I met Kelly Shafer in 2009 while working my summer internship at Suttle & Stalnaker, PLLC, the accounting firm she had been working for since she graduated from college. I learned as much as I could from her that summer, and she became a role model for me almost instantly. She is one of the most hard-working and driven people I know. I still haven’t quite figured out how she does it – and with the poise and patience of a natural leader.
Kelly gives credit to her parents and mentors at work for helping form her value system and support her professional growth. “I think my parents have really shaped my work ethic and been great role models for me to look up to my entire life. I was taught that through hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals, and that’s something that has stuck with me in my career and in life. No matter what I do, I try to give it my all,” she said. “I’ve also had some great mentors professionally at my firm. We have a number of female partners at the top of their fields that have been great examples for me to follow in my career path and always give great advice.”
A native of Cross Lanes, West Virginia, Kelly graduated from Nitro High School before heading to West Virginia University. She graduated summa cum laude from WVU with both a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a Master of Professional Accountancy degree.
Kelly has worked at Suttle & Stalnaker, PLLC since 2004. During her time with the firm, she has earned the professional designation of Certified Public Accountant. Kelly has been honored by the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants as both the 2015 Kathy Eddy West Virginia Young CPA of the Year and the 2017 Women to Watch: Emerging Leader.
Kelly is also the most recent addition to the Member group of Suttle & Stalnaker, PLLC. While women have represented more than 50% of accounting graduates entering the accounting profession for the past 20 or so years, fewer than 20% of partners in accounting firms in the United States are women. Kelly has certainly earned her successes through hard work, commitment, and being an active participant in plotting her own future. Her success serves as encouragement and motivation for other young women and girls seeking careers in male-dominated fields.
Over the course of her professional career thus far, Kelly has also participated in both Leadership Kanawha Valley and Leadership West Virginia, a member of the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2018, respectively. She and her LWV classmates launched the #ChooseWV campaign in 2018, aimed at uniting West Virginians around a common theme of hope for our state and people. She finds inspiration and motivation in “being around like-minded people who want to move our community and state forward. Seeing all the amazing things that people are doing in our community inspires me to do more, be involved, and try to make a difference.”
Some of Kelly’s core values are represented in her involvement as a volunteer for community organizations, such as the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center (KPCC), the Glotfelty Foundation, the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal (RCCR), and Education Elevators. “Feeling like, in some small way, I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life” is her favorite thing about giving back to her community.
Kelly is a former Board Member and President of RCCR. RCCR services span from transitional housing to affordable rental housing for individuals, families, and seniors to home ownership, including counseling and new home development. Kelly is often reminded of the importance of the work of the organization and was recently having dinner with some friends at a local restaurant when the waiter recognized her from her involvement with RCCR. He had graduated from an RCCR program that helped him transition out of homelessness. “It reminded me of the importance of the work we do and was humbling that he remembered me,” Kelly said.
Kelly is also a Board Member and Treasurer for Education Elevators, whose mission is to elevate West Virginia children by fostering mentoring relationships that fuel their curiosity and support their abilities to learn and thrive. Kelly has already seen one of her students graduate from Piedmont Elementary, and she currently mentors a fourth grader at Piedmont through this program. She looks forward to spending time at Piedmont every week. Her favorite part is that she can tell when the students are excited to see her.
“I think it’s so important to find an organization where you connect with the mission. We all have busy lives, so it makes a big difference when volunteering your time if you are invested in the work the organization is doing and can connect on a personal level.”