Susan H. Kelly Sorensen Leadership Award Winner 2019

Susan Kelly

Susan H. Kelly (Suzy) is CEO of Jo-Kell Inc., a woman-owned small business specializing in Navy shipboard and high-tech industrial automation products, systems and services. Jo-Kell has been in business since 1977 and currently has over 60 employees with offices in Chesapeake, VA; Jacksonville, FL; San Diego, CA; Atlanta, GA; and Charleston, SC. Under Kelly’s leadership, Jo-Kell has become a world-class electrical distribution firm and has been recognized by Northrop Grumman as a Supplier of the Year.

Mrs. Kelly is engaged and connected to the community in many ways, including the public policy arena. In 2010, Kelly was elected to the Chesapeake City Council and was re-elected in 2014 and completed her terms in 2018. Suzy serves on many boards, committees, and commissions including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition, and the Montero Medical Missions International Advisory Board, to name a few. She is the honorary chair for the Hunger Heroes initiative organized by the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

Suzy Kelly has been recognized for her leadership and contributions to the community by many organizations. In January of 2016, she was featured in Inside Leadership Quarterly “Powered by Faith,” for her philanthropic approach to corporate culture. That same year, Suzy was also profiled by the Virginian-Pilot, as a “CEO who stirs her own blend of defense work, fun, faith and politics.” In 2017, she was named one of the “Leading Ladies of Coastal Virginia” by CoVA Biz magazine. In addition, the local community has recognized her accomplishments over the years with many other awards and honors.

Suzy Kelly is passionate about her faith. Along with Deacon Adrian Marchi, Suzy co-founded Catholic Passion Ministries and has a blog where she writes about issues of faith and culture. In 2017, Deacon Adrian and Suzy premiered their radio show, “It’s a Ponderful Life,” on the nationally broadcasted network, Radio Maria. In addition, Suzy produces “Ponderful Moment® ” radio commercials which are broadcast throughout the state of Virginia. As a recognized leader in business and the community, Suzy Kelly often speaks to groups on leadership, business, community service, and public policy. Her passion is her faith, her family, and her community. Suzy is married to Marty Kelly and they reside in Chesapeake, VA. They have four children and seven grandchildren.

Highlights of Board and Community Service:

  • VA Chamber of Commerce: Executive Board Member, 2009-Present; Chair, 2018
  • Regional Vice Chair, Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition, 2006-Present
  • SunTrust Regional Advisory Board: 2019
  • Montero Medical Missions Board: 2018-Present
  • Chesapeake City Council: Elected, 2010 and Re-elected 2014 - 2018
  • Southeastern Hampton Roads Food Bank: Hunger Heroes Chair, 2018
  • Executive Advisory Board Member, ODU’s Strome School of Business, 2013-2017
  • UVA’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership Board, 2017
  • Gov. McDonnell’s Task Force on State Mandates, Past Appointment, 2011
  • Gov. McDonnell’s Commission on Govt. Reform and Restructure, 2010
  • Chesapeake Jubilee, Past Chair, 2010
  • Chesapeake Chamber of Commerce, Board member and Past Chair, 2005
  • Lead Hampton Roads, Past Chair, 2002-2004

Awards & Recognition:

  • CoVA Biz Community Impact Award, 2018
  • Inside Business Roaring 20s, 2018
  • Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, 2016
  • Crime Line’s Top Cop Award, 2004 & 2015
  • YWCA, Women of Distinction Award, 2010
  • ODU’s Outstanding Entrepreneur Award, 2009
  • Martin Luther King Leadership Award, 2009
  • NAWBO Community Service Award, 2008
  • Inside Business, Women of Achievement Award, 2008
  • Lead Hampton Roads, Julian F. Hirst Leadership Award, 2007
  • Chesapeake Small Business of the Year, 2002
  • Athena National Leadership Award, 2001

Chief Executive Office, Jo-Kell


Co-Founder, Catholic Passion Ministries
Weekly Radio Program on Radio Maria: “It’s a Ponderful Life”
Writer of Ponderful Moment ®: Inspirational Christian thoughts
Producer of Radio Commercials: Ponderful Moment®
JoKell Logo


Speaking Engagements:

As a business and Community leader as well as a Catholic Christian speaker, the following is a sample of past topic presentations:

  • 10 Ponderful Commandments for Small Business Success
  • 7 Ponderful Ways to Take the Lead into Your World
  • 7 Ponderful Traits of an Authentic Business Leader
  • 7 Ponderful Tips for Aspiring Women Leaders
  • 7 Ponderful Principles for Aspiring Christian Leaders
  • 12 Ponderful Ways to be the Woman God Created You to Be
  • 7 Ponderful Ways to Live Life to the Brim
  • 7 Ponderful Considerations for Women
  • 7 Ponderful Ways to “Can Do”


  • BS, Dental Hygiene Loyola University of the South
  • MS, Dental Hygiene, ODU
  • Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, 2008
  • Chesapeake Citizen’s Police Academy, 2006