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Meet Me.

What I am good at:
Facilitation (strategy, vision, mission)

Start-up GTM

Consumer Psychology
Marketing Design

My Bio

Hi! I am Dr. James Kelley! The Dr. was achieved in 2010 when I completed my Ph.D. at The University of Western Australia, where I researched international consumer behavior. What does that mean? I studied why, when, what, and how often consumers buy and their attitudes and behaviors. 

Before receiving my Ph.D., I lived in Japan, traveled across the U.S.A. on a train, opened an ad agency for Nationwide Advertising Services (NAS), and slowly went bald.

After I received my Ph.D., I taught Higher Education at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA, and at United Arab Emirates University in the UAE. Along the way, I was part of a team of researchers who published several articles on human behavior change. In 2020 I decided to leave academia (arguably the most secure job ever) and launched a startup (arguably the most insecure job ever). 

The startup (qChange) was based on my research of leaders, their adversity, and how it shaped their view on leading others in the flow of work. More specifically, how academic research (e.g., nudge theory, learning theory and self-determination theory) can have a direct and immediate impact on leaders and teams' soft skill behaviors. There have been many, many, many lessons on this journey. I recently left qChange (July 2023).

In 2018 a book was born after traveling to Peniche, Portugal, on the family summer holiday. I spent 6-weeks living at a local coffee shop reading, writing, and completing The Crucible's Gift while the rest of the family played at the beach. 

After all of this, I am a dad of four kids and a husband to one. We are very fung shui at the Kelley house as every male is older than the next female—very intentional family design. We reside in beautiful Bend, Oregon. 

About Me
The TEDx Talk

The Talk
Not 'the talk,' but a talk

TEDx: The Power of the Question

Muscat, Oman

Learn why the power of saying 'to me' versus 'for me' can help you develop a growth mindset when it comes to crucible moments.


The Designs
This is the creative work I did while leading Marketing and Sales at my startup.

Athentic Leadeship Model

The Book
A 6-week sprint in Portugal to write 180 pages

The Crucible's Gift: 5 Lessons from Authentic Leaders that Thrive in Adversity.

Based on 150 interviews conducted among leaders over three years, I wanted to understand what makes a leader authentic. While interviewing, the framework "I care about who you are, not what you do, because what you do will define who you are" was used for every interview.  This approach sheds light on a leader's journey rather than their destination. The interviews were published for the Executives After Hours Podcast (2015-2018; still available on Spotify). 

So what makes a leader authentic? Below you will find the Authentic Leadership Model (ALM) that is fully broken down in the book.

The e-book is only readable in an e-book reader, such as as Apple Books

The Book Reviews
Smart people say smart things about The Crucible's Gift

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World

“The Crucible’s Gift offers leaders insight into their deepest

places that define them. Prepare for a remarkable journey of

self-discovery, guided by the stories of leaders who had the

courage to go on record in this book and the insights of the

author, James Kelley, whose own story made this book


The Model

The Authentic Leadership Model

The Crucible:
Any event that gives you pause and reflection leading to a transformation of one's thoughts and actions.


Increased Self-Awareness:
When an individual has space to reflect on their crucible moment, they increase their self-awareness. Gaining a deeper understanding of why they are, but almost more importantly, why they are. 


More Compassion, Integrity, and Relatableness:
As individuals reflect on their crucible and learn more about themselves, they begin to develop compassion for others, act with more integrity, and embrace relationships by making an impact to those around them.


A Growth Mindset Makes the Difference:
The difference maker in developing a more authentic self comes down to one thing and one thing only, a growth mindset. Reminding yourself that bad things can become good things when you move from, "It happened to me," to "it happen for me." This reframing helps an individual embrace the possibilities not wallow in the problem. 


The Authentic Leadership Model:
When an individual dares to embrace their crucible with a growth mindset, the authentic world is their proverbial oyster. However, it is more than just a one-and-done experience. This is why self-awareness and a growth mindset always work together and are constantly developing

How to use
The Crucible's Gift provides several suggestions for the reader on how to practice each aspect of the model. These tidbits are simple, actionable, and, most importantly, reflective. James's goal is to create the 'self-awareness-growth mindset' flywheel that supports each person's own growth journey. 

Click below to grow authenticity with your leaders

The Crucibl'e Gift
Video Though Bubbles

The Interviews

My Interviews