When I was 16 years old I went to Guatemala on a service trip with Habitat for Humanity and my world hasn't been the same since. I think this was the first time I felt happiness in its purest form. It was like my world had been spinning slightly off-kilter and it found the perfect balance when being part of something greater than myself. In undergrad, I studied accounting as a way to "play it safe" and ensure I had job security. I found other outlets to service by building social responsibility culture where I worked and embarking on another Habitat for Humanity build in Cambodia. But it wasn't enough. I knew I needed to feel connected to the work I was doing and have a job that aligned with my personality, spirit, and beliefs. I left the accounting world behind and began my journey working for non-profit organizations. I went back to school to earn my MBA in Social Impact from Boston University as well as a Digital Marketing Certificate from Cornell University. I love being in the classroom and believe that learning is something that is never complete. I wanted to leverage my educational experiences to move the needle for the causes I worked with.

In working at non-profits I thought it was my responsibility to teach, guide, and help the populations that I served. But I was wrong. The truth is, I learned more from them then they could ever learn from me. Some of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned were not taught in the classroom. When I worked with inner-city youth I learned that there is nothing more important than a child confiding in you their fears, hopes, and dreams. I learned that sometimes the kids that were the hardest to love were the ones that needed it the most. I learned that there is always more to the story and to listen with patience and grace until you could fully understand a different perspective. And at 9pm on a Friday when students would rather stay in school making paper snowflakes, it was because that building was their safe haven and sometimes just showing up is enough. In working with kids with cancer I learned the definition of resilience. I learned that you don't give up. Ever. Regardless of the odds stacked against you. I learned that the human spirit is stronger than our bodies and we are capable of so much more than we even know. I learned how to find happiness every day and to focus on the good. I saw miracles. And in moments where there was heartbreak, I saw communities mobilize and rally to support and love. Lastly, in working with veterans I learned about loyalty, patriotism, and what a true sense of community feels like. Countless times when I asked "why did you enlist" I was met with the simplest of replies; "9/11", "to protect my country and our way of life", "to serve". The helpers and heroes are everywhere. I learned to focus less on the destruction and despair and more on the people that run towards it.

I wouldn't trade these lessons for anything as they shaped the person I would become and continue to become every day. These lessons I've learned are the foundation in which I built Lively. I started this organization as a way to bring digital marketing expertise to people and businesses that are driving social change and to build a company culture that I believe in.

I started this organization as a way to bring digital marketing expertise to people and businesses that are driving social change and to build a company culture that I believe in.

Lively is so much more than a business to me - it's a home. It's a home for those who see the world for what it can be, rather than what it is. It's a home for those wired for helping and believe we rise by lifting others. It's a home for the rebellious spirits, dreamers, and doers of the world who consistently reject complacency and challenge the status quo. It's a home for those who come alive when they hear the words "it can't be done" because their unwavering belief that all things are possible can't be shaken and to solve these problems lights a fire in their soul.

Lively is defined as full of life and energy, active and outgoing, intellectually stimulating and perceptive. Our name stems from the desire to work with companies, people, and ideas that live this definition. We work with those whose energy and excitement for life is contagious and guides their dreams and decisions. We work with those that continue to learn, wonder, and grow every day. We work with those who are guided by intuition and curiosity. We work with companies and people who, like us, are Lively.

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Kelly O'Donnell

A lively, passionate, results-driven digital marketer.