By Tim Priebe
June 13, 2023

Professional Q&A: Kelly Vaughn

Kelly Vaughn is dedicated to a top-notch educational environment and to making a positive impact on Edmond.
Kelly Vaughn is the Director of Facilities Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Kelly Vaughn, the Director of Facilities Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma, is not only dedicated to ensuring a top-notch educational environment but also deeply committed to making a positive impact on the Edmond community.

Q: Do you live in Edmond, work in Edmond, or both?

A: I live and work in Edmond, and I love it! My family has lived here for 9+ years after relocating from Clarksville, Tennessee, for my husband’s job.

Q: Where did you grow up and go to school?

A: I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, through high school and then moved to Oklahoma when my dad retired from the Air Force. My parents rode horses and played polo, and they wanted to retire in horse country. They explored Norman first but fell in love with Edmond. Shortly after moving here, I married my husband, who was in the Army, and then we traveled everywhere the Army sent us. I went to college along the way attending several universities, but ultimately, I graduated from the University of Maryland while living in Germany. In 2017 I returned to school for my master’s, earning my MBA from UCO.

Q: What did you do prior to getting involved with UCO?

A: I’ve always had a love for business. I’ve worked in accounting and in graphic design and then stayed home with my children while they were small. Once they were school-age, I started working in their school, and I’ve been in education ever since. I worked at the Elementary level before moving to Oklahoma in 2014, when I entered higher education.

Q: How did you get involved with UCO?

A: Before my husband retired from the Army, he was assigned to UCO’s ROTC program as an instructor, which moved us from TN to OK. We were thrilled to get an assignment close to family with his retirement on the horizon. I got my start at UCO in student housing and worked in that department for over six years. I made the move to Facilities two years ago.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I’ve always worked on the administration side of education, and I am proud to lend my services in a way that supports the university and allows our students to focus on their education. They may not notice that the campus is well tended to, the buildings are clean and comfortable, and we are updating our facilities, but that means we are doing our job. I also oversee our business office and enjoy making sure we are the best stewards of our funds when it comes to projects, contracts, and utility bills. I love identifying opportunities for the university to save money!

Q: What’s something you’re passionate about in your personal life?

A: Outside of spending time with my family, I also love volunteering in the Edmond community. I serve on the Edmond Women’s Club and the HOPE Center board, and I enjoy serving at other local organizations like Edmond Mobile Meals, Project 66, and UR Special.

I am passionate about continuous improvement and leadership. I am constantly reading and listening to podcasts on these subjects. I am a huge Patrick Lencioni fan and especially love his podcasts At the Table with Patrick Lencioni and The Working Genius. Other podcasts I enjoy are How to Be Awesome At Your Job and Beyond the To-Do List. I’ve recently been exploring podcasts and books about nonprofit management as well.

Q: What do you like about Edmond?

A: I love that Edmond has a small-town feel while offering a variety of activities, restaurants, and shopping. The people of Edmond are genuine and welcoming, and people are what really makes a community special. Both of my children attended our outstanding schools, and great nonprofits and support systems are in place. Living and working in Edmond provides families with an excellent foundation and support system.

Q: What is your number one tip for other professionals?

A: Consider every opportunity that presents itself. A new experience may seem intimidating, but you will likely learn and grow from it, even if what you know is that the path is not for you. Additionally, never stop learning. There is always an opportunity to grow and be better today than we were yesterday. Find a topic that sparks joy and immerse yourself in it.

True fulfillment comes from growing and giving of ourselves. Take some time to reflect on each experience you have. The more self-aware you are, the better the chances that you will find a niche that lends to your strengths and feeds your soul.

Q: You were recently honored as the Member of the Year for the Edmond Women’s Club. Tell us more about that. 

A: Edmond Women’s Club is a group of service-minded women who enjoy enriching our community.  Our main goals are to support local nonprofits by volunteering and raising money we award through grants and scholarships.  Last year club members served over 700 service hours, and we raised over $14,000 that we awarded in scholarships and $90,000 that we awarded in grants, an economic impact of over $100,000!

EWC just celebrated its 40th birthday, and I am proud to be a part of this organization that has been creating a positive impact in Edmond for four decades. I have been in the club for five years and have served in various capacities. I thoroughly enjoy using my strengths to impact the club and the community I live in positively. The club has so many outstanding leaders, and I am truly honored to be recognized.

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of Backslash Creative. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.