Dr. James Kelley

Leadership Speaker

Dr. James Kelley

Who is Dr. James Kelley? Well, my path is still being built brick by brick and the current brick is a book: The Crucible’s Gift: 5 lessons from Authentic Leaders who thrive in adversity. But what about all the previous bricks.

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon by a Canadian mom and a Midwest dad, Dr. Kelley was the youngest of 3 1/2 kids (long story) in a traditional Irish Catholic family, which means loud, sarcastic, passive aggressive and a touch of physical discipline, minus the obligation of Mass. James’s parents did the best they could with what they knew, having to both work to pay the bills. Consequently, the academic bar was low and he barely got into college. In the middle of his time at university, James left university to sell used and new cars in Portland, Or. However, one afternoon his life took a turn. After walking into the used car shack, two colleagues were lining up a white substance and rolling a dollar bill and asked me if he wanted to try. Well, having foresight, four months later James was back at university full-time.

After completing his undergraduate degree, James’s life took a series of twists and turns, ups and downs and a few zigs and zags. The death of my father (between my third and first fourth year), an MBA, a year teaching English in Japan, a DUI, and three jobs later, he was a rudderless vessel at sea. However, one night on Portland State University’s campus, while attending an event for potential Peace Corps recruits, his life took an unsuspecting turn. In one brief conversation, with four Ph.D. students, James realized that he wasn’t the dumbest person in the room, and thought a Ph.D. was possible.

Against the laws of nature and human belief, in 2010, James completed his Ph.D. in International Marketing at the University of Western Australia, in Perth, Australia and ascended to higher education. His family moved to Philadelphia for a seven-year stint. Now, James and his wife Mary, his four kids and live just outside of Dubai where he teaches, writes, and produces a bi-weekly podcast Executives After Hours.

As Dr. Kelley’s journey continues he can only hope that his wife and four kids enjoy the path as much as he does.
Dr. Kelley speaks on authentic leaders, inspirational or corporate wellness strategies.


Dr. James Kelley is one of the most energetic academics I have ever met. What I love about James is he has the able to take the most complex set of ideas and make them interesting and accessible. An example might be why Trump is seen as a success by many. James is able to take complex psychology and marketing theory, mash it up and apply the results to the case in an interactive, entertaining and informative way and leave you feeling proud of yourself for having learned something.

I have had the pleasure of having James join me on my radio program Nightline on Dubai Eye and I have nothing but respect for the way James is able to duck and dive with questions and ideas that are thrown at him via the messenger service and phone calls.


I have had the pleasure of meeting Tom Kelley of IDEO and Tom Peters of In Search of Excellence several times and I am not exaggerating when I say that James Kelley embodies the same infectious intellect and ability to engage an audience that both of those speakers are sought after for.

There is no question that Dr. James Kelley is a rising star on both the business and motivational speaking circuit and it would be a true loss to not accept any opportunity to not only hear but interact with him.

James Piecowye PhD
Host of Nightline on Dubai Eye 103.8

“Dr. James Kelley consistently shows professionalism, creativity and amazing insights in his business. I have watched him grow his podcast considerably over the last year or so and am quite impressed with him as a host AND as a guest. Personally, I host a podcast called The Nice Guys on Business and Dr. Kelley has been a guest and contributor on the show and our audience has responded quite positively to his content on our show. If you would like more information, please feel free to connect directly with me.”
~Doug Sandler Host, The Nice Guys on Business.

Interview: http://www.c-suiteradio.com/episode/ep-309-taking-big-funkin-world-doctor-james-kelley/

I had the privilege of “experiencing” Dr. James Kelley in action as a guest presenter in an online interview with him for my YouTube Workplace Wellness series and as a web-based guest presenter to my Workplace Wellness Ambassador Program. Dr. Kelley presents with a flair that cannot be duplicated. He is a dynamic and confident presenter and connects with his audience with his own unique authenticity and passion. He enthralls his audience with his wit, wisdom, and “from the heart” life experiences and leaves them wanting more. I would highly endorse Dr. James Kelley for any speaking engagement for which he felt qualified.

Lisa Kelly, President
Kelly Wellness Consulting Inc.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIoA3MC8nro&feature=youtu.be

James Kelley is top notch, the real thing. His soulful and engaging personality leaves people on the edge of their seats. The ratings of Up or Out with Connie when we released James Kelley episode soared. he empowers and challenges the audience to dream big. He is a natural leader and brings out the best in people. Get James involved with your next event. He will leave your audience wanting more and event planners a shining star for choosing James Kelley.
Connie Pheiff, Chair
Pheiff Group, Inc.


Other Appearances:

Presentation: Employee Healthcare Benefits Congress (Global Event) (Do not allow video)
2016, Moderated single panel
2017, Moderating two panels (Oct 3-4)

Presentation: Center for International Programs, Saint Joseph’s University

Show: Magnificent Time for Entrepreneurs

Show: Boss Academy

Show: Dr. Pat Show (on across 90 radio stations and multiple countries)

Show: Modern Leader with Jake Carlson

Show: Shareable

Show: Your Best Manager

Show: Redesigning Wellness

Show: 21-day Wellness Summit

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