March 2, 2020ConnectMember SpotlightNewsWinter 2020

Member Spotlight

Grace Kelly, Research Western


How does Grace Kelly get it done? The PMA member on her recent election to Western’s Senate, managing a busy schedule and her go-to morning routine.


Grace Kelly is the Manager of Compliance Programs & Education for Research Western, supporting the ethical and responsible conduct of research across campus. She’s worked at Western for thirteen years and in 2016, served as the University’s Sponsored Employee for the United Way of London & Middlesex. 

Kelly is completing a master’s degree in Professional Education focused on educational leadership and was just accepted to start her Doctor of Education this coming September. She sits on the PMA executive committee and was recently elected as one of two staff representatives on Western’s Senate. 

Here’s how she gets it done.

On working at Western:

I really value the team environment and sense of community at Western. I love running into people as I walk across campus. Working with the United Way and the PMA, I get so many opportunities to meet new people and understand different points of view.

On her current position:   

During the past two years, I worked as a compliance officer carrying out consultations across campus to better understand the gaps in Western’s compliance programs and draft recommendations on how to mitigate these concerns. One of the recommendations was to create a central compliance program, which included a role that would help maintain policy, roll out education programs and provide support to researchers around compliance and integrity.

On her day-to-day work:

My day-to-day right now – I’m reviewing policies already in place to determine if they need updating; I’m working with colleagues around the University in compliance roles to see how I can better support them; and I’m looking at creating education programs around human ethics and responsible conduct of research. I work really closely with compliance personnel across campus – the folks in biosafety, occupational health and safety, human and animal ethics, and any one whose role touches on compliance. That’s the team of people I rely on for support and turn to for expertise to help guide my decisions and the work I’m doing.

On her priorities for Senate:

I want to be a strong voice for staff across campus, to help improve Western’s community each and every day. I’m also hoping to provide some insight on issues within research administration. There are several research policies coming up for review this year, and I think it’s important to have an advocate and a champion on the Senate to be able to speak to some of the issues that may come up. It’s a good opportunity to meet people, network and build relationships, as well as find new, creative ways to solve problems.

On her morning routine: 

Most mornings start at 4:50 a.m. I have everything laid out – my clothes, my breakfast. I go to the gym for an early workout and then I come home, have my coffee and get ready for work. Usually my lunches are already prepared for the week because I meal prep on the weekend to keep me more organized. I’m working on my master’s degree right now, so I like to keep my evenings dedicated to school. The gym gives me a good start to the day, it energizes me, and I get the hard stuff out of the way. If I can lift those weights in the morning, I feel that I can conquer anything else that comes at me!

On getting to work:

My husband also works on campus, so we drive in together. We listen to good music and get pumped up for the day ahead. It’s a nice routine.

On managing stress: 

Planning ahead, that’s a huge part of reducing my stress. The gym too. I’ve got a whole second family there who looks out for me. My husband is also super supportive of everything I do and wants to see me reach high and succeed. We like to walk a lot – living in Wortley Village, we can walk downtown or walk to the local shops and bakeries. And I meditate. I use a meditation tool called Simple Habit, so I meditate quite often, and it usually puts me to sleep at night.

On pushing her limits:  

I went to Hong Kong last year, which is the longest flight I’ve ever taken (15.5 hours). It was a huge turning point in my life. It helped me get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I definitely caught the travel bug.

On her favourite spot on campus:

My favourite spot on campus is UC Hill. As a student, I remember trekking up and down that hill to get to classes. As a graduate, I remember standing proudly in front of the tower on the hill for pictures. As a staff member, I love walking around that beautiful area on lunchtime walks to stay active.

On having difficult conversations: 

I’m implementing some big changes in my current role, and I always go back to relationships. It’s always easier to pick up the phone or have a conversation with somebody you have a relationship with. Have your facts in order, of course, have the documentation you need, but be a human being too. Try to be proactive, not reactive. Turn the difficult conversation into a learning moment.

On being involved with the PMA:

The support I receive, from the PMA and fellow members, it’s incredible. It gives me a sense of belonging and I really feel like I’m a part of a special community on campus. As a member, I know I have a strong voice at the table when big decisions are being made. And we have fun together! PMA events give us a chance to reconnect and recharge.


How do you get it done? We want to hear from you about your work and involvement at Western, your daily routines, your life lessons, your community contributions and your ideas for the PMA. If you’re interested in the Member Spotlight (for you or a colleague), please email