Obvious Chats: Kelsey Simpson
One of the best parts about working with Obviously is getting to know our incredible, dynamic, and inspiring team. Our squad is the best in the game, but no one is quite so full of surprises as our rockstar HR manager, Kelsey Simpson (@itskelseysimpson). In addition to keeping our office running smoothly (and making sure we always have snacks) she's also a horseback rider, boxer, interior decorator, rower, and influencer. I'm exhausted just typing out that sentence. I caught up with Obviously's own Renaissance woman to get a little insight into how she excels at literally everything.
Get ready for some serious motivation, people.
First off, introduce yourself: Name, hometown, and what you do at Obviously.
I’m Kelsey, I moved here from Charleston, South Carolina, and I sort of do everything here! I’m a wearer of many hats and jane of all trades, but to be specific, I manage our NY office, am Obviously’s Human Resources Manager, and am Mae’s trusty sidekick.
You have a TON of varying interests. How do you stay on top of everything?
Honestly, I don’t know why I do or how it happened, but I somewhere along the line just started collecting skill sets and interests and found each one to be beneficial to the whole for many reasons. Equestrian for patience and follow through, crew for leadership and determination, boxing for a sound body and mind.
In regards to how I stay on top of things and keep everything in check, I’d say that bullet journaling has truly saved my life. It allows me to combine my work and personal life and stay on top of everything all at once instead of having a million lists and calendars, I keep it all in one little recycled softcover notebook and start a new one each month. I could go on and on about organizational strategies, but...
Two of your interests that I found most surprising were that you once trained as an Olympic Equestrian rider and that you now box regularly. When did you first start riding horses?
I first started riding horses at the age of 3. I started training competitively at the age of 7. I was training with a Normandy Jumpers barn, which meant that I was trained in the style of french jumping, huntseat, and dressage (all english). At the age of 10 I could jump over 3 ½ feet high and was training with students at least 3 years my senior. I got my first horse at the age of 12, a ginormous 17 hand tall second-hand white appaloosa named “Luck of the Irish,” Paddy for short, but in order to get more serious, I needed a better partner, so at age 14, I found a retired Kentucky Derby thoroughbred named “The Odyssey,” Oz for short, who I broke and taught how to compete in my divisions, and we went on to be extremely successful. I showed him under the name “Homer’s Odyssey”--a homage to my heritage (my family is from Chios, Greece, where Homer is from). Oz was my world, and we were training at least 2-4 solid hours a day, 7 days a week, before school and after school. I someday plan on getting another horse, “Homer’s Iliad,” Ily for short, and getting back into it as it was always the love of my life, but who knows if I’ll ever leave the city.
What is your favorite thing about horses and horseback riding?
I always just got horses. Maybe it's a big animal thing, because I got Roscoe (her giant, giant Airedale Terrier) as a more manageable beast that reminded me of a horse! I just connect well with them. My favorite part of horseback riding is the rush. When you are jumping, it feels like flying, it’s dangerous, its exciting, and it’s unpredictable. It’s a feeling like no other in the world.
How far did you go in competition?
I have placed in over 200 events, all within 1st and 3rd place and showed all over the country.
What prompted the transition from horseback riding to boxing? (Seems like a BIG change)
When I was 17, sadly, Oz fell ill and I retired him to pasture, where he died peacefully two years later. After that, I stumbled into crew, where I was a coxswain my junior year of high school. I went on to excel at that, and received a gold medal in every single race I competed in and received an NCAA scholarship to college for that after only doing crew for one year. When I finished college, I decided I wanted to pursue something for pure enjoyment that also kept me in shape and allowed me to be competitive in my daily life and also something that I could easily do daily in New York City--this led me to start boxing two years ago. The competitive nature of all three sports is still the same--I think I just have this fire in my soul and desire to win (but I’m a great competitor, and by no means a sore loser or winner!) Plus, challenging myself is my favorite past time. I still love horseback riding and crew though and jump at any opportunity to get back in the saddle or back in a racing shell.
Have you ever competed in an actual fight? Do you ever plan to?
I spar often but I haven’t gotten in the ring for an actual fight yet, but I plan to start training for it soon.
What is one thing that most people would find surprising about boxing?
You don’t have to be big, you don’t have to be strong, but you have to have a certain competitive nature about you and be very quick and very agile. Also, it would surprise most people to know that they are likely doing it wrong.
What do you love about boxing?
I love how it makes me feel powerful, strong, it keeps me in great shape both body and mind, and helps me blow off steam. I am often a really friendly, happy go lucky person and I think that I sort of channel all of my frustrations into boxing and it works wonders. I leave everything negative each day at the bag and leave the gym with only positive.
What is your personal motto?
That’s a tough one. I guess it’d be to do something that scares you every single day, no matter how little, the golden rule, and to make sure everyone in your life knows how much you care every single day--who knows what tomorrow will bring!
And with that, I have to go take a nap. Until next time...
Questions for Kelsey? Leave em in the comments!