Kelly Smith Aceituno
Senior Vice President
Kelly Smith Aceituno is a Senior Vice President at Prosek Partners where she advices both public and private companies on external and internal communication strategies. She is an experienced strategic advisor to some of the world’s leading investment management, financial services and healthcare firms. Kelly has a track record of helping organizations navigate through times of change, raise brand awareness, and protect their reputations. In addition to building impactful integrated communications programs, Kelly has extensive experience in financial communications, crisis communications, internal communications, and managing dynamic, multicultural teams.
As the former Global Head of Media Relations at Barings, she built a globally dispersed team of high-performing media relations and social media experts. Kelly knows the complexities of the financial and business media in markets across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and how to build programs that drive business impact for key stakeholders across geographies. Prior to Barings, Kelly launched the US media relations function at Allianz Global Investors. She started her career advising hedge funds, private equity firms, and traditional asset managers at Abernathy MacGregor.
She is an advocate for diversity within the investment management industry and is passionate about helping organizations identify, cultivate and raise the profile of women and underrepresented talent.
Kelly graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
Q & A
What are you most proud of in your public relations career?
First, getting my foot in the door. Coming from a working class background, I worked office jobs throughout high school and college. I didn’t have fancy internships on my resume, my grades would have probably been better if I wasn’t juggling work and school, and I didn’t have any connections when I entered the corporate world. Through some hustle and good luck, I found my calling in public relations. It’s because of my experience that I try to mentor college students today and give a chance to those that don’t appear remarkable at first glance.
The second, quickly rising through the ranks at Abernathy MacGregor and making Vice President within five years from when I started as a receptionist. My grandfather was the eldest of twelve kids. To support his family, he often missed and ultimately completely left, school by the time he was a young teen. He never learned how to read or write. Illiteracy is an unfortunate truth in my family’s history. My father cried when I made VP, and couldn’t believe how far we had come in just two generations. The American Dream!
How would your mother describe you?
Passionate, hardworking, persuasive, and levelheaded.
My husband would say relentless!
What are your greatest strengths as a public relations practitioner?
My passion for collaboration. My love for learning. The thrill of securing a media placement that drives business impact. I tend to come from a place of yes, and let the details sort themselves out.
My goal is to never be the smartest person in the room.
What is your favorite food?
Anything Italian. Pizza holds a special place in my heart – the simplicity and decadence.
Describe your perfect client.
The best clients approach our relationship together as true partners, they are open to new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking.
What three hobbies or activities do you enjoy most?
Hobbies?! With two toddlers, I longingly think back to the days when I could travel around Europe or enjoy a cocktail poolside at a Caribbean resort. Now, I spend my free time enjoying every minute of my children. The days are long, but the years are short!