Next Up Columbus 2023: Kelly Lombardo Matthews

Kelly Lombardo Matthews
Kelly Lombardo Matthews

Photo by Jen Brown Photography

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Kelly Lombardo Matthews
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Age: 38
Profession: Marketing Project Manager at EASE Logistics
Neighborhood: Hilliard
Education: Master’s degree in Italian Studies from The Ohio State University, Bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Italism from University of Dayton
Community Involvement: Hope Hollow, Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, LifeCare Alliance, COSI Kinetic Board
Quote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
-Arthur Ashe
Connect: LinkedIn

Give us a snapshot of your path
My path has been a search for the role that helps me build the life I want to live – one that affords me balance and allows me to be a contributor and feel good about the mark I’m making on our community.Along the way I have worked in academic, corporate, and non-profit environments, and established relationships with organizations that I care deeply about. In my work with EASE Logistics as a Marketing Project Manager, I’m afforded a lot of latitude to contribute to the conversations that I know I can help move forward.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
My family gets me up in the morning – quite literally; my husband and I have a three-year-old daughter and a big hound dog. The mornings together are such a warm and cozy part of the day together and I cherish that. I love having a career and I love being engaged in the community. I feel very rewarded by the opportunities that my work, my passion projects, and my volunteerism afford me to connect the dots and bring people, experiences, and resources together for the benefit of our community.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I’ve benefited from so many mentors along the way. My parents are both educators, and in addition to their role as my first and most important teachers, they taught me to embrace learning opportunities – which I am so very thankful for. Most recently, as a member of the inaugural CIRCLE Leadership Program through Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, I had one of the most empowering learning experiences of my life. The other members of my cohort, all incredibly accomplished individuals, have become friends and mentors, as have several of the local leaders I encountered throughout the program.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
With a young family and a lot of passion projects, unwinding is not my strong suit. But as a family, we really appreciate Columbus’ green spaces and take full advantage of our State and Metro Parks. On my own, I like to browse a bookstore (Half Price Books is a favorite!).

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Nicola Restaurant, Caffé DaVinci, Pasqualone’s, and Novella are my favorite spots for Italian food, which I love. For my sweet tooth, I love Bumbles Bake Shop. And back to Caffé DaVinci for the best gelato I’ve had outside of Italy. As a family, we love to go to the Columbus Zoo, libraries, and Clippers games!

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
Always a writer. I remember playing and typing away on my family’s old typewriter (yes, typewriter) as a kid. I’d love to publish something one day. I love the feeling of reading a great book and how it can become a friend, a place of comfort, a challenge, or a turning point in your whole life.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I’m currently rereading “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. I first read it several years ago when it was assigned as summer reading while I was teaching at Bishop Watterson High School. I like to return it here and there for a reset on priorities and perspectives. Highly recommend!

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
This recognition means a lot to me. I’m especially honored to represent the causes I care deeply about and share the news of their good work with our community at large.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
In my experience, the beating heart and the pulse of Columbus are the helpers. We have so many of them here. The individuals I work with and have worked with in the past are some of the greatest helpers and make a great impact on our community. I’m proud to live in our city, there are always people working to make it a better place to live, work, and visit. And the best part is – anyone can get involved and become a helper, too.

The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2023 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2023” »



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