Kelly Brown is co-owner of Brown’s Brewing Company and an obvious choice as our first Lady in Leadership. Her work ethic, sense of responsibility for the people in her life, and genuine positivity are apparent to anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing her.
Kelly has been an integral part of Brown’s Brewing Company since inception. She and her husband own and run the business together and their complementing strengths make them an incredible team. Kelly’s first career was as a flight attendant while Garry was working as a photojournalist, pursuing homebrewing as a hobby. They risked their entire life savings to purchase the building in Troy on the Hudson River in 1990 with the vision of recreating the wonderful experiences they shared at breweries on the West Coast. Kelly’s first memories of property ownership were less than glamorous – she spent many hours in what is now the stunning first floor dining room and bar shoveling the mess left by the previous tenants – pigeons. What continues to impress me about Kelly is that she has been involved in each part of the business all along the way – though she admits that brewing is Garry’s domain. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, you will find her at the farmer’s market pouring samples, with vendors planning events, even choosing the merchandise and designs for the taprooms. Her sense of responsibility to each of the 160 people on their team and to the image that the business projects is a large part of why they maintain such success and strong reputation year after year.
They opened in February of 1993, yet the Capital Region wasn’t quite ready for a standalone brewery, which is why they now have a taproom (at each location). Kelly said they weren’t chefs or restauranteurs, so that didn’t come easy for them, but if that’s what it took to serve the community and support the brewery they believed in, they would figure out how to run a restaurant too. They now have restaurants at both Brown’s Brewing Company locations with innovative menus and award-winning wings! The lesson from this is that if you have a dream, don’t be so set on the first version of what that dream is that you’re unwilling to try different variations to make it work. This isn’t to say that one should compromise their standards but being flexible and willing to try new things will give you the opportunity to create something more than what you had first envisioned.
Kelly has a positive energy that cannot be disregarded when considering the trajectory of her personal and professional success. Her sincerity and passion are contagious. JoAnn IPA is the beer she created in honor of her mother and you can’t help but tear up with her as she talks about what this project means to her. JoAnn was a home gardener and a bouquet of flowers arranged by Kelly became the inspiration for the can art. She themes can release events with games, bouquets of flowers, and Brown’s Brewing Company gifts galore – honoring her mother’s love of games of chance, fresh flowers, and her unending generosity. (Kelly said she catches herself, standing on her front porch telling friends and family as they leave to “call when you get home” and “wait, I have something for you,” just like her mother used to do.) Kelly mentions being a mother to her three daughters, Abigail, Nora, and Mageean is her life’s greatest achievement and most rewarding job. Kelly says, “I’m so grateful to my business for allowing me to always be there for my girls’ milestones and in the early years to just be at home and raise my babies with the support of Garry.”
It is inspiring to meet someone who is so emotionally invested in their career and how they are serving the community. If we all pursued a career in which we believed so strongly and cared so deeply, what could we achieve?
I pay attention to how I feel when I leave the presence of someone. Do I leave feeling drained or invigorated? Anxious or at ease? I also consider how I want people to feel when they walk away from me or hang up the phone. THIS is the biggest reason I gravitate towards Kelly Brown. I leave inspired to work harder so that I can better care for my personal and professional families. I am reminded to act in love and not be afraid to show my enthusiasm and love for people and projects. I want to offer support to others as she has offered to me. This is what Lady Date is all about! Join me in recognizing Kelly Brown as our very first Lady in Leadership!!
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