Kelly Williams Downing is a dynamic, 20-year marketing veteran with a successful career working with sports teams, international sporting events, brands and agencies. Downing runs her own consulting practice, KWD Consulting, where she serves as an outsourced interim Chief Marketing Officer for a broad range of B2C startups and companies in sports, hospitality and consumer products. Additionally, Downing serves on the Sports Management Advisory Board for the David B. Falk College of Sport & Human Dynamics at Syracuse University.
Downing began her career in sales and marketing with the Kraft Sports Group (New England Patriots, New England Revolution, and Gillette Stadium). Her tenure with the Kraft organization came during one of the most exciting times in the Group’s history. From 1999-2002, Downing served on a special committee focused on marketing, sales and PR for the Kraft family’s privately financed stadium, creating the blueprint that led to the new stadium being completely sold out of all ticket, premium seating and sponsorship inventory on opening day. Downing also assisted in the marketing and promotion of MLS Cup 2002 which earned Major League Soccer a record-breaking 62,000+ fans for the league’s championship match held at the then CMGI Field (later renamed Gillette Stadium).
Downing also managed the Patriots Preseason TV Network, increasing rights fee revenue 300%. In 2001, she spearheaded an effort to launch Patriots.com Radio, which featured 12 hours a day of online Patriots programming. This endeavor put the Patriots at the top of the NFL for developing unique, digital content for their fans. Downing also co-hosted a radio program for the Patriots, hosted a series of video updates on the construction process of the new stadium, and produced Revolution games on WEEI Sports Radio. In 2002, Downing earned an NFL World Championship ring when the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI.
Downing also served as a marketing, sponsorship and operations consultant to FIFA’s 2003 Women’s World Cup (Foxboro, MA & Portland, OR venues) and to CONCACAF for the 2005 Gold Cup (Foxboro, MA).
In 2005, Downing entered the agency world at Cone Communications where she ran marketing and PR initiatives for Starbucks, Yoplait, Green Giant and Jiffy Lube. She developed marketing and communications strategy, and managed successful events, media tours and mobile tours. Her work garnered millions of national and local media impressions for her clients.
Downing rejoined some former Patriots colleagues in 2006 at TrinityOne Marketing where she served as Chief Marketing Officer, working with sports teams, athletes and consumer brands. For seven years, Downing managed the development of marketing strategy including creative concepts, marketing services, marketing operations, events, business development, sponsorships/partnerships, digital and social media and revenue generation. Her success highlights include:
Marketing, commercial and social media strategy for Millwall FC in the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football
Marketing representation for 2008 Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone, securing deals with Gatorade, Cover Girl, 24 Hour Fitness, adidas and Bank of America
Sponsorship sales and fulfillment for NASCAR’s Richard Childress Racing, Boston Celtics, LPGA golfer Cristie Kerr, former MLS star Taylor Twellman and numerous NFL players
Non-profit charitable sponsorship strategy for Best Buddies (featuring spokesperson Tom Brady)
Youth sports outreach initiative for MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority)
Red Bull events including Cliff Diving and Soapbox Derby
From 2013 - 2015, Downing served as Vice President of Elevate Communications, overseeing the agency’s business operations, marketing and business development. Her client work included digital, social media and marketing strategy for the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Sports Management, Liverpool FC, and the New England Revolution (MLS).
In 2015, Downing was lured back to the start-up world as the Managing Partner/Chief Marketing Officer for State6, a Boston-based marketing and communications agency. She oversaw strategic marketing, brand, PR, media, digital, social media, creative and influencer marketing services for a roster of 20+ clients in the consumer products/services, healthcare, insurance, sports, hospitality, non-profit and real estate industries. Downing qualified, pitched and secured new business, resulting in 43% YOY growth. State6 clients included Fjällräven, Cross Insurance, One Dalton Residences at The Four Seasons, Del Frisco's, Pheonix Thoroughbreds, Granite Recovery Centers, Lark Hotels, Hunneman RE and MindTrek Virtual Reality, to name a few.
A native of Massachusetts, Downing attended Syracuse University where she earned her BS in Broadcast Journalism (1998) and MS in Public Relations (1999) from the esteemed S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.