TAC Employee Spotlight - Kelley Nail

Grace under pressure

By County magazine staff

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Kelley Nail loves her job, and it shines through everything she touches. She is Executive Assistant for TAC Executive Director Susan M. Redford and serves as board liaison for five TAC boards. She has a lot of schedules to keep track of and people to support, but you’d never know how challenging her role is by her demeanor, because she brings  a lighthearted ease to everything she does.

“Kelley is a breath of fresh air,” Redford says. “Kind, genuine and compassionate — she truly cares about our members and TAC employees. Every executive office needs someone like Kelley Nail!”

A significant portion of Nail’s job is keeping track of Redford’s busy schedule. Redford notes: “I determined early in my tenure at TAC that I was in desperate need of someone to manage me and my office. Kelley has made a huge difference in my work output and timeliness.”

Nail’s background includes 20-plus years as an administrative professional in the oil and gas industry before joining TAC in 2015. She quickly learned for herself what she had heard about many times before from her stepdad and former TAC Executive Director Gene Terry: TAC’s service-oriented mission to support counties is powerful and rewarding. She said it felt like coming home.

What is your job like? What are you responsible for?

Knowing where Susan is at all times is my primary role, which may sound funny, but it’s harder than you might think. She is extremely busy, and anything I can do to help lessen her load is truly a pleasure. I handle her calendar scheduling, travel and communications with our five TAC boards, to name just a few tasks.

I also see my role as bringing levity and fun to the office, which is made easier by the fact that Susan is so fun. But I also recognize that her role comes with a great deal of stress, as you would anticipate for a leader of any statewide organization. Maintaining positivity and bringing some playfulness to work are additional ways I can support Susan.

What is your history at TAC?

Of course I knew about TAC well before joining, because my stepdad Gene Terry had a long and rewarding career here. My background had been in the private sector, but I was ready for a change and had the opportunity to become Administrative Assistant for the County Relations Officers in 2015. That position introduced me to the many important functions of county government, and I was able to meet county officials from across the state. Two years ago, I accepted the offer to become Susan’s Executive Assistant.

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

It certainly presented challenges. At the beginning of the pandemic, we needed to transition all of TAC’s board meetings to a virtual format, at least temporarily, and that came with the usual virtual-world problems. I also found out how much I thrive from the energy I get being surrounded by co-workers and members.

Laughter is a wonderful thing, though. I grew up hearing my father say, “Life is short, keep it light,” and it’s been a guiding force for my life and one that I’ve tried to teach my daughter as well. It has helped me stay flexible and grateful throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Is there a particular initiative  you’ve enjoyed?

I helped administer the County Best Practices program. I loved the opportunity to work behind the scenes to coordinate the presentation of awards that recognize the amazing work our counties do. I jump at any opportunity to celebrate the great work being done in Texas counties.

"Every executive office needs someone like Kelley Nail!"

Susan M. Redford,
Executive Director

What is most rewarding about working at TAC?

My boss and my co-workers! I have gained so many close friends working here, including Susan. TAC is full of talented and smart people, and there is a spirit of collaboration and service, which is invaluable. The implementation of the TAC Way fundamentals has strengthened our working relationships throughout the Association, both among the staff and extended out to our members as well. We truly are a TAC family.

I’m a lifelong Texan and it’s been a great pleasure to work at an organization that supports Texas county government. My daughter Reagan joined TAC in 2018, so three generations of our family have contributed to TAC’s mission. I’m pretty proud of that.