2023 African American History Month Spotlights – Reishia Kelsey

Reishia KelseyReishia Kelsey is the chief of the Office of Executive Secretariat, Office of Public and Governmental Affairs at ATF’s headquarters. Her division leads all ATF official events, protocol, ATF history, and all official correspondence on behalf of the ATF Director as well as providing reports on behalf of the agency to the Department of Justice.

Kelsey is the oldest of four daughters and raised in a military family that required them to travel all throughout the United States and exposing her to various cultures and traditions across the country. Her mother, a retired police officer, showed a dedication and commitment to public safety in the communities she served. This gave Kelsey a unique perspective on not only her mother’s role, but her own place in the world. Because of this exposure, Kelsey was used to participating in activities where she could look around the table – see who was at the table, and who wasn’t.

Exploring Different Career Paths

Kelsey started her career in broadcast journalism as a freelance associate producer covering Washington politics and national events for Cable News Network, FOX News Network, CBS This Morning, and the Public Broadcasting Service. She transitioned from journalism to public relations (PR), as an account manager with Porter Novelli – providing media and PR support to various clients, including Centers for Disease Control and GOJO Industries (makers of PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer). She later accepted a communications manager position with In-Q-Tel, the independent strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community. This ultimately led Kelsey to the federal government in 2011. She started with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency serving in a variety of roles, including public affairs officer, legislative liaison officer and deputy chief of staff. Drawing inspiration from her mother, Kelsey joined ATF as she has always been willing to grow from new challenges.

Importance of Diverse Voices in Federal Law Enforcement

Kelsey believes diverse voices equal diverse perspectives, resulting in comprehensive technology solutions, innovations, policies, and programs that are welcoming and inclusive for all. Kelsey’s upbringing allowed her to glimpse a variety of communities, lifestyles, cultures, and customs. She also saw how many communities were overlooked or forgotten. She believes it is important for underrepresented minorities to build networks and establish visibility.

Reflecting on Black History Month

Kelsey believes the importance of Black History Month is acknowledging the significant contributions our ancestors made and their enduring perseverance that continues to live on. Our ancestors were the ultimate role models, they showed us how to overcome, stay the course, and succeed.

Last Reviewed February 16, 2023