Kelly Leighton is an accomplished communications, marketing and business development executive, driven by a passion for connecting brands and people through meaningful experiences and purposeful engagements. She is part of Look East’s association management team where she leads growth and development for The Center for Food Integrity.
Kelly spent her formative years on her grandparent’s farm and canning operation in Georgia, where she had a front-row seat to the process of how the vegetables are grown on the family farm, then harvested, canned and sold on grocery shelves under the Margaret Holmes brand name (her great-grandmother).
From that early age, Kelly developed an interest in and passion for how our food is grown, processed, packaged, marketed and ultimately consumed. Kelly turned that curiosity around the “how”, into a career articulating the “why” and the “how-to” – a career steeped in the importance of honest communication and humanizing brands through storytelling.
With 20 years of leadership experience, Kelly has created communications and marketing strategies for organizations including The Coca-Cola Company, Turner Broadcasting, Cargill, the NBA and a number of emerging CPG brands. At The Center for Food Integrity, she leads member development, facilitates stakeholder engagement and helps organizations across the food/ag value chain build trust in today’s food system.
Kelly earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), while competing as a middle-distance runner on the UGA track team. She and her family now make their home in Minneapolis, where Kelly continues to enjoy running around Lake Minnetonka or exploring the great outdoors with her children.