2012 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Christie Kelly

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Duke Realty

Sphere of Influence: After a long career at GE, Kelly is the executive responsible for the financial performance of one of the city’s biggest commercial real estate firms.

kelly-christie-15col.jpg(IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Christie Kelly joined Duke Realty on one of the worst days ever for Real Estate Investment Trusts: March 4, 2009, the day the RMZ REIT index hit close to an all-time low.

With that as the backdrop, the new executive vice president and chief financial officer needed to sit down immediately and “understand from our investors and analysts what some of the things are that they expected from a high-performing REIT.”

Kelly, Duke Realty CEO Dennis Oklak and their team ultimately laid out a plan and operational metrics that would show what they were trying to do and how well they were doing. And they’ve been successful in executing their strategy. This year, from a total shareholder return perspective, they’re outperformed the S&P 500, S&P 400 and the RMZ index.

“We’ve been able to execute the strategy,” she said, “and the strategy is really resonating with our investors.”

The job fits Kelly’s career trajectory, but it’s not one she expected to have when she was in high school. Kelly grew up in Pittsburgh, the oldest of six children, and thought about studying architecture. But she loved real estate and finance and ended up majoring in economics at Bucknell University. General Electric recruited her out of college into its financial management leadership program.

For someone who had spent years working as a laborer in a refractory contracting company to make money for school, the idea of employment with GE trumped driving a forklift and cutting brick.

The program that Kelly went through at GE allowed her to rotate through different positions, including a job on the GE corporate audit staff.

“You’re exposed to a lot of different leaders around the world and put into assignments that are demanding,” she said. “I was really able to experience a lot in a little bit of time, which I think broadens your perspective.”

She also had the opportunity to move internationally, spending a number of years living and working in Europe and Asia. Twenty-plus years passed quickly.

Then Lehman Brothers—with whom she had worked closely while at GE—recruited her for its global real estate group. She’d relocated 12 or 13 times with GE and didn’t want to subject her family to additional moves. So she moved on to Lehman Brothers in 2007, then joined Duke Realty three-plus years ago after Lehman Brothers folded.

As CFO, Kelly is responsible for all of the operational finance areas of the company, including taxes, financial analysis, deal review, accounting and financial planning. The job, she said, has proven to be a great fit—as has Indianapolis. Kelly and her husband of 25 years, John, and their children—Olivia, 16, and Jack, 11—have made Zionsville their home. The kids are active in sports, and John, a former stock trader and aspiring writer, is a stay-at-home dad—and has been for as long as they’ve had children.

Kelly said she’s achieved as much as she has because of her family and because of “hard work, being passionate about what I’m doing, really having that love of who you’re with, where you are and what you’re focused on.”•


Click here to return to the Women of Influence landing page.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!