Photography by Marie Constantin
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
(raised in Baton Rouge)
Family: Married for 30 years to husband, Enrique, with three daughters: Erika, Alexandra and Daniela. One granddaughter and a second on the way.
Years with company: 3
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say Kelly Hurtado has been working her entire life.
Beginning at about 6 years old, Hurtado remembers working at the Lamp Post on Government Street, a gift shop owned by her family, who adopted her as a baby. During busy holiday seasons, she greeted customers and learned how to address invitations, write thank-you notes and wrap gifts. In the summers, Hurtado babysat at the Piedmont Club.
When she was 15, she talked her way into a retail job at Webster’s Menswear in the new Cortana Mall. She told the manager she was 18. By the time he figured out her actual age, Hurtado says, she had proven herself as a salesperson and got to keep the job.
“About once a year when the Social Security Administration sends out their form letter with lifetime earnings and projected retirement revenue, I always marvel that my first reported earnings were in 1975,” she says. “I was 11 years old.”
Hurtado, now executive director of the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, says what she learned from working at the Lamp Post at an early age—especially watching her parents work hard and keep a positive outlook despite much adversity—has shaped her entire career. Wherever she worked from then on, Hurtado says, she made decisions as if the business or organization was her own.
In her position, Hurtado leads a team of staff members to raise funds for the regional medical center. Her biggest—and proudest—project is the statewide capital campaign to raise $50 million to build the freestanding Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Following a public launch in 2015, more than $39 million has been raised to date.
Hurtado began working in health care philanthropy in 2014, and says she feels privileged to do what she does and work under an organization such as the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.
“It’s an honor to work with the Franciscan Missionaries, whose mission is to help those most in need,” Hurtado says. “We never turn a child away, regardless of ability to pay, and we live that mission every day.”
Before joining the foundation, Hurtado worked in the hotel and publishing industries. She says some of her top professional accomplishments were working alongside business leaders like Ed and Kathy Baker, Rolfe McCollister and Julio Melara in those industries.
In her 12 years working for Louisiana Business Inc., the multimedia publishing company that produces Business Report, 225 magazine and inRegister magazine, Hurtado served multiple roles, including publisher of inRegister and executive vice president. One of her proudest moments at LBI was helping launch 225 magazine in November 2005 during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Throughout her career, Hurtado says, her source of strength and support has always been family, starting from the beginning with her parents and now the family she has created with her husband and three daughters.
“I would not be where I am today if my parents had not saved me by adopting me as a baby, and if my husband had not married me 23 years later and encouraged me to grow into the person I am today,” she says. “My husband and my daughters are my biggest cheerleaders, and they constantly motivate me to stretch, to grow and to take chances.”
HARDEST LESSON | Do not put off having the difficult conversations with your team members. If done with sincere compassion, you might help someone make an important change in their lives. If they don’t come around, it is probably time for them to find their happiness elsewhere.
AN EXPERIENCE THAT CHANGED HER LIFE | In the last 10 years, walking with my parents through end of life issues, most painfully watching the effects of Alzheimer’s/dementia-related diseases rob three of them (father, mother-in-law and stepfather) of their personalities. Two of them succumbed to the disease six months ago; one is in the final stages. Equally as hard to bear was watching my healthy parents (mother and father-in-law) lose their joy and their freedom in the caregiving process. I’ve often told my children, “I will teach you what to do and sometimes I will teach you what not to do.” I’ve learned a lot about both from all of my aging parents.
WHEN SHE’S REALLY STRESSED OUT | I drive fast or clean the kitchen while listening to Led Zeppelin, Elvis Costello or Puccini (depends on what I’m stressed about) as loud as I—or anyone around me—can stand it.
1987 • Has her first child, Alexandra Sofia
1991 • After being raised in an adopted household, she finds her biological mother
1992 • Moves back home to Baton Rouge after transferring from a New Orleans hotel to Sheraton Baton Rouge
1999 • Begins serving on the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra board, which she will serve multiple terms
2002 • Leaves the hotel industry to take a position at Louisiana Business Inc. in multimedia publishing
2006 • Joins the Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area board of directors after the first of three close relatives is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases
2014 • Leaves LBI to join OLOL Foundation