Tag Archives: kyri mcclellan

Conversations with Hilary: Kyri McClellan, CEO America’s Cup Organizing Committee

Kyri McClellan wearing Lily SamiiKyri McClellan wearing Lily Samii

I have had the great opportunity to get to know Kyri McClellan, one of the loveliest, hardest working and toughest people I know. She is the face behind the America’s Cup Organizing Committee, which is tasked with raising money to help offset the city’s costs for hosting the racing event. The fruits of her labor are about to come to become a reality this summer when the America’s Cup debuts on the San Francisco Bay, July 4th. I, personally, cannot wait for this event and am so proud that San Francisco gets to be the backdrop to this stellar world-class event.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Consistently persisting through adversity, at least so far. Also probably playing in the NCAA Final Four in Field Hockey and skiing in the US Downhill National Championships. We didn’t win our game, and I didn’t finish in the top ten in that race, but both of those experiences instilled in me a confidence that I can compete at a high level.

What do you considered your most prized possession?
Consciousness and my mental faculties. Without them I’m not sure what else there is. Also, my Blackberry.  I make no apologies for clinging to outdated technology. I think that smartphones have been as significant in liberating working mothers as any technology yet invented. My husband might disagree.

What do you love about yourself? What do you think others love about you?
My determination and optimism, but I am comfortable in my skin living my life with this approach.  I think others love that I don’t readily give up, and I always show up.

If you could be anything other than what you currently are, what would it be?
Done with fundraising for the America’s Cup and having vastly exceeded my targets. The chief executive of a foundation with the resources and passion to make a difference in the world. I think about this a lot these days, as six months from now I will likely be looking for a new opportunity.  I want to continue to meet amazing people, put my skills to work helping our community, and still have time to be a wife and mother.  Let me know if you know what that job is.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Usually throw back the covers and let my three-year old climb into bed to snuggle. He is our human alarm clock.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Movie night on our couch with my husband and boys.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
Working every day with a clear focus for the delivery of community and legacy benefits. For me, undertaking the America’s Cup has always been about leveraging the event to improve our waterfront and broader community.

What were you passionate about when you were a kid?
As a kid, like most kids, I just wanted to fit in. I was teased a lot and always felt like the odd one out.  By the time I was a teenager I just wanted to win and was very focused and driven in sports.

What are you passionate about now?
Living moment by moment, savoring the wins – big and small, and remembering to breathe. My two borrowed mantras are (1) Be the light and love you wish to see in the world; and (2) We May Not Have It All Together but Together We Have It All. Every day in my current job is intense and the way I maintain perspective is to greet each moment and challenge as they come.

What’s your favorite season? Why?
Summer. The down time (except this summer!) with my extended family and friends creating great memories…camping, trips to the beaches, etc.

If you were a cocktail or drink what would it be?
Navarro Pinot Noir grape juice, over ice.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My husband and my boys which total three. I wouldn’t need anything else because my men are my life and my husband is my MacGyver (and he would have water, matches, food, a lounge chair, a Sonos and iPod…get the picture?)

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Lay out by the pool and read, if I could stay awake. A day of leisure is rare.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Tough call, my kids are always messing with it, so #1 is probably a favorite of theirs.…I can’t pick a single favorite although these days I generally swoon to Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Pistol Annies, Brett Dennen, or Pink.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Warren Buffet – his philosophy that nice guys can finish first speaks to me. I would love to understand more intimately about how and why he has built his empire while staying true to that mantra, as it seems so counterintuitive to the rest of the pack.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Camp Lemonade. I make lemonade out of just about everything that comes my way.

Do you have any regrets?
Not that I dwell on beyond any given day.

Define Freedom.
The ability for all of us to individually and collectively pursue happiness.

What are your personal core values?
This may sound beyond corny, but it’s my truth and that is: Being the light and love that I wish to see in the world (my version of Gandhi’s famous saying). I can’t change or control the terrible things that happen in this world but I can bring my own intention and spirit forward and hope that it positively impacts those around me.