Photo of Ruth Kelly

On Ruth Kelly

Magazines Canada staff and Board are deeply saddened to learn of Ruth Kelly’s passing.

Ruth was a long-time board member and the current secretary for our association. As a staunch advocate for all magazines, but especially for business media and western Canadian publications, Ruth was passionate, funny, and eloquent; a mentor and a true and generous friend to the industry.

She will be greatly missed.

From past board member and Avenue Calgary publisher Joyce Byrne: “I often tell people the reason I moved to Alberta is because Ruth Kelly made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She was tenacious and influential and generous and brilliant. I am honoured to have served as her right hand and to have seen the commitment she had to journalism, human rights, Alberta stories and to mentoring anyone who asked. Alberta’s magazine family has lost a giant.”

From our CEO Matthew Holmes: “Ruth was a fiery member of our sector who’s served the industry over many years. She was a mentor to many, and a no-bullshit heavy-hitter who was able to move through many different groups and sectors with confidence and clarity of thought. I know she’ll be missed by many in the industry.”

Ruth Kelly was the president and CEO of Venture Publishing Inc., and the publisher and editor-in-chief of the award-winning Alberta Venture and Alberta Oil magazines. She chaired Epcor’s Community Essentials Council, which directs Epcor’s annual philanthropic activities, and was a member of the Alberta School of Business’s Advisory Council, the Alberta Promise cabinet, the board of directors of Magazines Canada and the Mayor’s Business Roundtable advisors for the City of Edmonton.

She was recognized as a Global Woman of Vision in 1998, a YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Entrepreneur category in 2003, and was the Allard Chair of Business at MacEwan School of Business in 2005. The Canadian Women in Communications selected Ruth for their 2008 Woman of the Year award, making her the first Albertan to receive this national honour.

On the occasion of Venture Publishing’s 15th anniversary, the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association awarded Ruth with a Lifetime Achievement in Publishing Award. In 2013, Ruth received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada. Last June, Kelly was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Alberta, where she instructed graduates: “Be curious. Be bold. Be kind.


2 thoughts on “On Ruth Kelly

  • Brian Trotter says:

    Those fortunate enough to have been close to Ruth through work or a volunteer capacity will mourn her passing. And, from time to time smile at all she was. All she gave. The industry as a whole will come to marvel not only her accomplishments but her compassion and loyalty. It’s sad that in her last months she was depicted in a way, by some, that was so off the mark. Rest in peace Ruth.

  • Anne Burke says:

    Ruth and I were work colleagues and friends for several years through both Alberta Magazines Publishing Association and Magazines Canada. She founded the paid intern program in Alberta (which I am told was adopted across Canada) while I was contacting the Alberta Culture list to invite magazine publishers to join our then fledgling nonprofit organization. I first met her at Grant MacEwan University (then College) at an early AMPA annual conference. Her short hair was a mass of red shades and she spoke very quickly, almost breathlessly. Whether she was Treasurer for Magazines Canada or invited speaker at the Chamber of Commerce; honourary degree recipient, Big Sister (or was it Aunt?); whatever role(s) she assumed, you always knew when Ruth was “in the house”. At any event, your eye was almost immediately guided in her direction, because she simply claimed the scene in any setting. She was a leader, never lead. I appreciated her kindness, wisdom, self-deprecating stance. She was a woman of great style and integrity, her sense of humour was keenly honed; I had no idea that she had taken a degree in poetry, because she would not have wanted that to be common knowledge in the business realm she ruled. She was all about the region but also claimed centre stage on the national scene. Her laughter was unforgettable. I know I am not the only person who is left wondering “if only” and “what could I have done..?”

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