Next Up Columbus 2024: Kelsea Cozad

Kelsey Cozad

Kelsey Cozad

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Kelsea Cozad
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Age: 32
Profession: Head of Marketing and Communications of the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Neighborhood: Hilliard
Education: University of Kentucky
Community Involvement: Manager, Social Meda – Sleep in Heavenly Peace – OH Hilliard, Member – Hilliard Chamber of Commerce, Grant Reader – Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
Motto: “You are your best thing.” – Toni Morrison
Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram

Give us a snapshot of your path
I started my career as a digital marketing generalist in agencies in Columbus. I quickly found my niche in social media marketing and PR/Crisis management. I’ve led several brands through “unprecedented” times, from Root Insurance’s COVID and BLM response, to helping Abercrombie and Fitch launch their corporate purpose while Netflix aired their problematic past in a documentary. After experiencing a reduction in force in 2022, I went viral on LinkedIn for my vulnerability. I documented every moment of my unemployment and pivoted that low point into a role leading the organic social media strategy team at EXPRESS. I managed that team for two years before pivoting to my current position heading up Marketing and Communications at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority. I truly love this city!

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
My faith powers everything I do. It’s the well I draw from for all things. It’s where I get my love for my family, my hope in dark times, my motivation and my drive. I can because God said so.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
A mentor of mine told me early in my career to stop worrying about whether or not I’m making the right or wrong decision, and, instead, to trust that I have the power to make whatever I decide the right decision. That advice changed my life and guides me to this day.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
Unwinding for me looks like dinner at Speck with my girlfriends, a walk around my neighborhood with my family on a summer evening, or a long Facetime call with my mom.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
I love Columbus for all of the same reasons you do: the community, the art, the food, the drinks, the celebrations and the wealth of knowledge and history. As a wife and mom, I spend a lot of time at family friendly places like any Columbus Metro Park, COSI, every Columbus Metropolitan Library, and, of course, the zoo.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist. My mother and brother like to tease me because they discovered an old VHS I had recorded in secret where I was anchoring “Kelsea News,” by myself in my bedroom. Thank goodness YouTube wasn’t around in the 90s.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I’m reading “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, “Mad Honey,” by Jodi Picoult and “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Podcasts I’m loving are “Individual Contributor” and “The Read.”

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I’m flattered and humbled at the recognition and truly hope it encourages anyone experiencing a hard time in their career or personal life. There is a mountain on the other side of the valley you’re walking through.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Columbus is inclusive. No matter who you are, what you look like, how you think or what you’re about — there’s a place for you in Columbus.

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 2024 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Edison Brewing Co. for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2024” »


Comments are closed.