Alumni Spotlight: Kellie Hawkins

Kellie Hawkins is a Lobbyist at Englander Knabe & Allen where she leads the firm’s education, health and social services practice areas. One of the major efforts Kellie has been leading focuses on prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco in Los Angeles County in response to the increase in smoking/vaping among youth.

Prior to joining EKA, Kellie served as Chief Operating Officer for the National Health Foundation where she oversaw the day-to-day operational and administrative functions of the organization. From 2010-2015, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advising senior administration officials on fiscal priorities, such as health information technology (IT) investments and the World Trade Center Health Benefits Program. Prior to her work with the federal government, Kellie served in the administration of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, as the Executive Director of the Commission on the Status of Women. She is a native Angeleno, a graduate of Howard University and received a Masters in Public Health from the University of Southern California. Kellie is also a Marshall Memorial Fellow and , Coro Health Leadership alum, and currently serves on Coro’s Board of Directors. She enjoys cycling and golfing in her spare time.


Tell us one fun fact about yourself!
I rode in the 2017 AIDS LifeCycle ride, which is a 545 mile 7-day cycling tour from San Francisco to Los Angeles in support of AIDS organizations in California.

How do you bring Coro experiences into your day-to-day work?
I often reflect on passages from Leadership on the Line, one of the few texts that were integrated throughout our training. The one chapter that has always been helpful in guiding my work was focused on being able to step away, to take in the “view from the balcony”. It’s easy for leaders to get stuck in their silos of thought, which can prevent them from staying focused on the big picture or vision.

What moment(s) from your time in Coro’s Health Leadership Program do you think back to most often? Your “ah-ha” moment?
Light bulb moment- during our group project as we were interviewing stakeholders (community health centers, legislators, medical associations, neighboring hospitals, primary care physicians, etc) within SPA 6 in response to the closure of the former MLK Hospital, and recognizing the critical nature of the medical safety net when a primary source of care is no longer available to a community that has been historically medically underserved.

Since then, the hospital has reopened but the safety net was imperative to providing care during those years when the hospital was not open.

If you could go back and give yourself some advice during your time in the Health Leadership Program, what would you say?
Embrace failure and be a risk taker. My career path was not accompanied with a road map and guide. I completed HLP during a pivotal point in my career and there were many opportunities before me that mentors had to encourage and advise because I wasn’t seeing the big picture.