Saying Goodbye and Thank You to Kelly Smith of #lrnchat

Earlier tonight I learned about the passing of Kelly Smith, one of my fellow moderators for the weekly Twitter Chat #lrnchat, and a great friend to the learning and development community.

I was privileged to connect with Kelly fairly regularly through the planning of each week’s #lrnchat discussion. Kelly was a great example of how “friend” has been redefined by social media to me. I’ve only met Kelly once in person, but the regularity of our sharing online helped me get to know him well enough that I find myself wishing we had more time to continue to connect, share, and indulge in our mutual passion for learning.

I’m glad that circumstances gave me the opportunity to meet Kelly in Dallas during a conference a few years ago. Kelly, Jane Bozarth, Karl Kapp, and I stepped out of the conference for a few hours to visit the site of the JFK assassination. I find myself recalling some of the conversations we had and some of the pleasant surprises that always emerge when you meet someone you know online in person for the first time. While I didn’t consider it at the time, I find myself thankful now that we took an informal stroll that afternoon, as it gave me the opportunity to chat a bit with Kelly, and connect with him more personally.

For many people reading this, Kelly’s headshot above may not be immediately recognized. If you connected with him on Twitter, you may be more familiar with the avatar he used for his Twitter profile.

Kelly described himself in his Twitter bio as “I help companies improve performance through developing learning solutions and supporting software implementations, upgrades, and migration efforts.” His work extended beyond typical core skillsets of training, helping orgainzations with business analysis, quality assurance, software testing, and more in addition to his work in L&D.

My connections to Kelly were primarily through #lrnchat and Twitter. I always appreciated the earnestness of Kelly’s contributions to our discussions. #lrnchat is a chat that is designed to help people explore the world of learning, and Kelly has been a big part of helping shape and drive that conversation in recent years. We will definitely miss his presence and the unique perspectives he added to our discussions.

Kelly’s memory will live on in many ways. His Twitter page serves as a great reminder of the contributions he made to our community through his sharing. You can learn a lot about the man and the perspectives he had about learning and development via the story that emerges through the content he has curated there through the years, and the unique succinct thoughts he shared in #lrnchat.

While I’m sad that Kelly is no longer with us, I’m grateful that life’s turns connected us the way it did. My life, and our community, was a better place from having him be a part of it.

He will be missed.