Kevin Kellems - President
Kevin Kellems is an analyst and strategist experienced in communications, executive counsel, crisis and media training, and economic development.
Kellems has held senior posts at the White House, Department of Defense, World Bank, U.S. Senate, and state government. He’s also helped direct successful campaigns for dozens of candidates for national, statewide, regional and local offices.
Kellems focuses on differentiating core value over process and technique.
The same skills and strategy that have worked in the public sector also work in the private. We drive growth initiatives for private clients – from sales into government and industry, to advising senior civilian and uniformed military leadership. Successes for The Strategy Center include defense contractors, high-tech start-ups, business and finance consulting firms, public relations, advertising and marketing communications agencies.
Principals have included Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker Newt Gingrich, DNI Dan Coats, as well as CEOs. Kellems served as White House Communications Director and Press Secretary to Vice President Richard B. Cheney; Special Advisor and Director of Strategic Communications in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Director of Strategy, and Acting Vice President of The World Bank; and regional reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Kevin has traveled to 71 countries and 49 states, where he met with several heads of state; defense, finance and foreign ministers; major corporate leaders, Pope John Paul II, President Nelson Mandela and Queen Rania of Jordan.
The CEO/Editor of The Dispatch and Fox News contributor Stephen F. Hayes has described Kellems as someone with “an unparalleled ability to see how an event, issue or controversy will play five or six news cycles after it breaks. The analogy I think of is (hockey legend) Wayne Gretzky’s ability to see a play develop four passes before his team scored a goal.”
Kellems earned an M.A. in national security studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a B.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University. Kevin Kellems is a recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service – the highest civilian award presented by the Secretary of Defense.
Leslie Craven - Senior Advisor
Leslie is a high impact strategist with in-depth knowledge of government, public relations, philanthropy, communications and marketing.
Known for her energy, expansive network and dedication to client success, Craven has effectively served in roles such as National Campaign Director, Political Director, Chief of Staff, Director of Public and Government Relations, Lead Fundraiser, and Coalition and Volunteer Coordinator.
A strategic thinker and a dynamic communicator, she has worked with the campaigns of Speaker Newt Gingrich, President George W. Bush, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, as well as several members of congress and state officeholders. She has been recognized as a top strategist by Campaigns and Elections magazine.
Craven also has managed government and public relations for automotive and finance companies in 20 states - by developing key relationships, creating partnerships, assembling coalitions and building community awareness.
As President of a full-service strategic communications, marketing and public relations firm based in Greenville, South Carolina, Craven combines public affairs, public relations and grassroots coalition building to maximize impact and drive results.
Leslie serves on several philanthropic boards including: Cancer Society, Myers Center for Special Needs Children, Lindley’s Alliance, The Rose Ball Committee and the St. Francis Foundation.
Pat Polley - Executive Assistant
Although her title is Executive Assistant, we decided "Office Rock Star" best describes Pat's role on the team. She has her hand in just about everything, keeps us in line and gets it all done. Polley's efforts support both the organization and the clients. She is a graduate of SUNY - Empire State College.
Pat spent years in corporate accounting, finance and small office management, before joining The Strategy Center team. She likes long walks on the beach, good food and cheap wine. Pat considers a willingness to learn and her ability to multi-task among her greatest assets.