The Kelly file Featured

7:00pm EDT January 26, 2009

Born: California. I lived there for about four months. My father was in the Marine Corps, so I moved around a lot, but most of my life was spent in Virginia. I consider myself a Virginian.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, George Mason University; MBA, Duke University’s School of Business

Very first job: Either mowing lawns or delivering newspapers

Whom do you admire most?

One of the guys, having spent a lot of time in the U.K., is Richard Branson. The reason I admire him is he’s very creative, innovative, and he doesn’t take no for an answer. And he uses every failure as a steppingstone for where he wants to be.

Kelly on continuing recruiting during hard times: There’s a lot of uncertainty out there, and you have a lot of organizations not willing to spend the resources on recruiting because they’re worried about increasing their cost base, which I view as a complete mistake. The successful organizations going forward, and those who are going to make money, are those that use this as the once-in-a-lifetime recruiting opportunity that it is, and there are already organizations saying this is fantastic, I can get individuals right now to move fro m firms. Everyone’s stock is down, so it’s not like you have to pay millions of dollars in unvested stock options. So you have the ability to attract talent you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Not looking at this as an opportunity would be one mistake.

If you could be one superhero, who would you be and why?

Flash, because I think he can get around the globe much faster than I could on an airplane and probably not have the jet lag.

More Kelly: Kelly is the author of the book “CEO: The Low Down on the Top Job,” published in 2008.