Daniel James (DJ) Kelly is named after both his grandfathers and has gone by his initials since he was three days old.
DJ, Christine and their two children live in the Ward 4 community of Winston Heights-Mountview. Their children attended elementary school in Brentwood, they are active with the cross-country ski club that operates in Confederation Park, and it is very common to see DJ walking the paths of Nose Hill Park.
DJ is an active volunteer. He is chair of the PechaKucha Night Calgary speaker series and the former president of Winston Heights/Mountview Community Association where he currently sits on the Development Review and Finance committees. He is the former chair of Nuit Blanche Calgary, the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance and the Betty Mitchell Awards. With Calgary Economic Development, DJ previously sat on the Quebec City Sister City Committee and the Houston Bi-Lateral Agreement Committee.
As a citizen DJ worked with City Council to initiate the City of Calgary’s Open Data Catalogue, making City data available to the public, and the Calgary Poet Laureate, a program funded at no cost to taxpayers.
For his volunteer efforts, DJ has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and projects he’s led have received United Way of Calgary and Area’s President’s Award, International Association of Facilitators Platinum Impact Award, and earned the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Organization of the Year.
DJ has been named to Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40. As the magazine described him: “DJ Kelly appears to be giving our [former] stateside leader a run for his money as a community organizer. Like Barack Obama — Kelly brings passion and commitment to his cause. And that cause is making Calgary a better place to live. Why he’s the top: DJ Kelly is committed to the big picture — a better Calgary — through a more vibrant arts community, a more accountable political system and more transparent communication. And he is involved hands-on in making change.”
DJ’s voice may be familiar because for several years he presented an Alberta-wide column on CBC Radio One’s alberta@noon where he talked about technology advancements and how they can be used to make the average Albertan’s lives better, as well as a weekly column in Metro Calgary, where he discussed Calgary municipal politics.
DJ has a degree from the University of Calgary and is a graduate of Leadership Calgary. He has a Project Management Certificate from Mount Royal University and is a certified project management professional (PMP).
For work, DJ is the Manager of Community Engagement at the University of Calgary where he spends his day facilitating partnerships between the university and community groups, such as Beakerhead, Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Pride, Calgary Stampede and United Way of Calgary and Area, in an effort to combine resources and goals to improve the lives of Calgarians.
DJ previously worked for the City of Calgary where he led the corporate marketing team, authored the City’s Digital Strategy, pitched the civic innovation lab, and, most notably, was the strategy lead on their Corporate Cultural Transformation Project, which laid the foundation for a new vision, mission, values and methods of prioritizing and budgeting. As one senior City administrator once said of him: “you probably know how the city, as a whole, works better than anyone else.”
In all tasks, DJ is known for his focus on engagement and making space for all voices to be empowered to build their future together.