Kelly Rozick is the Chief Marketing Officer for Tower Marketing, a Lancaster PA digital marketing agency and the mom of two kids, a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old. She put herself through college; it took 10 years, but she worked her way up the ‘corporate ladder’ to do what she loves! Kelly’s lives by the advice her dad gave her as a child: “do what you love and you will succeed.” Besides her full-time work, Kelly blogs for Fig Magazine and is involved in helping to develop a local support group for those suffering with eating disorders (the only group within a 50-100 mile radius!). Kelly says, “I suffered for over 10 years and it’s a daily struggle, but I’ve work very hard to recover and now I want to help others do the same.”
Q: What advice would you give to an earlier version of yourself?
KR: Don’t be afraid to be you. I spent half of my life trying to be what others wanted me to be just to fit in. I didn’t realize the hurt and damage it does to your own true self. It took a lot of hard work and courage to get to where I am today and I’ll never go back. The funny thing is that as soon as I started being authentic and the ‘real’ version of myself, that is when my path to success began!
Q: What is the most rewarding thing you’ve done?
KR: Wow, this is a hard one… having my two children is obviously the most rewarding. They light up my life every single day – what’s more rewarding than that! The other thing I’d like to mention is my faith and belief in others and their abilities. My job as CMO at Tower Marketing is very fast-paced and demanding at times. Managing a team is not easy, but by choosing to be a leader and not just a boss, I have seen amazing and rewarding results. By mentoring my team, I’ve witnessed not only their individual success, but in turn, the company overall. It is extremely rewarding to see others grow into a higher version of themselves – knowing I had a hand in it.
Q: Life is beauty and pain. Tell me about pain in your life.
KR: I’ve had many pains in my life, as do most, but one overall pain that I know will not go away in my lifetime, is the devastation created by true evil and ignorance in other human beings. I’ve always been very sensitive in this area – I believe it is a trait in many others who have suffered from major depression, as I have. I remember being incredibly disappointed and sadden by the un-kind acts of others. I used to think, “How can we treat other human beings with such disrespect and hatred.” I was brought up to love unconditionally, to forgive, and to treat others as you’d like to be treated. I am sad to see these traits in people today fading, and worry often for my children.
Besides depression, the other pain I’ve experienced is battling with an eating disorder for over 15 years of my life. I won’t go into the details of this pain, but I will share that when you experience a disorder like this, it makes you dead inside. You become something like a walking zombie – just going through the motions of life, numb, broken, and invisible. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful support network of family and friends to help me recover. After coming out of my eating disorder and having a second chance at life, I wanted to experience everything. I was not only starving myself of food, but of life, and the positive side of the disorder is the zest I now have for living and not being afraid to try new things and meet different people. I am alive, I am free… and it feels beautiful!
Q: How has your struggle with eating disorders changed how you look at life/look at other people? Tell me more about the support group that you are starting.
KR: It’s changed how I look at others in a way that even when people are smiling or happy, they really might be struggling or in pain on the inside. It taught me not to judge a book by its cover. It taught me that I wasn’t the only one suffering from something so terrible. I can’t speak for others, but for me personally my eating disorder made me a very selfish person. All I did was think about food and myself all day, and how I would avoid situations, or people. I would think, “I need to fit in at least 3 rounds of exercise today before I can eat a few cheerios.” Or, “How can I trick people into thinking I’m not hungry when I look like a skeleton.” These types of thoughts filled my head 24/7 – so there was really no room for thoughts of anyone else, except for myself. Sad, but true. My disorder changed how I look at life in a major way. I used to think that we were put on this earth to suffer and it was some cruel punishment of a higher power. However, once I began to recover, I realized that life is full of opportunities! I realized that life has ups and downs, but it’s the same for us all and in order to survive and thrive, we need to accept it – even in the down times. I learned how precious life is and how important my family was to me and how I wasted so much time not showing how much I appreciated them. I learned that life is an experience and if you’re not experiencing anything and just doing the same old boring thing everyday because you’re too afraid of what will happen; you aren’t living and might as well be dead. I read once where someone compared having an eating disorder to committing a slow suicide. This has stuck with me for several years, because it is so true. I was killing myself everyday I let pass-by in my disordered behaviors and thinking. Just so I’m clear, eating disorders are not just a choice where you decide to start and stop. It is a disorder that needs professional treatment and care. So, although suicide is a choice made by an individual – it’s not just a choice. There is a whole lot more behind it.
Which brings me to your next question… the eating disorder support group. So, I began taking yoga about 6 months ago and I love it! Since I’ve been practicing I’ve met some really amazing people, doing really amazing things. One of my yogi friends, Julie, she’s actually an instructor there, I connected with immediately. We have an eating disorder history in common. As our friendship developed, I realized that I had a duty to help others suffering from this terrible evil. Julie told me how she was having some people over to her home to try and begin a support group, but that it was time consuming and that she would love some help with getting it going. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to offer my help and I’m so glad I did. Our group is the only eating disorder support group in the Central Pennsylvania area. We’ve had people come from as far as Delaware and Philadelphia. We don’t have a packed house yet, but we’re working to spread the word and hoping to comfort those in need by sharing our own experiences and working together to stay strong and experience life. We do have a new, neutral location for our group as of a few weeks ago, and we are gaining new visitors each week. We also started our own facebook page, which has over 200 likes. Even if we never pack the house, helping just a few would make it worth our effort and time.
Q: What question did I miss? What else should I know about you?
KR: I laughed out loud when I read this question, because my boss always tells me that I should write a book about my life adventures. Needless to say, there are many things I’ve experienced, but one thing is for sure, I’ve had a lot of jobs! From my high-school summer job harnessing a part for air conditioning units 8 hours a day, to commercial real estate, to biology teacher’s assistant – you name it, I’ve probably done it. I have to say that I’m glad that I was able to experience so many different industries and work with so many different people. It’s been a very educational experience, but one that has definitely helped get me where I am today.
Q: You’ve been identified by someone as being incredible. What do people see in you that is incredible?
KR: I believe more than anything my loyalty to others. Loyalty is one of my greatest traits, and one that I’m very proud of. When I believe in someone and invest my time in a relationship, I’m in it for the long haul – through thick and thin.
Q: How did you hear about Interviews W/ Incredible Women?
KR: Well, I have seen a few people I know from the studio where I practice yoga, on some of your interviews and was curious. I by no means think I’m super incredible, but I’m working on improving my self esteem and confidence and I thought this might help me learn more about myself, actually. As I’m sure you are aware, women have a hard time realizing how amazing they are and what incredible creatures we all are. I would just love the opportunity to help you spread your message, from one woman who has struggled with lack of confidence all her life to who I am now – I’ d love to share the message to other women that success and self worth are totally possible!