Kelly brings boundless energy and passion to her trainings and deep empathy and understanding to her coaching sessions. But she’s no pushover: Kelly’s dedication to creating informed leaders and culturally conscious communities drives her to hold people accountable and nudge them toward personal progress. As a passionate educator and leader, Kelly strives to reach every learner in the room. By making topics active and relevant to participants’ daily lives, she invites each person to share, contemplate, discuss, and become an integral part of the experience while feeling safe and supported.
Previously, Kelly facilitated award-winning residential service-learning experiences for high school students and staff at the Civic Education Project (CEP), and partnered with six Boston public schools and a career center to connect struggling young people to employment opportunities through the Year 13 program. Kelly works across sector and in her 18+ years of working with individuals of all ages and from diverse backgrounds, she has trained over 25,000 people on topics ranging from creating social change, diversity & inclusion, and intercultural competency, to navigating difficult conversations, situational leadership, and effective facilitation.
Kelly currently serves on the National Advisory Board for Equity in the Center, an initiative that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Kelly holds a Master of Science degree in Social Responsibility from St. Cloud State University where she has also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in Human Relations and Multicultural Education. Kelly currently serves as Adjunct Faculty for Northwestern University in the School of Education and Social Policy and has previously taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas. Kelly draws upon her classroom experiences to root her trainings in research and theory, but always circles back to how principles apply to individuals, urging them to practice skills that improve performance, foster growth, and nurture effective leaders.
Kelly’s work creates stronger people, teams, and communities. When she partners with your organization, you’ll see how quickly her trainings transform your workplace into an environment that fosters and retains devoted employees.
Kourtney Cockrell is the Founding Director of Student Enrichment Services at Northwestern University, an office that works with students coming from first-generation, lower-income, and/or undocumented backgrounds. Kourtney has spent 20 years working with organizations to increase access and opportunity for marginalized students and young professionals across higher education and the nonprofit and private sectors.
Kourtney recently co-founded the FGLI Consortium, a national organization, providing leadership, expertise, and resources around the experience of first-generation and/or lower-income college students at highly selective universities and colleges. Kourtney is a faculty member in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and has also provided consulting services with Johns Hopkins University and Washington University in St. Louis.
Prior to working with Student Enrichment Services, Kourtney worked with The Posse Foundation as the National Director of Career and Alumni Programs, served as an Admissions Officer with the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and acted as National Diversity Recruiting Manager with McMaster-Carr.
Kourtney has expertise in college access, social justice education, organizational change, nonprofit management, and talent management. Kourtney earned her BA in African-American Studies and Sociology at the University of Michigan and her MS in Learning and Organizational Change from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern.