Meet Kelly Lynn Irons, founder, and CEO of developUs Worldwide, a company that increases the performance of teams by providing customized interventions, followed by individual coaching, to maximize learning and transformation.
Despite running a successful global business, Kelly Irons’ favorite leadership role is taking care of her two amazing children. She is a single mom and a dedicated businesswoman. Kelly grew up in the north-east outside of the Philadelphia area. Although her parents were career-minded, they always took time for the family. School was a priority and she started volunteering for the youth programs, therapy, and social-adjustment programs as a teenager. Kelly worked with kids with social adjustment disorders, kids going through a crisis, and kids adapting to their parents’ divorce.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Organizational Development and Adult Learning, and an Executive MBA certificate in Talent Management. She is a certified Coach from the International Coach Federation. Before starting developUs, all the roles Kelly took up in her professional career were inclined towards helping people reach their highest potential. She was always focused on the support and care of other people. She crafted her career, education, and experience around this passion.
Kelly founded developUs in 2013 and since then changed the name to developUs Worldwide, as they have served clients in seven countries outside of the US. They build teams of highly productive people and individuals who strive for the best. Talking about her organization, she says, “We build training, deliver leadership programs, offer a suite of leadership and organizational assessments, and engage in coaching partnerships with Executives looking to clear the path for what’s next”. They customize their strategies per the client’s requirements to maximize learning and transformation.
Her journey throughout has been a mix of both smooth and challenging. When asked about the one idea that has worked for her, Irons says, “Focus on building quality relationships. Period. It worked for me then and still does now. It’s my favorite part of my job. Give more than you take. Be honest and authentic, and care about people as much as you care about results, if not more.” Kelly values relationships more than anything in the business world. developUs Worldwide has a year-long leadership program committed to this idea and she speaks about it time and again at events and conferences. She has a book coming out in 2021 on this topic – GET REAL: Transform Your Re-lationships into Real-ationships for Increased Connection and Results. It’s a guiding approach to business and life and provides outstanding content to share with others.
The customer response towards her venture has been positive from day one. The clients come back to them year after year, which says a lot about the company and their relationship with other businesses. She got her first business from a former colleague the night she posted about the company’s launch on social media. Call after call came in, and after 12 years of sweat and hard work, looking back Kelly knows it was all worth it. She built a strong network and a brand with people who have the same level of commitment and excitement about their offerings and approach to their relationships and is thrilled say that what was once simply a job, is now a thriving business.
Irons notes that gender biases in the society are both imposed upon women and self-imposed. From her deep coaching relationships, she knows that women have a lot more power and decision-making authority about what they want their lives to be like than they give themselves credit for. “As women,”, she says, “if we want to change our lives, we can. It may not be easy, but it is definitely worth it, and it may be easier than you think.”
Kelly has a message for everyone who wishes to build a career out of their passion like she did. She says, “You are stronger than you think you are, and your community is bigger than you think it is. The bravest thing you will ever do is learn to ask for help. And if you have doubt, get a coach… a good one. It will change your life. You can achieve what seems impossible”.