Kelly Payne

Product design leader

Delivering results

using human-centred design

and creative problem solving

Holding a Master’s of Design degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, I’ve built, led and been part of design teams that have created high-impact products, new audiences, new customers, new clients and revenue streams for a variety of industries.

Highlights include designing subscription products and services to help Torstar grow to +60K digital subscribers in less than a year (and growing y/y), as well as new product design and UX research that contributed to Sun Life’s Client 2020 vision's 19% growth in one year.

Past Experience

Over the last 20+ years, I have built and led multi-disciplinary UX teams. I have introduced processes and systems that have led to creating impactful solutions. My design leadership has spanned diverse industries and solved complex customer and business problems for leading Canadian brands and brands known worldwide.

Some brands that I have worked with

Career Highlights


I was part of the creative team running Sun Life’s Design Lab incubator. Highlights include exploring the potential of Ella, an interactive digital coach for benefits and pension plans which has since launched and is a key part of client engagement and the designing and validating the Lumino app.

Product design, UX research, UX strategy, facilitation, design thinking, design sprints

texas instruments

As part of the Digital Studio I worked with Product stakeholders and lines of business to support goals. Highlights include leading the creation of an on-demand video library that housed and organized +1K user-generated videos and designing research for complex usability testing.

Product Design, design system, UX research, strategy and processes

Quantoot consulting

As a consultant and independent contractor, I have helped many diverse clients make sense of the complex problems they face. Clients include:

- William Osler Health Centre

- CANES Community Care

- Visible Media

- Cooks Who Feed

Strategic foresight, business model innovation, graphic design, branding


I am currently part of the senior leadership team at Torstar in the Digital Product area. In my role as Senior Director of UX and Design, I run all product design activities and am directly accountable for the design of Torstar apps and websites. My team and I collaborate closely with Product and Engineering and I consider these relationships key to our overall success.

My team is responsible for driving the digital evolution of 7 daily news products and 27 community news sites, including creating new revenue streams and audience segments. We introduced paid digital subscriptions and have surpassed 150K subscribers. My team's work supports aggressive targets for subscription growth as we partner, create and validate new opportunities to grow audience and engagement.


in the news

A conversation between myself and the SVP of Digital Product about the Toronto Star’s homepage redesign

Design system

A healthy DS is at the heart of a strong design team. Get in touch and I will share what we did.

My Process

impactful UX Leadership

I use empathy, foresight techniques, system thinking, Human-Centred Design principles and work alongside teams to truly understand the end-user and the problem we are trying to solve.

I've built UX and UI processes and raised the UX maturity in every role I have had.

Building high performing teams

Diverse teams get diverse and deeply effective results. Over the years I have built teams both in-person and fully remote. Dispersed teams are the norm and flexibility is the key to retaining great talent.

giving back

Along with building and leading design teams I am a lifelong learner and am passionate about the power of education and community. I’ve volunteered in RGD’s design mentorship program and have mentored interns, junior designers and OCADU Master’s students over the years.

I believe that empathy and creativity can solve the world’s most complex problems.

Let's work together!

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