servant and adaptive leader. His emphasis is on the growth and well-being of the people around him while accomplishing specific organizational goals. However, he strategically focuses on preparing his team for the inevitable elements of change so they can step up and lead in times of uncertainty. To him, the essence of leadership is, motivating and influencing followers to do what is right. A message reinforced in the book The Conviction to Lead by Dr. Albert Mohler. “It has inspired me professionally and personally. He speaks about the concept of power and the reality that leadership comes with access to and the ability to wield power. Leaders are encouraged to embrace- what Dr. Mohler frames as the morality of power and the accountability of power. These frames, when placed around power, are important guard rails. I was also drawn to a statement repeated in the book: faithful leaders get the right things done in the right way”.

It’s not surprising that this resonates so deeply as Kelly is shaped by faith and through the study of biblical teachings that embody integrity, generosity, courage, and fairness. It is what he represents every day as a change agent in our county, making a difference with purpose and passion and perhaps the inspiration of a very brave six-year-old girl. “The leader that I most admire is a living legend… Ms. Ruby Bridges… little Ruby was just six years old when she had to be escorted by servicemen into a segregated school. She was given a test to see if she could attend an all-white school. She passed the test and became the first African American child to attend the William Frantz Elementary School. She walked with courage and dignity, holding her little briefcase as mobs of people shouted terrible things at her. Today, she continues to promote change through education.”

Learning is a never-ending journey; for Kelly, it’s a reminder to remain steadfast in equitable community building, mentoring tomorrow’s leaders, and serving as a voice for the disinvested areas he serves. He does it with dignity, grace, and, most importantly, kindness.

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