Member Spotlight: NYLMA President Kelly MacKinnon

by Sander Coxe on May 15, 2014

MacKinnon Kelly 2014Our Member Spotlight focuses on our tireless Metro New York chapter president Kelly MacKinnon, Business Development Manager at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison.  Those who know Kelly have experienced first-hand her infectious energy and positivity.  Interviewing her was a true blast.

When we started researching “K.Mack” – apologies for the hackneyed use of that pop culture nod but it just works too well here – we were struck by something a former colleague said on LinkedIn that really seemed to capture her, and we think it needs to be shared here:

“No office is complete without your own Kelly Mack. She is a force of nature, barely contained by mere cubicle walls. Hilariously funny, always positive, a great teammate, and last but not least, the proud founder of the original ‘Friday Club’. Our office has not been the same since her sad departure.”

Kelly never stops moving – or talking – and we mean that in the best way. We think you will see that right from the interview.  Enjoy.

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How did you start out in your career and what brought you to legal marketing?

After graduating from Brown University, I started in the events and promotions group at Bon Appetit magazine but soon followed my love for ice hockey to the broadcasting department at the National Hockey League.  After several years in sports, I decided that I wanted to take a different career path and entered the world of professional services marketing with the Northeast Consumer Business group at Deloitte. Shortly thereafter, I came to Paul Weiss where I have been since 2007 in various client and business development roles.

I love hockey too – tell us more about that please!

Kelly child hockeyI played field hockey and ice hockey all through my youth and four years at Brown.  I started playing in net at the age of 11 playing with the boys’ teams in my area.  I hung up my skates a couple years back but still play competitive field hockey here in the city.  In fact, too many of my vacation days are to play tournaments including an amazing tour to Germany a few years ago.

Where did you grow up? 

I was born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island.

Uh-oh. So you’re an Islanders fan? 

YES.  I was born and raised to bleed blue and orange and am so excited they are moving to Brooklyn next year. My favorite player growing up was goalie Kelly Hrudey.  I cried in school when he got traded to the Los Angeles Kings.  Fast forward 15 years and he became a good friend through my job with the NHL. And yes, I consistently reminded him that he was dreamy way back when.

What was your first job?

I was a counselor at a hockey camp tying skates and teaching 5-15 year old boys and girls how to play ice hockey.

How did you get into legal marketing?

I grew up working for my Dad’s small law firm on Long Island so when I opted to switch careers from professional sports to a more corporate industry, I knew that it was only a matter of time until I migrated to a law firm. When the recruiter found me at Deloitte, I jumped at the opportunity. I am kicking myself for not getting into the industry sooner.

What makes a good legal marketer?

Enthusiasm, patience, ability to tactfully challenge tradition

What’s the best thing about your job?  

I love to see the excitement when it finally clicks and the partner buys into an idea or gets a long sought after client. 

What’s the worst thing about your job?

I wish I could give my lawyers three more hours a day to execute on all the business development ideas they have. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current job?

I would have pursued being in on-air broadcasting.

Where do you live?

Hell’s Kitchen. After five years, my patience is paying off with new fabulous restaurants, pubs and shops opening almost daily – it is really starting to become a happening neighborhood.  I love it!

Where else have you lived?

I have spent most of my post-college days in Manhattan but I did have a brief stint in Harbin, China while coaching the Chinese Women’s National Ice Hockey Team and running their on and off ice program.

Wow! You were a professional ice hockey coach? Tell us about that.

Kelly goalieYes, I have coached for many years.  Boys, girls, women, and men.  I played goalie most of my playing career and focused mainly on teaching net minders tips and tricks to stop the puck.  But my coaching career culminated with my being selected as Head Coach of the Chinese Women’s Team in 2008.

That’s pretty terrific stuff.  Is that the highlight of your life in hockey?

That was definitely a cool experience and a highlight but my most memorable hockey memory was watching The Great Ray Bourque win his first and only Stanley Cup. After almost 22 seasons, the Colorado Avalanche beat the Devils in game 6 to force a game 7 back at home. I have never seen a bigger smile as Bourque drove away from the rink with Lord Stanley strapped into the passenger seat. It was a moment you cannot help but get swept up by and one I relive every year during the race for the cup.

All right. Sorry, enough hockey already – let’s get back to this.   Tell us more about the other sides of K.Mack.   What’s currently on your i-Pod?

My headphones are almost an appendage at this point. I love all types of music (especially Country!) Some other favorites that come right to mind are Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, One Republic, Linkin Park, and Matt Nathanson.  Of course Blake Shelton and his CMA co-host Luke Bryan. Nothing gets me through a tough day like some new music downloads.

Where’s your favorite place to go to relax (locally or abroad)?

Most of my time spent away from the office is on adventures – climbing Kilimanjaro, playing field hockey in Germany, chasing the wildebeest migration through the deserts of Tanzania or finding fresh powder. I am not really good at sitting still even when on a beach with a cocktail. Locally, I head out to my parents’ house out on Long Island, dubbed Rancho Relaxo, to recharge and get some home cooking.

What’s your favorite television show (guilty pleasure)?

I have a love/hate relationship with my DVR.   Too many good choices every night. I am super into crime shows – the Blacklist, Hawaii 501, NCIS, Bones, Blue Bloods, etc. but will fully admit to not missing an episode of Downton Abbey or Hart of Dixie.

What’s your favorite restaurant or cuisine?

Good simple Italian food is my favorite hands down. Nothing beats a good Chicken Parm with a side of Penne Vodka.

Me too.  Let’s go. I’m buying.

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 Coxe AlexanderAlexander Coxe is Director of Marketing and Communications for Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP

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