Keely Cat-Wells is an Entrepreneur and Disability Rights Activist dedicated to driving social, systemic, and economic change. While in the hospital, she founded a company that evolved into C Talent. Acquired by Whalar in 2022, C Talent represents Disabled talent, reshaping perceptions of Disability. Under her leadership, C Talent had an artist roster with a combined following of over 50 million people and placed talent in thousands of projects for brands like Savage X Fenty, HBO, and Disney, and they’ve represented Academy Award and Emmy-nominated Disabled talent. The acquisition marked a significant investment in Disabled talent and a pivotal milestone for the creator industry.
Following the acquisition, Keely established Making Space, a venture-backed, accessible talent acquisition and learning experience platform that allows companies to train and access pre qualified disabled, overlooked, and underrepresented talent pools. Designed to bridge the education-employment gap, Making Space creates tangible pathways to employment and career advancement through employer-supported courses. Making Space is a Techstars Economic Mobility 2023 company and a winner of Pepperdine’s 2023 ‘Most Fundable Companies’.
In collaboration with award-winning TV Host, Author, and Disability Rights Advocate Sophie Morgan, Keely co-founded Making Space Media, a division of Making Space. They produce film, TV, and promotional content that centers the Disabled voice. Making Space Media has secured a first-look deal with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine.
Keely’s expertise has led her to participate as a Disability subject matter expert in discussions with notable figures such as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She has had the privilege of serving on the Advisory Board for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and currently holds positions on the Board of Directors for No Barriers USA, 2-Gether International and Reelabilities Film Festival.
Keely has delivered speeches for many companies and organizations including The LEGO Group, United Nations, NBC, Microsoft, Cannes Film Festival, and Virgin Media. She also played a key role as a youth leader in the inaugural Mental Health Youth Action Forum, hosted by MTV Entertainment Group in collaboration with the Biden-Harris Administration and leading mental health nonprofits. Selena Gomez, First Lady Dr Jill Biden, Surgeon General Dr Murthy and President Joe Biden were in attendance and conversation. The forum took place at the White House, driving mental health awareness to action through storytelling and media.
Keely became a laureate of the Youth Activist Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on the eve of the International Day for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This summit celebrates remarkable young individuals driving sustainability and human rights advancements. In 2023, Keely became a Storyteller in Residence at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Keely has received numerous awards and honours. Among these is The Diana Award, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. It is renowned as the most prestigious accolade a young person can achieve for their humanitarian or social action endeavors. Other accolades include Forbes 30 Under 30 , AdWeek Young Influential, Great British Entrepreneur of the Year and recognition as a ‘most powerful executive in the creator economy’ by Fast Company. Additionally, she has been acknowledged as a Linkedin Top Voice, One Young World Entrepreneur of the Year, Meaningful Business 100, Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, Aerie Changemaker, Rebel Girl Changemaker and was featured in their best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.
In alliance with entities like the International Paralympic Committee and UN Human Rights, Keely is a founding member of #WeThe15, a Silver and Bronze Cannes Lions-winning campaign considered the most significant human rights movement in sports history, with the aim of transforming the lives of one billion Disabled people globally.
Keely is also dedicated to legislative change and collaborates with Sara Hart Weir to eliminate section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This outdated statute, in effect for over 80 years, perpetuates discrimination by allowing employers of Disabled workers to pay subminimum wages.
“I believe to change the world; we have to learn to tell and listen to a new set of stories about the world we want to create, in accessible spaces and with authentic voices. Knowledge is power, and the media is a global teacher whether we actively realize it when we are watching entertainment or not.”