Keynote Speaker

Grey Area Thinking

Ellie Krug

Ellie Krug

Human Inspiration Works

Keynote Session #2

10:55AM - 12:00PM - 13:00:00

Session Overview

All humans habitually categorize and group others who are “different” from “us,” which often lends to black and white thinking, as in “good” versus “bad” or “native” versus “immigrant” and a host of other isolating labels. With this inclusivity presentation, Ellie Krug offers an innovative toolset—Gray Area Thinking©—for interacting with diverse humans in a mindful and compassionate way. Attendees will appreciate and value how it’s necessary to consciously engage in Gray Area Thinking© in their daily activities. Doing so will lead to a more inclusive life! Gray Area Thinking© is a simple three-part toolset for interacting with diverse humans:
  1. awareness of another human’s vulnerability or suffering;
  2. risk-taking to alleviate or lesson that vulnerability or suffering; and
  3. compassion and kindness both for others and for one’s self.


In 2009, while an Iowa civil trial attorney with 100+ trials, Ellie Krug (pronounced“Kroog”), transitioned from male to female. She later became one of the few attorneys nationally to try jury cases in separate genders. From 2011 to 2016, she served as the executive director of Call for Justice, LLC, a Minneapolis legal nonprofit that was conferred an American Bar Association award for innovatively increasing legal access. The author of Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change (2013), Ellie has presented on diversity and inclusion to governmental entities, court systems, Fortune 100 companies, law firms, nonprofits, and colleges/universities on nearly 800 occasions. A hopeless idealist, Ellie has presented her human inclusivity training, “Gray Area Thinking®” across North America. In 2016, Advocate Magazine named Ellie one of “25 Legal Advocates Fighting for Trans Rights.”She is a monthly columnist for Lavender Magazine and pens a widely-circulated monthly e-newsletter, The Ripple, that reaches 6000 people. Ellie views herself as an “Inclusionist” and founded an inclusion-oriented consulting and training company, Human Inspiration Works, LLC,in late 2016. Ellie is also a weekly radio host; her show, “Ellie 2.0 Radio,” on AM950 in the Twin Cities highlights idealism and how each of us can play a role in fostering positive change in the world.Ellie’s remaining life mission is to work for a more inclusive society for all humans, regardless of how many are considered “Other.”