Ashia Ruth Kelly

Ashia Ruth Kelly

By MPI Foundation | Mar 2, 2023

Ashia Ruth Kelly, KPMG Emerging Professional Award Recipient 2022-2023

How did your journey begin in this industry, and how has your involvement changed over time?

My journey in this industry began when I was in the 7th grade. It was our school's first ever middle school dance! Once I found out that they were hosting one I immediately went to the vice president and asked if I could help organize it. She saw that I had this hunger and passion in my eyes for this. Therefore, she agreed and allowed me to organize the entire thing. I sold tickets, arranged the food and snacks, came up with a theme and put-up decorations.

After the dance was a success, I began to plan several other events such as charity events and community events for my Church. Later I became a Corporate Meeting Planner for Work Force Career Readiness. Then in late 2020 I was honored by Long Island Business with their Next Gen award. I now attend Penn State University studying Hospitality and Management.

Please share your engagement in the industry or profession. What are you most proud of accomplishing or being part of?

I am a member of MPI’s “Power of Two” mentor program. This program has helped me grow as a person. I have gained so much knowledge and support from this program. Not only have I learned a lot, but I have gained great networking and communication skills. I am proud of the networking skills I have developed. Those skills have allowed me to meet, and connect with, many helpful people in the industry.

What are your professional goals, and how does this scholarship support your goals?

By receiving this scholarship, I will be able to continue developing the skills and competencies to organize diverse community events. I am currently enrolled at Penn State University in the Hospitality and Management Program getting my Bachelor's degree. Being awarded this scholarship would help me finish my time here at Penn State off strong and will highlight some of my accomplishments in this field. It will also enhance my leadership attributes and help me become a better planner. I am also involved as a key event planning member of my Church’s Community outreach team.

How does it feel to receive this award?

I am so honored to be awarded with this scholarship. These funds will be used to help fund my expenses for my Spring Semester of 2023 at the Florence University of the Arts, where I will be studying abroad for the semester. This opportunity will help me to continue to learn and network globally within the Hospitality Industry.


Ashia Ruth Kelly is a student at The Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Hospitality and Management. She is a member of the Meeting Professionals International Greater New York and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She credits her participation in MPI's mentoring program with helping her to develop skills that ensure inclusion at her events for everyone.



MPI Foundation

The Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation fuels the growth and advancement of MPI members by providing professional development and career opportunities through grants and scholarships. The not-for-profit organization also propels the meeting and event industry forward by funding important and quality research initiatives.