About

HKC Marketing

Our work is to help arts venues, event presenters, creative industry small business owners, artists, destination attractions, and nonprofit organizations of all sizes be successful at what they do.

HKC Marketing started as Heather Kelly Communications in 2002 and soon after was incorporated under the name HKC Marketing. (Much better for all of the wonderful team members who have been part of the company.) Now, almost 20 years later, we have evolved, and we continue to provide communications and marketing services (and more) for our clients.

On May 1, 2021, HKC Marketing acquired Akimbo Art Promotions & Consulting.

We celebrate, spotlight, and amplify the creative voices of people of a variety of countries and cultures. We have had the privilege of working closely with and for people from Afghan, African, Black, Caribbean, Chinese, German, Indigenous, Indonesian, Japanese, Jewish, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Persian, Philippine, Portuguese, South Asian, Taiwanese, and other communities.

We believe that inclusivity and respect for others is fundamental.

We believe that marketing isn’t only about what we want to promote or sell, it’s about who we want to engage and how we can benefit them.

We believe that effective communications connect with people where they are now (not where they used to be).

We believe in advocating for the audience / client / public perspective, and we believe in two-way communication.

We believe that communications isn’t separate from operations or programs – what we do, and how we do things, often communicates more than what we say.


Heather L. Kelly, Founder and CEO

Heather Kelly is both an enthusiastic optimist and a grounded pragmatist. She’s also an award-winning marketing and communications professional with a passion for making good things happen and a twenty-five-year history of creating success for artists, businesses, non-profits, and some of Canada’s most significant cultural organizations.

Heather sparks imagination and innovation in others. She founded and leads the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, which has brought together 22 Toronto cultural organizations to create the city’s most diverse arts and culture district. She co-founded and co-hosts the monthly Global Arts and Culture Sector Meetup. And she originated “The Awesomeness Initiative” for The Royal Conservatory of Music and the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, empowering front-line staff to craft “awesome” experiences for attendees while being inspired and developing their career.

Heather has also launched critically acclaimed international arts destinations, including The Ryerson Image Centre at Ryerson University, and Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory of Music. Both projects built on previous success stories.

The focus and dedication that made it possible for Heather to realize projects of this scope are the same qualities that have compelled many other organizations to seek out her skillful guidance.

As a speaker at industry events, a professor, and a facilitator of workshops, Heather is recognized for her ability to inspire and lead others to achieve their goals.

She has been acknowledged with multiple marketing awards from organizations including the International Festivals and Events Association, Festivals & Events Ontario, and Alberta Tourism.

Heather is currently a Member of the Board of Directors of East End Arts, a collaborator with NACDI (North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative), a member of the Creative Cities Network (Canada), and a member of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. She is a past Co-Chair of the Juno Awards Classical Committee, and past member of the Board of Directors of The Bentway Conservancy, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Craft Ontario, Toronto Blues Society, Marketing Advisory for the Downtown Yonge BIA, and a Fellow of the Cultural Leaders Lab created by the Toronto Arts Council.

Heather Kelly is also a poet, writer, and hands-on wildlife caregiver. She is a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

All of Heather’s work is deeply rooted in a love of creativity, connection, collaboration, and meaningful communication.