Lois Kelly

Led digital marketing and public relations agencies before becoming author, organizational change strategist, positive psychology teacher,  corporate culture cultivator.

Most notable rebel experience?

My early acts of rebellion in high school – getting students added to school committee, changing yearbook categories to be more inclusive and less cliquey, advocating that students write about students in local newspaper. Challenging assumptions early on helped me realize that I had the ability and responsibility to change things that I thought needed to be changed. It really shaped my life.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

Junior high school. In art class I would create magazines, writing stories and drawing pictures about Rolling Stones and other rock songs.  I loved doing those little magazines and kids loved reading them. But I wasn’t doing the art teacher’s assignments, so found myself regularly in detention writing “Obedience to authority is essential to growth and development” thousands of times. The upside was that the detention teacher was herself a rebel. I vividly remember her challenging my thinking about Catholic doctrine and why I accepted Church rules but not school rules.

What advice do you wish someone had given you earlier in your career?

Don’t think experts and authority figures have all the answers.

What are your favorite rebel characteristics?

Asking provocative questions. Seeing emerging patterns.

What’s your favorite question?

What is the real question we should be asking about this (situation)?

What tells you that you’re effecting change?

Facilitating sessions around important questions and finding people so engrossed in fascinating conversations about new possibilities that they forget the time, their phones, the agenda.

What do you think is most important for people to understand about rebels?

We have an uncontrollable curiosity. When we ask questions we’re not judging as much as trying to understand.

What’s your best advice for rebels?

If not you, who? Keep going.

What’s your best advice for non-rebels?

Don’t be afraid. We’re not out to get you, we’re out to create a better way to achieve what we all want.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?


Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Gloria Steinem. Smart, beautiful, disciplined, and gutsy.

What’s the one thing you should never say to a rebel?

Have any other companies done this yet? Do any best practices exist?