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Employee Spotlight: Kelley Persson

March 21, 2023

Meet Kelley Persson, a member services representative with Ascend brands National Academy of Sports Medicine and Athletics and Fitness Association of America. Kelley has been with Ascend for more than 20 years and said she has experienced tremendous fulfillment playing a role in customers’ health journeys.

“At NASM and AFAA, our mission is to provide world-class fitness professionals with the knowledge and tools to transform lives,” says Kelley. “I truly feel that what we do here is very important, as helping individuals through their health and fitness journey is a life-changing experience for most. Knowing that I have helped with that, even in just a small way, brings me joy.”

Hear more from Kelley about what it’s like working at Ascend in our Q&A below.

What’s your favorite Ascend value and why?

Embrace Change. I have been through so much change over my time here, which is not always an easy thing for me, as I tend to be a creature of habit. However, some great things have come from it, and I now look forward to our ever-evolving workplace and the places it may lead us.

What’s the greatest piece of advice a mentor has given you?

“If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.” This truly resonated with me as life can be very challenging, and if things are easy, I must not be doing it right. The hard road is the one I want to be on, as I know in the end it will have been the right path.

If you could have a completely different career for a week, what would it be and why?

I had always wanted to be a nurse, and it is still something I consider. I would love to work as a nurse. I know this job can be crazy and exhausting, but to me, these medical workers are truly heroes, and I would love to get a glimpse into their world.

How has your perspective changed over your 20 years with Ascend?

To put it in perspective, I started working with NASM just four months post 9/11, which now feels like it was so long ago, but also seems like it was just yesterday. Over my time here I have seen so much change and have met so many great people, while a lot of them have come and gone, some of those familiar faces are still here. When I began here, the NASM office was in Calabasas, CA, and home to just under 20 employees. As of today, NASM/AFAA is home to 240 employees, and I only see growth in its future! I look forward to what is to come and my future here with Ascend.


We’re always looking for talented, passionate professionals to join us in our mission to help change lives. If this sounds like a place where you’d thrive, explore our career opportunities at ascendlearning.com/careers.