Travel and Personal Growth: Jeanne Kelly Of Credit Coach — The Kelly Group Coaching On Why & How Traveling Can Help Us Become Better Human Beings

An interview with Maria Angelova


Keep learning. I became a book lover, so funny how that happened because my girlfriends from school still laugh about how I never like reading. We have to soak up as much in pages of magazines, articles, books that people are willing to share.

Being vulnerable and authentic are some of today’s popular buzzwords. It may seem counterintuitive to be vulnerable, as many of us have been taught to project an air of confidence, be a boss, and act like we know everything. In Brene Brown’s words, “vulnerability takes courage.” So is vulnerability a strength or a weakness? Can someone be authentic without being vulnerable? How can being authentic and vulnerable help someone grow both personally and professionally? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, mental health professionals and business and life coaches who can share stories and examples of “How Authenticity and Vulnerability Pay Off and Help You Win Personally and Professionally.” As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeanne Kelly.

Jeanne Kelly is an author, speaker, and coach who helps people achieve a higher credit score, help with identity theft and understand credit reporting. #HealthyCredit is her motto.

As the founder of The Kelly Group in 2000 and the author of The 90-Day Credit Challenge & The Credit Makeover, Jeanne Kelly is a nationally recognized authority on credit consulting and credit scores. She has appeared on, The Today Show, The Breakfast Club radio, quoted/written for; Huffington Post,,, and more.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I am a New Yorker, My Dad worked in the city as an iron worker and Mom stayed home with us. We moved to upstate NY when I was in junior high to live on a farm~! I really enjoyed being on the farm with my family and I have an amazing circle of friends.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own” — Donald Duck.

First of all I am a Disney fan because I grew up going for family vacations to Disney World and I believe it help encourage my imagination. I love this quote so much because even though I help people save money with a healthier credit score — I do know that our happiness is what can make us successful each day. In my industry I often hear people ask me about money and that some think it to be a bad thing to want more of — and I always explain how it can help us with our lifestyle of options but reference back to this quote.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Secret -

I remember when I opened up my business and I just kept focusing on building it better each day. I would dream of things I wanted to do. One day a friend of mine told me to read The Secret and I was not a big reader. Back in school, I hardly read a book so I was not a book person at the time. Since I was going to take a trip and be on a train for a long time I decided to buy the book and after 15 pages in, I could not put it down. I learned so much about the law of attraction and I kept thinking, this is a secret, but I have been doing this. Now that I know how to use this, I will more often. Not only has the book helped me in my life, it also helped me realize that I could enjoy reading. I feel in love with the self help section of the bookstore.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s begin with a definition of terms so that each of us and our readers are on the same page. What exactly does being authentic mean?

To me — it is being your true self. I had to figure out who I was — because I remember I went from school, to marriage to being a Mom to then everything falling apart and I became a Single Mom. I was 26 years old and I remember figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be.

What does being vulnerable mean? Can you explain?

Being okay with yourself and when you share you ideas or stories — it might not be for everyone.

What are the positive aspects of being authentic and vulnerable? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?

I can remember sharing my story when I was growing my business with my referral sources. I opened a business to help others learn about building better credit. It all came about because when I was a single mom I realized how bad my credit was and I had to fix it. Once I learned a way to build better credit I wanted to share that with others. I never minded sharing that story with mortgage brokers who would refer me some clients, but I do remember one time I was asked by a lender to speak at an event. Before I went to speak he asked me to share my story first — and I thought you mean tell them I was broke, poor and in debt with bad credit? You think then they want to listen to me tell them how I can help them? He said, yes! You have a great story to share — this was after being in business for only two years — but I have to thank my friend, Willie Man because of that shift in my presentation it has helped me grow my business. Sharing my story at first was so scary, but I love sharing it now because it can help other relate to you more and give them hope to accomplish their goals.

Are there negative aspects to authenticity and vulnerability? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?

If someone wants to bring you down — they possibly can if they want to use your hard times and make you feel bad about them. You just have to remember that you share your story to help lift people up — and for others who want to discourage you, just keep them behind.

From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common barriers that hold someone back from being authentic and vulnerable?

I think if you are trying to look professional and successful — it can be difficult. I remember sometimes I would be in board rooms with others who would talk about what college they went to — where they were going to travel next week — how many vacation homes they might have and meanwhile for me I was just starting out. Even though sometimes I felt uncomfortable being the non college grad, low income, trying to purchase a home person at that board room table, I realize I was still invited. I always was grateful for the opportunity and I would normally not have a big powerpoint presentation, instead I wanted to have a conversation. I wanted them to know more about me, why I was working on helping others and how we can collaborate. I have to say often I would get told that I was a breathe of fresh air without another boring powerpoint and it always made me feel great. That is just how my style is — a bottom line kind of gal out of New York.

Here is the central question of our discussion. What are five ways that being authentic and vulnerable pay off, and help you win, both personally and professionally?

1- Lets you sleep well at night. You have one shot on this earth, live it your way.

2- Your circle — who you surround your self with. Sometimes it is hard we get stuck with our school friends, work friends, but you need to find your tribe. That can change as life cycles change. Just always remember to surround yourself with others who make you feel great and lift you up.

3-Do what you love and the money always flows. I believe this big time. I think if you each day are working on what you love, it is easy to be successful.

4-Never forget. When you make it to a level of your dream, remember how it all started. Always stay with gratitude.

5-Keep learning. I became a book lover, so funny how that happened because my girlfriends from school still laugh about how I never like reading. We have to soak up as much in pages of magazines, articles, books that people are willing to share.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would love to share my mission of healthy credit that makes cent$. We work so hard daily making an income, but we do not learn enough about financial wellness. I would love to be part of the credit education for others to have credit save them money, not cost them money.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

This is hard because I have a list! If I had to pick one person it would have to be Oprah! The empire she has built by sharing her authentic self.

How can our readers follow you online?

Social Media:


Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.