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Kelly O’Donnell, PhD is an economist and public finance expert specializing in the critical intersection between economic development and social policy. Her work is predicated on the belief that a healthy, equitable society is the foundation of economic growth and enduring prosperity and that the interests of businesses, families, and communities can be simultaneously furthered through the right combination of thoughtfully executed public policies and incentives.  Much of her recent work has focused on increasing the economic stability of low income families and improving access to high quality early education through policies that simultaneously foster strong businesses, robust markets and the ability of low income and rural families to access services.


Dr O’Donnell helps clients reduce long term public sector costs through public-private partnerships and advises them on innovative financing and cost effective delivery of high impact social programs. Recent consulting clients include private foundations, social service providers, state and local government agencies, business development organizations, venture capital firms, and economic development organizations.


Kelly is currently a research professor at the University of New Mexico and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Child Success.  Prior to consulting, Kelly held a series of leadership roles in the administration of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson including Director of State Tax Policy, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development and Superintendent of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. 


Before joining the Richardson Administration Kelly served as research director for New Mexico Voices for Children, where she authored studies on publicly financed health care, state fiscal policy, predatory lending and the economic impact of public investments in early education and Medicaid.


Kelly’s technical skills include program planning and implementation, economic modeling and analysis, demographic research and feasibility analysis.    She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of New Mexico.

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