Combining Creativity with Commerce: Emerging Industries, Self-Confidence & Mentorship with Kelly Mooney

Kelly Mooney grew up the 8th of 10 children. Her family was a huge influence on her as she launched a career that placed her in the heart of the then-emerging industry of internet commerce. Now, she’s a CEO and Strategic Advisor recognized for leading organizations in customer insight and digital experience. 

In 2016, she and her business partner sold their agency to IBM, forming part of IBM iX, the world’s second-largest digital consultancy, where she was named IBM’s first Chief Experience Officer. She’s the author of The Open Brand and The Ten Demandments, exploring the impact of social media on brand building and the voice of the internet-enabled consumer, respectively. She also co-authored The AI-Enhanced Customer Experience and The Modern Marketing Mandate.

Kelly has been featured on CBS, CNN, NPR and in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and People and is, during normal times, a frequent speaker at industry events and prestigious colleges around the country. She recently founded a pre-leadership organization, Equipt Women, focused on helping young professional women excel at work and in their personal lives.

More importantly, Kelly is a dear friend who I was fortunate enough to sit down with to hear her story. We talk about how important creativity is and the ways we can pursue it from a business perspective without compromise – as she did. We also explore the impact of the digital landscape on the world and what it’s like to be at the forefront of such an exciting, emerging field as the internet and digital media.

Nowadays, Kelly is focused on mentorship so I also take the opportunity to hear her experiences with handling everyday sexism, as well as some of her best business advice and we explore the idea that we should always keep the faith in ourselves and our abilities – even though it’s often easier said than done.

What Brett asks:

  • [00:02:25] Let’s start at the beginning. Tell me about your childhood.
  • [00:04:18] What was it like growing up with so many siblings?
  • [00:06:20] How did your dad fit into your early life?
  • [00:08:50] What were you like as you moved through school?
  • [00:13:00] Did you feel much support for creativity in your life?
  • [00:18:00] Where did the idea of combining art with business come from?
  • [00:23:55] What happened as you got a degree and started working?
  • [00:26:00] Did the passion you had for your work make you more teachable?
  • [00:33:00] What was it like being part of an emerging industry?
  • [00:38:40] How would you summarize your professional experience?
  • [00:40:40] Tell me about the hard times in your line of work.
  • [00:43:55] What’s it like being a woman in your leadership role?
  • [00:48:00] Do you have any specific examples of sexism that you’ve experienced?
  • [00:51:00] What are you doing now?
  • [00:57:00] How important is trusting in yourself?
  • [01:04:40] Any final thoughts?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Kelly was always a creative person but pushed towards a tangible, practical career path by those around her. Instead of giving up on what motivated her, she found a way to bring creativity and business together. It’s the perfect reminder that compromise doesn’t necessarily have to involve sacrifice.
  • Having trust and belief in our own abilities is not only important, but something that serves us well. Unfortunately, it’s often something that only comes with life experience. While that means there’s light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who don’t necessarily believe in ourselves, for those of us who aren’t there yet, we should try to keep the faith. Everyone has value, even if we don’t always feel like we do.