SOMEONE I ADMIRE: Brendan O’Keeffe, my Co-Founder! SOMETHING I'M REALLY PROUD OF: Forbes 30U30 AND getting Masters @ 23. SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME LAUGH: The Chapelle Show. SOMETHING I CANNOT DO WITHOUT: Space to create.
Reshaping the future of workforce recruitment
LEADING THE PATH. Kelsey Davis’ path to entrepreneurship began when she identified a problem: “I was working 9-5 during the day for a gigantic brand, freelancing at night, attending Syracuse University full time, and trying to balance these two worlds and their collective pain points when it just hit me: why can’t there be a better way for creators and brands to connect more organically, more effectively?” Kelsey had observed that freelancers are disadvantaged - they do not benefit from the same resources and support that full-time employees enjoy- and she determined that “it was time for the creators to connect with big brands like Coke, Land Rover, Puma - instead of the reverse.”
Kelsey notes, “Becoming an entrepreneur has been surreal, because I didn’t really have a product or tech background—but I really understood brands.” Kelsey’s understanding, leadership skills, and affinity for community-building became the foundation of CLLCTVE, the portfolio platform connecting creators to opportunities.
The success of CLLCTVE has forced Kelsey to become comfortable with growth and expansion: she raised capital, participated in entrepreneurial accelerators like TechStars, and Kelsey grew her team from three to twelve very quickly. “Then there I was, a leader of others, not just of ideas. It was surreal and exciting,” she says. As quickly as her team grew, so did Kelsey’s involvement and participation in additional social and professional circles. She notes, “Even the way I’ve been able to find new communities, outside of being black, outside of being a woman, has been really interesting and certainly exciting.”
DEVELOPING CONSCIENTIOUSNESS. While Kelsey’s queerness is a component of her personal and professional life, she feels that her race and her gender are more visible and more consequential. Perhaps the intersection of her identities is the source of her conscientiousness. She notes, “I ask myself, ‘Who do I want to be publicly? Who do I want to be privately?’—and these are things I think about all the time because I want to be my truest self everyday, and not just a collection of facts in a bio.”
Kelsey believes others would also benefit from self-exploration and intentionality, adding that “every founder, every person should have their own process or moral compass for how they identify the spaces that they want to explore and engage in—instead of believing you have to accept what other people tell you, you should or have to do.” That right to self-determination is part of Kelsey’s success, and something she hopes others can find for themselves. She notes, “I love what I’m doing and I love why I’m doing it. At the end of the day, I want that to be seen first, before anything else. I can see the future, and I just want others to see it too.”