Kelly Small on ethical inclusive practices in advertising and self compassion

Kelly Small on ethical inclusive practices in advertising and self compassion

Dec 2, 2020

Today’s guest is someone I met years ago while working at an ad agency. While the career wasn’t for me, I am so darn grateful for the awesome people I’ve connected and still keep in touch with! Kelly Small is one of them.

Kelly is an award-winning creative director, designer, and writer with deep roots in communication design, marketing, and advertising, and a special focus on ethical and inclusive creative practice.

A proven creative leader, strategist, and affiliated design researcher with Emily Carr University (Studio for Critical Making and the Graphic Research Unit), Kelly holds a master’s degree in design where their research focused on design ethics, social impact, social innovation, and sustainability. Kelly received the Governor General’s academic gold medal for their graduate work.

Currently serving as executive creative director at Grassriots Inc., Kelly is committed to applying their 15+ years of commercial experience to exclusively supporting progressive, impact-focused clients.

Kelly’s book, The Conscious Creative: Practical Ethics for Purposeful Work, published by House of Anansi Press, is a collection of over 100 actions for ethical creative practice. It is the culmination of Kelly’s research in their pursuit of a more humane, values-driven and inclusive creative industry.

In today’s episode Kelly shares:

  • The final straw that lead them to reevaluate their approach in advertising
  • How the grass is not greener on the other side and how empowering that realization is
  • Some of the practices that help them stay focused and present in their process
  • The good days and the bad and learning to quiet their judgy inner critique
  • Their overall experience of writing their first book

and so much more!

Let’s dive in!


And if you’re visual like me here’s a video of our conversation 🙂



Follow Kelly

Kelly’s favourite book

  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Kelly’s book:

  • The Conscious Creative: Practical Ethics for Purposeful Work




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What was your takeaway from today’s episode?

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