Newscow feature: Kelly Ford is looking forward to a new chapter in her life as Wellington Area Chamber Director

Kelly Ford, future Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Director.

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Kelly Ford of Mayfield was named the new Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director last week. She will start her job on Oct. 18.

For the past two years, Ford has been employed in the City of Wellington clerk’s department, and is owner of The Tarnished Tulip in Mayfield. She attended the Sumner Leadership course and focused her project on revitalizing Mayfield.

Now she hopes to do the same for Wellington. Ford has always been involved in leadership, project management goals, and is drawn to creativity.

“I have the skills to manage people and projects, and bring creativity into it,” Ford said. “The Chamber’s role is vital to the community to make Wellington successful.”

Ford feels that her position at the city was a foundation to understand how the city works, and to meet with community leaders.

“Being a transplant here, I have a blank slate and a different perspective,” she said. “I am able to see people and their projects and listen to their ideas and concerns.”

Ford describes herself as a people pleaser and problem solver, and has many ideas for the city to grow and thrive.

Prior to working for the city, Ford has held many customer service positions, including insurance services and management teams.

“I have a knack for understanding people and understanding their needs,” Ford said. “Everyone who comes into the Chamber office is a customer. People hunger for information and want to be heard. They want to know what’s going on and be acknowledged. I want to know what I can do to make them successful, let them know we are here, and that we care.”

Ford’s last two weeks at the city, then she will hit the ground running.

“It’s important to meet and work with your predecessor,” Ford said. “I have my own ideas and goals, but it’s important to recognize my predecessor, who brought the attributes to Wellington, and you have to respect that, as it helps the city grow more.”

She is replacing Annarose White, who will focus her full attention of starting her business Creative Toys and Beehive Quit Shop and starting a family.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Ford and her husband, Larry, who is the mayor of Mayfield, have lived there for six years. They have one daughter, Wellington High School graduate Madison Barron, who is now a Wichita State University freshman.

As for her store, the Tarnished Tulip, she is planning on opening it in the near future, featuring wood crafts, furniture, signs, and items that appeal to collectors.

“I try to focus on being affordable,” Ford said. “I want everyone to feel like they are part of the community, and to be able to take pride in being able to purchase something and take it home and be part of the community.”

“I decided to invest in flipping a store,” Ford said. “People already come to the community for Mayfield Meats and oil, I wanted to bring vitality back to the community.”

As she and her husband both work full time, determining a time to have a grand opening of the store is a challenge. Ideally, she hopes to have it open by the holiday season.

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