Kelly Horton is a high performing executive level leader, policy influencer, advocate, stakeholder relations builder. She is a positive change agent with passion and commitment to serving as a catalyst to inform public policy and initiatives with solid science resulting in the creation of happier, healthier lives for people across geographic areas and socio-economic groups. Kelly is nationally recognized as an expert in food security, environmental nutrition, and evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs and policies.
As the North America Policy Director for Mars, Incorporated, Kelly develops and manages the execution of strategies, plans, and programs to reach and engage stakeholders. She is responsible for leading Mars’ North American Food Policy Group, engaging key policymakers, collaborating with key NGOs, and working with trade organizations. Prior to working at Mars, Inc., Kelly was Agriculture and Nutrition Senior Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) where she was responsible for Agriculture and FDA Appropriations. Her portfolio included food and nutrition policy, food safety, food labeling, drug and device approval, environment, energy, and interior policy.
Her previous experience included being the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging’s Policy Director. She came to Washington, D.C. as a Health & Aging Policy Fellow/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow working as a Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's office and within the Obama Administration’s USDA Farm- to-School Tactical Team. Before her fellowship, Kelly founded Connect Nutrition in the Pacific Northwest, a consulting organization specializing in nutrition policy and advocacy, food security, sustainable food systems, nutrition intervention planning, and program monitoring and evaluation. After earning her masters she served a Graduate Fellow on the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board working on the first national report on the marketing of food to children. Before working in the field nutrition and food policy, Kelly spent nearly a decade managing call center operations for several private companies.
Kelly earned her master of science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy while at the same time completing the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Simmons College in Boston. Prior to graduate school she completed post-baccalaureate studies in Life Sciences at Bastyr University. Kelly received her bachelor of science in business management. In 2012, Kelly earned Board Certification as a Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition. Having a passion for education, she has also worked as an adjunct nutrition science lecturer at several colleges and volunteered as a nutrition educator for several non-profit organizations.