Faces of SAL: Kelly Cheeseman
December 16, 2020
We have a few new faces on the SAL Board of Directors to introduce to you over the coming weeks! Most of our board members began their SAL journey the same way you did: as readers and event-goers. Learn about the moments that inspired them to get involved more deeply, what they do, where they come from, and what excites them.
Meet Kelly Cheeseman!
What do you do when you’re not doing work for the SAL Board?
I work as a Director of Communications at Amazon leading a global team across 18 countries. I can also be found spending time on Whidbey Island, walking my two dogs, and reading.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and why?
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary because I related to the main character and the emotions he was feeling as a child in the book—a good example of why representation matters in books, showing families and people of all types and scenarios.
Where are you from?
What was your favorite SAL event and why?
I went to an event a few years ago featuring all first-time novelists, and I was just hooked listening to these novelists discuss the passion it took to write their first books.
What’s on your desk?
My iPhone, a laptop, and a stack of books, including “Oggi in Italia,” a workbook for learning and practicing Italian language skills, Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend series, two graphic novels celebrating Wes Anderson movies, and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.
What was the best idea you ever had?
On my first day of work, post-college graduation, as an intern at a PR agency (where I was later hired on full-time), I was asked what accounts I might be interested in joining. Without giving it too much thought, I quickly responded that I wanted to be put on the hardest account. And so I was assigned to the agency’s toughest client and that company, three years later, hired me to come in-house to do PR right as the 2008 economic downturn happened. I was fortunate to be insulated from the recession, unlike many of my peers who graduated around that time, and working for a company that did well despite the downturn. That later led to working in the job I have today, so that quick quip by a pretty scared and inexperienced 22-year-old ended up turning into a pretty fun, wild ride of a career.