Leader Spotlight

Keli_GoffKeli Goff (Young Leader 2008)

Special Correspondent, The Root

What can Americans learn from the Swiss?
How to be as graceful and dignified as Roger Federer.

What can the Swiss learn from the Americans?
How to be more outspoken at times, like Ambassador Faith Whittlesey who has never backed away from a battle—even if she had to fight it backwards and in high heels.

What defines your leadership style?
I speak (or write) my mind even when it may not always be popular to do so, but I also try to keep an open mind and listen to other voices when they speak theirs. Because you never know when someone might say something mind blowing, life changing or ultimately—mind changing.

What qualities do you most admire in a person?
Humility, but I also admire people who forge their own paths instead of simply following the path others have before them, or that others expect of them.

What are your greatest strengths? 
Being tenacious, which helps when you are a journalist. If someone says no to an interview I keep asking until they say yes!

What is your greatest weakness?
Chocolate, which makes going to Switzerland difficult because I’m tempted to spend my entire time there eating sweets!

Where do you live?
The East Village in New York City

Where are you from? 
Houston, Texas

What is your favorite leisure activity?
Attending the theatre.

What is your goal in life? 
To help tell stories that might not get told if I were not writing about them.



About Keli Goff

As an expert on youth and minority voters, Keli emerged as one of the political pundits most in demand during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. She has appeared on numerous national news programs, including The CBS Early Show, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, and Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor. Keli has also been seen internationally as a political commentator on CNN International and Europe's GMTV and is a contributor to Black Entertainment Television's political affairs program The Truth with Jeff Johnson. She is the author of Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence (Basic Books, March 2008), which includes interviews with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, among others. An editorial contributor to RushmoreDrive.com and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Keli has an extensive background in politics and media, including experience as an aide to and later campaign manager for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. She also served as the lead publicist for SheSource.org, an initiative launched to increase the presence of women experts on major news networks. Keli holds a B.A. from New York University and a Master's degree in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.  


Past Spotlights

Ron Nehring
Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California

Jamie Dailey
Lead Vocalist
Dailey & Vincent

Karen Tan
Chief Actuary
Zurich Life Insurance Company

Thomas Sanderson
Co-Director and Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Niklaus Nuspliger
Political Correspondent for European Affairs
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Fabian Pfortmüller
Co-Founder, Holstee; Co-Founder Sandbox 

Mike Lake
President and CEO, Leading Cities, and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

Nicholas Johnston
Head First Word Desk
Bloomberg News

Andreas Bach
Head Europe, Middle East and Africa for Aviation, Marine and Credit and Surety Claims, Swiss Reinsurance Company

Nate DaPore
President & CEO, PeopleMatter

Christina Bellantoni
Politics Editor, PBS NewsHour

Spotlight Archive