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Why We Love This Place Wednesday: Kelly Ackley

By Terra Avilla

I remember the exact moment I first met Kelly. She was attending the Lassen Crime Stoppers Wine walk (7 years ago!). I remember seeing this beautiful beaming smile coming from little ole Kelly.

Who is this lady with this 1,000 watt smile I thought? Well, as we stood in group, in a situation that would have been easy for anyone to overlook someone they didn’t know, Kelly smiled at me, and said- “You must be Terra! Hi, I’m Kelly!”

I don’t know why I remember it so vividly, but perhaps it has to do with how genuinely nice she was. How genuinely… well, I guess… genuine she was.

Since then our paths have crossed several times.

For one thing, if her name sounds familiar it’s probably because you recognize her from her role as the executive director for the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce. Yep. Kelly’s entire job is pretty much dedicated to making Lassen County the place to be.

Her tireless efforts are as much a part of the county’s fabric as the annual tree lighting on Susanville’s Main Street.

Kelly, who has held that role since 2021, has since been the driving force behind the Chamber’s initiatives, from the mixers that knit the business community closer, to the updates that keep everyone informed and engaged.

You love the Uptown Christmas parade and fireworks. Kelly is at the heart of that!

But it’s not just her professional role that makes Kelly a cherished figure in Lassen County.

Beyond the spreadsheets, meetings, and strategic planning, Kelly has a heart for the arts and a passion for volunteerism. This year she has undertaken the crucial role as a volunteer with Best of Broadway.

Kelly takes on what could only be described as a Herculean task: organizing and watching over dozens of children downstage during performances.

Imagine the scene: a whirlwind of youthful energy, a costume changes, shoes to be tied, makeup to me done, children to be rounded up and accounted for and there, in the midst of it all, is Kelly, the calm in the storm, ensuring each child is safe, prepared, and ready for their moment in the spotlight.

Seriously. I volunteer for the dang thing too, and half the time I find myself wondering how Kelly isn’t pulling her hair out in the middle of it all.

But she is just so organized and calm. I can see why she is a great fit for her role at the Chamber.

When she is not busy at work or volunteering, Kelly is a wonderful and dedicated momma and a very loyal friend. She is incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to.

I have so enjoyed our time (even in the middle of the chaos) the past weeks. I joke that she is the adult I have put in charge of me, and she again smiles that wonderful Kelly Ackley smile.

Whether she’s addressing the city council to herald the festive season or penning updates to keep the community in the loop, or volunteering to help children in a variety of ways, her contributions are a testament to her commitment to the place she calls home, Kelly is forever are part of the reasons why I love the place we call home.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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