Kelly Vielmo’s ’99 LinkedIn profile reads like Who’s Who in the management consulting and international development industries. Yet, when he explains “It’s very rewarding . . . and very exhausting!,” he’s not commenting on his work as a senior associate at PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP). He’s describing his first year as a spouse and parent of three.
Last summer Vielmo and Jack Montgomery, his partner of 12 years, adopted three siblings—a son and two daughters under five—on the same day that they married in Washington, D.C., where they live. “Five years ago we started to think about how to create a family in non-traditional ways. We looked into international adoption but those are few and far between for same-sex couples. Then we looked at the D.C. foster care system,” Vielmo explains.
“What better way to give back than in our home area? Initially we took in the brother-sister pair through foster care and then their little sister. We didn’t account for how to get it all done. Having kids and a family has changed my perspective.
“Career was my priority. Now it’s family, which requires more flexibility and fortunately, my employer understands,” Vielmo says, acknowledging that PwC was named the “Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace” in 2011 and ranks consistently among Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
“My focus now is to be as good a parent as I can be. I walked into this deliberately and willingly. I could spend from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the computer as everyone does in consulting, but now I have three young lives depending on me and my spouse, of course. We got married, not to make a political statement, but to make sure we were set for the kids, with benefits, life insurance, wills.”
Although the couple did not seek the attention, The Washington Post featured the new family to encourage others to consider foster care, with adoption as an option.
Of his professional advancements, Vielmo says he didn’t “expect the business world to be so competitive. When I moved to D.C., I realized that to advance I would have to step up my game. There are lots of highly motivated people here, so to set myself apart, in my case, I had to get an advanced degree.”
“My Central international experience in Vienna gave me the courage to believe I could make it wherever I lived, conversing in the language and working,” says the international business and German graduate. “When I left Central, my first job was using German every day at Prima Games, a California-based publishing company. What could be better than that?”
Of all of his positions to date, Vielmo says his favorite was at the World Bank, where he worked with Central alumna Laura Dillon-Binkley ’96. “At the World Bank, I was dealing with different cultures and languages every day in a nice melting pot in one building. That really helped prepare me for future experiences.”
“I became very good at being a generalist because of my liberal arts education. But to advance in a career, you have to specialize and narrow down what you are known for. I thought for me that was going to be sustainability, and I got certification in that. But in the corporate world, you get assigned to new projects all the time, and I’ve become known for my organizational skills and attention to detail. In my current work at PwC, I’m on the consulting side, in the federal practice. We support federal clients to organize business processes, and for me specifically, that’s Veterans Affairs.”
Vielmo’s advice to current students is to “try as many new things as possible. I was busy from morning to night with my campus involvement. And don’t be concerned about the cost of study abroad. That extra $4,000, $6,000, $10,000 to study abroad is soon forgotten but the experience lasts forever.”
“As you approach 40, and I am, it’s all about continuous improvement and fulfillment,” concludes Vielmo, whose personal and professional plate seems abundant.