About

A Global Leader called “Smart with a Heart”

Meet Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy

My mission is to unleash innate potential and raise human consciousness.

A Blessed Beginning

Although I am American, I was born in Accra, Ghana and started school in Adelaide, Australia. My parents were pioneers in cross-cultural communications, working on five continents for over five decades using academia, theatre, and all forms of media to train leaders and expand minds. Called the “Black Kennedys,” we were the first African-American family to live on the continent of Australia (invited by the Prime Minister). My parents knew people like Muhammad Ali, who had a huge influence on my mindset and habits growing up. My mother was also an early proponent of holistic health practices like integrative nutrition, yoga and meditation – so I was groomed for the work I do today.

My Confession

I achieved so many significant goals at a young age:

  • Skipped two grades of school
  • Youngest in my class at both Wellesley College and Harvard Business School
  • Youngest Research Associate at Harvard Business School
  • Creative Consultant for Universal Studios under Lew Wasserman
  • Founded VH1 Online and VH1@Work Radio
  • Youngest Vice President at MTV Networks negotiating multimillion dollar deals and managing partnerships with entities like Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL and Intel

BUT my approach to work and life was not sustainable and my success came at a cost. My body didn’t like my workaholic lifestyle and kicked in an autoimmune response. I couldn’t hold down food and eventually even liquids.

Then, I dove deeply into what made the human body, brain and spirit THRIVE and dedicated my career to helping others transform.

The Result?

More authentic work and life as a global change agent:

  • Founded 1st yoga studio in Harlem, the Ta Yoga House
  • Led hundreds of transformational programs
  • Selected as World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; participated in Forums in Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Morocco, Mexico, Myanmar, South Africa, Tanzania and Switzerland; Discussion Leader in Davos
  • Became protégé for yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch; co-authored two award-winning books and did 66 events together; featured in 2017 Athleta “Power of She” campaign
  • Founded Elder Dignity to advocate for elder rights
  • Pioneered cutting-edge programs to help people thrive
  • Advised companies in media, tech, retail and non-profit
  • Worked with pioneering mother to share expertise in cross-cultural communications and the Black Experience

Award-Winner Across Disciplines

Received over 20 awards as an entrepreneur, advocate and author ranging from Emerging Entrepreneur by the Social Venture Network and National Power Award from the American Heart Association to the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for her book, Shining Bright.

Bio

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy is a transformational speaker, educator, author, and producer on a mission to unleash innate potential and raise human consciousness.  As President & CEO of Power Living Enterprises, Inc., she trains conscious change agents to transform how we live, work, and inhabit the planet through her signature mindfulness-based programs – Power Living®, Embodied Success®, The Gandhi Effect®, and the immersive Blissful Vibrations® experiences around the world. The foundation of all her programs is ENERGY – harnessing it through self-awareness, self-mastery, and mindful self-expression. She has been powering up audiences for over 20 years tapping into her unique multi-disciplinary background and real-world experience as a Harvard Business School-trained strategist, C-suite advisor, founder of VH1 Online, former Vice President at MTV Networks, award-winning entrepreneur, IPEC-certified coach, holistic health counselor, and internationally recognized yoga and meditation teacher. Her work is also informed by her parents’ pioneering global work in executive leadership training and cross-cultural communications. Called “smart with a heart,” she was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader recognizing her “professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential for shaping the future of the world.” She has participated in exclusive Forums with CEOs, presidents of countries and leaders in Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Morocco, Mexico, Myanmar, South Africa, Tanzania, and Switzerland, including being a Discussion Leader at the Annual Meeting in Davos.

She understands the journey of the high-performing professional and personally experienced it all… from success to near death to exponential transformation. After almost dying in 1997 from an autoimmune disorder, she healed using her own integrated protocol including yoga, meditation, a gluten-free plant-based diet, and mindset shift. Then, she dove deeply into what made the human body, brain and spirit thrive and dedicated her career to helping others transform. She has done hundreds of keynotes, talks, and workshops such as at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia, Young Global Leaders Alumni Summit in Geneva, Sagicor Motivational Seminar in Jamaica, and MetLife’s Global Women’s Leadership Forum and Thrive@Work Series. She has worked with companies like Bloomberg Media, Eileen Fisher, and Essence Communications. In addition, she has moderated over 100 programs, such as at the World Government Summit in Dubai and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations. She has coached over 2,500 client-hours.

A leader in Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS), she is an advisor to Adesso Health, and served as a National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association and Ambassador to HealthCorps. In addition to founding the first yoga studio in Harlem and being one of the first African Americans on the cover of Yoga Journal, she served six years on the Board of Yoga Alliance and was their Interim CEO and first African American Chair of the Board. She has led hundreds of immersive yoga-based experiences, including teaching yoga to global leaders on a private section of The Great Wall of China and being a headliner for the XYoga Dubai Festival.  As biographer and protégé of yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch, she co-wrote two award-winning books and produced two online courses featuring Tao’s teachings. She spent a decade traveling the globe with Tao curating 66 one-of-a-kind events at places like the United Nations, and the Age of Happiness Festival in Montenegro and working with notables such as Sadhguru and Dr. Deepak Chopra. She has also done 700-hour level training with Sri Dharma Mittra.

A multi-platform change agent, she also uses media to inform and transform with a focus on preserving wisdom and culture and promoting dignity for all. Born into an extraordinary family of communication pioneers, her latest producing project, The Kennedy Archives™, is focused on capturing insights and historical commentary on notable African Americans based on the first-hand experiences of her mother, Janie Sykes-Kennedy. She is also moderating live performance-conversation programs (for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives, Black History Month, Juneteenth, etc.) and producing a series of online courses on the Black Experience featuring her mother’s poetic interpretation of Black literary works. Her previous projects, The Tao-Brand Legacy Project and Elder Dignity, were also focused on amplifying elder wisdom and inspiring societal change. As a writer, she has contributed to various publications such as The Huffington Post, Pure Inspiration, Essence, AARP, SELF, RealSimple, Real Health, The Network Journal, the World Economic Forum blog and the Gates Foundation Impatient Optimists blog. For example, read Mindfulness as a Path to Sustainability and What I Learned From the Greatest: Personal Reflections on Muhammad Ali in The Huffington Post and Let Your Body Calm Your Mind in Sisters From AARP. A seasoned communicator, she has been featured in media from CNN, NBC, Hallmark TV, Black Enterprise and The New York Times in the U.S. to Tokyo FM in Japan, ARD TV in Germany, Fit N’Style in Lebanon, El Mercurio in Chile and Oprah’s book, Live Your Best Life!

Extended Background

Pioneering Technology & Media Executive
A technology evangelist, Terri founded VH1 Online and VH1@Work Radio at the beginning of the commercial Internet. Starting as a Management Associate, she advised SVP of VH1 Programming, Julie Davidson. Within three months, the president of VH1, Ed Bennett, hired her as a special advisor. As Manager, she evaluated business opportunities, managed large projects and participated in the senior executive meetings. When John Sykes was appointed president of VH1, she was an advisor to him as well. She led the development and roll-out of a new TV studio, and implementation of the channel repositioning resulting in the branding of “VH1: Music First,” as well as award-winning shows such as VH1 Behind the Music and VH1 Storytellers. Promoted to Director, she pitched VH1’s first online business and negotiated a deal with AOL CEO Steve Case which funded the division. She pioneered Internet deal structures generating over $2 million via online advertising, licensing and merchandising (a feat for the early Internet days). She also produced the first integrated broadcast and webcast events with superstar artists such as Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney. In addition, she transformed Viewers Services incorporating new technologies and approaches for deeper customer relationships and increased advocacy. With her success at VH1, she was tapped to spearhead the restructuring of MTV and VH1 Online to leverage negotiating power and gain efficiencies, working with pioneering executives Van Toffler and Matt Farber. As Vice President of Business Development & Operations for MTV Networks, she managed a 200-person team, negotiated landmark deals bringing over $30 million to the division and ran one of the only profitable online businesses at the time. She managed partnerships with Intel, Microsoft, AOL, CDNow, Yahoo!, Music Boulevard, and others, and launched “The Suite” of six digital music TV channels including MTV2, MTV “X,” MTV “S,” VH1 Soul, VH1 Country, and VH1 Smooth. In addition, she led due diligence for the SonicNet acquisition and presented strategies to Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, working closely with MTVN CEO Tom Freston. She also helped create social purpose initiatives including VH1 Save the Music and the MTV Networks Diversity Council. She invited family friend Betty Shabazz to speak at one of the first Council events.

Before joining Viacom, she worked as Creative Consultant at Universal Studios with their Executive Creative Group and legendary studio head Lew Wasserman. Nina Jacobson, SVP of Production, created the position just for Terri’s unique mix of business and creative skills. Terri also was a Creative Consultant and Director at the Now Africa Theatre Company in Nairobi, where she managed a 60-member international cast, organized publicity and directed three productions: Love Conquers All, Oba Waja and The Preacher. In addition, she assisted teaching theatre and communications courses for International Business and MBA students at the United States International University Africa.

She started her professional career as a researcher. At 20 years old, she was recruited from Wellesley College by Harvard Business School becoming the youngest on staff as a Research Associate and one of the first non-Ph.Ds to write case studies for the MBA program. She performed predictive analysis and evaluated business strategies of companies working with Production Operations Management expert, W. Bruce Chew and wrote case studies for the second-year Operations Strategy course. She also researched and wrote papers on small businesses with entrepreneurship expert, J. Gregory Dees. Always seeking to follow her passions, she was also a print and runway model during that time. While getting her MBA at Harvard, she designed a cable TV start-up plan for Lorne Michaels’ company, Broadway Video. As an adjunct professor, she also taught the college-level Consumer Behavior marketing course at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising in New York.

Expert in Transformation
Influenced by her mother, who got into holistic health in the early 1970’s, Terri grew up with holistic practices from juicing wheat grass to making her own yogurt and became a vegetarian in 1984. However, when she was a corporate executive, she left many of her healthy principles behind. In 1997, she almost died. As the youngest Vice President at MTV Networks (still in her twenties), she had reached success by external measures but was not managing herself very well. She was working too much, sleeping too little, eating processed food, exercising infrequently and not taking time to nurture herself. It was not sustainable. She couldn’t hold down food and lost twenty pounds in a two-week period. She spent ten days in the hospital and was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Her workaholic lifestyle triggered an autoimmune response. With her mother’s help, she went gluten-free decades before it became mainstream. There was no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s around the corner so they had to cook everything at home. She healed using her own integrated protocol including yoga, meditation, a gluten-free plant-based diet, and mindset shift. Then, she dove deeply into what made the human body, brain and spirit thrive and dedicated her career to helping others transform.

To share tools that helped her heal, she founded the first yoga studio in Harlem (the Ta Yoga House), and then created Power Living® – a mindfulness-based personal transformation system based on her 2006 book, 40 Days to Power Living®: Think, Eat & Live on Purpose. For leaders, entrepreneurs and influencers to step up their impact, she has integrated her hands-on mind-body expertise with her leadership and operational experience to create Embodied Success® – a system to master the mind and energy for greater focus, creativity, presence, resilience and impact enabling leaders to show up more authentically, communicate more powerfully, supercharge their productivity, build trust and influence, and be a catalyst for positive change in the world. In addition to the Embodied Success® Master Training, she offers workshops from the program on topics such as Mind PWR™, Magnetic Presence, and PWR Leadership. She also consults with organizations on energy leadership, change management, and creating an inclusive and sustainable environment for their people to excel. For social change agents, she offers The Gandhi Effect® – a mindfulness-based training in nonviolence, mindful leadership and compassion. In 2010, she created the program at the Young Global Leader Summit in Tanzania, and then debuted the transformational program to a standing-room-only audience at the Newark Peace Education Summit hosted by The Dalai Lama. For an immersive mind-body experience, she offers Blissful Vibrations® – a yoga-based system melding meditation, movement, breathwork, and mantra to elevate your energy enabling you to manifest your intentions and release your innate potential.  

She has done hundreds of keynotes, talks and workshops around the world incorporating these mindfulness tools and transformative philosophy such as at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia, Young Executives Society in Slovenia, Young Global Leaders Alumni Summit at the World Economic Forum’s corporate offices in Geneva, Sagicor Motivational Seminar in Jamaica, Jamaica Customer Service Association, MetLife’s Global Women’s Leadership Forum and Thrive@Work Series, Global Shapers Conference, Harvard Business School Alumni Reunion, National Sales Network, New York City Bar Association, New York City Department of Education, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Cruise Lines International Association, Women In Leadership Development Conference, The Massachusetts Conference for Women, and National Association of Professional Women. She has worked with companies like Bloomberg Media, Eileen Fisher, W Magazine, Essence Communications, Black Enterprise, Right Management, Macy’s Corporate, and Jamaica National Bank. In addition, she has moderated over 100 programs, such as at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations, Lead With Love Aspen, Core Club New York, and the LX (Design and Technology) Conference in San Francisco. She has led hundreds of immersive yoga-based experiences over the past 20 years, including teaching yoga to global leaders on a private section of The Great Wall of China and being a headliner for the XYoga Dubai Festival teaching her branded Breathe & Burn® and Blissful Vibrations® programs. 

Leader in LOHAS & Health Equity
She has also been recognized as a leader in Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS), working with entities like the National Institutes of Health, Cleveland Clinic’s Speaking of Women’s Health Tour, Congressional Black Caucus Health Empowerment Tour, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, American Diabetes Association, AARP New York, Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Services, Athletic Center of Excellence & Sports Medicine, Association of Black Cardiologists, Integrative Healthcare Symposium, and The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. She has shared insights on sustainability at the Sustainability Leadership and Inspiration Academy in Slovenia – an executive education program sponsored by BMW and housed at the Faculty of Economics – University of Ljubljana. In addition, she has presented on the “Globalization of Chronic Disease” at the Young Global Leader Summit in China, and was the international headliner for Estée Lauder’s Global Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in Santiago, Chile. A Certified Holistic Health Counselor, she has also been adjunct faculty at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she coached new coaches and taught a module on “Creating Culturally Relevant Health Programs.” 

In 2007, after losing multiple family members to cardiovascular disease, she started volunteering for the American Heart Association (AHA). She was quickly recommended by Congressional, community and faith leaders to be named a National Spokesperson. She represented AHA in the national media for their Search Your Heart and Power To End Stroke campaigns targeting the African American and Latino communities. She reached thousands through workshops and keynote talks incorporating tailored messages on health, nutrition and physical activity. She also trained leaders to deliver AHA messages in culturally relevant ways, recruited volunteer ambassadors, participated in Lobby Day, and facilitated strategic alliances with other associations such as the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women. She served on multiple international, national and local committees, including the International Stroke Committee, New York State Stroke Committee, New York State Advocacy Committee, Multicultural Leadership Committee, Harlem Go Red Committee, Social Media Subcommittee, and National Spokesperson Panel. She produced and hosted the first Power New York City Health & Empowerment Symposium for AHA at Columbia University, and lent her voice and expertise to multiple segments of The Daily Dose for WBLS 107.5 FM bringing healthy living segments to a Black audience. She has also led programs at faith-based organizations, such as Abyssinian Baptist Church, Bethel AME Church, Riverside Church, The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, to name a few.

She was also the nutrition expert and lead teacher for S.P.I.C.E. (Supporting Pre-Conception Individuals through Cultural, Cooking and Coping Essentials), a program sponsored by the March of Dimes to help reduce disparities in childbirth outcomes through enhancing education and support services that are focused on Caribbean, African American, African and Latino Women in Brooklyn. In addition, she served as Ambassador for HealthCorps, a non-profit co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa Oz, to combat the childhood obesity crisis. She moderated for educational events and served as red carpet host for the Green Garden Gala, their annual fundraising gala. She interviewed notables such as legendary producer/musician Quincy Jones, fashion designer Donna Karan, singer/actor L.L. Cool J, music mogul Russell Simmons, Broadway star Ben Vereen, Governor David Paterson, Chef Rocco DiSpirito, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Oz. She also served on the Education Working Group for the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC).

Terri is a seasoned cook and has been featured in the American Heart Association’s Healthy Soul Food cookbook (2009), Case Histories: They Dynamic Future of Nutrition (2007) and Integrative Nutrition: The Future of Nutrition (2006). She is the author of five books primarily focused on wellness and transformation. This includes 40 Days to Power Living®: Think, Eat & Live On Purpose (2006), The Power Living® Pledge: An Affirmation for a Purposeful & Powerful Life (2007), and Seven-Day PWR Detox: Cleanse Your Body, Mind & Spirit While Living Your Daily Life (2009), and La Promesa de Power Living: Una Afirmación para una Vida Llena de Propósito y Poder (2010). She has also produced the Power Living® Mini Escapes: Relaxation Techniques for Any Situation audio program (2004), and multiple online courses such as Power Up Your Dreams virtual retreat (2020), Yoga Basics: Six-Week Course (2022), A Course in Power Living® (2022), and The Power Living® Detox (2023) – which provides the latest research on toxins in our environment, food and personal care products, and a roadmap for creating a healthy and sustainable life. In addition, she contributed to The NIA Guide for Black Women Achieving Career Success On Their Own Terms (2004), The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy DVD (2008), and wrote the foreword for What Students Learned In Gym Class: A Qualitative Study of Required Physical Education (2010).

Experienced Yoga & Meditation Teacher
Inspired by her mother, who started practicing yoga and meditation in 1971, Terri began “playing” with yoga at four years old trying to mimic her mom in Shoulder Stand and doing “weird” breathing. From an athletic family, Terri competed in swimming, track and gymnastics and was familiar with many of the yoga stretches. In 2001, she trained as a teacher and has taught yoga, meditation and breathwork for over 20 years. Her initial teacher training was in Hatha Yoga and Extra Gentle Chair Yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute where she participated in one of the last Satsang gatherings with Swami Satchidananda. She has done extensive training with Sri Dharma Mittra at the 200-hour, 500-hour and 700-hour levels, and also studied Vinyasa Krama Yoga with Srivatsa Ramaswami and Yoga Philosophy with Swami Ramananda. She also did training on Yoga for Kids at OM Yoga. In 2002, after leaving her successful corporate career, she founded the first yoga studio in Harlem – the Ta Yoga House. She served six years on the Board of Yoga Alliance, and was their Interim CEO and first African American Chair of the Board. She transformed the Board from being management-focused to governance-focused, released new structures for teaching standards, forged strategic affiliations, grew sponsors for Yoga Day USA, and reached over 20 million through media commentary. She helped initiate the Yoga In America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, which helped grow the acceptance of yoga in the U.S. She was also one of the first African Americans featured on the cover of Yoga Journal. In addition, she studied Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in the tradition of Jon Kabat-Zinn and started introducing mindfulness in corporate settings long before it became mainstream.

In addition to teaching at her own studio, she has taught yoga and mindfulness across the globe in a variety of settings from corporations and conferences to churches and schools, as well as her own signature retreats. She is adept at modifying the practice to fit the context whether the audience consists of world leaders or the everyday person, from beginners to advanced to mixed level. She has taught Mind PWR™ breathing and meditation techniques to Harvard Business School alumni and was the first to teach yoga at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, as well as the first to teach yoga and meditation to the World Economic Forum of Young Global Leaders. With a focus on giving back, she has taught yoga at the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center and was contracted for multiple years to provide free yoga classes to the Harlem community as part of the Shape Up NY program in partnership with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.  Considered a leader in the industry, she has moderated programs at Yoga Journal Conferences across the country with a range of notable yoga teachers including Sharon Gannon, Gary Kraftsow, Cyndi Lee, Ana Forrest, Tias Little, Aadil Palkhivala, John Friend, Judith Hanson Lasater, Rod Stryker, Jason Crandell, Pretzel France, and Rogelio Nunez. She has also presented on the mind-body connection to entities like the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, Yoga Research Society, and International Association of Black Yoga Teachers. In addition, she has led mind-body programs for physicians and staff at hospitals, including Mount Sinai, King’s County Hospital, Harlem Hospital Center and Elmhurst Hospital Center, as well as medical students at Mentoring in Medicine and the Student National Medical Association.

Her most profound yoga experience was as biographer and protégé of yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch. As a social impact initiative, Terri and her mother funded the Tao Brand-Legacy Project which focused on amplifying the brand and legacy of Tao. Tao was living history – she marched with Mahatma Gandhi, was a French Resistance fighter under General Charles de Gaulle, modeled for Chanel, was an early female film producer and distributor, among other things. Terri, her mother and Tao co-authored two award-winning books, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master (2015) and Shining Bright: Quotes and Images to Inspire Optimism, Gratitude & Belief In Your Unlimited Potential (2017), as well as produced two online courses, Master Yoga Course with Tao Porchon-Lynch (2021) and Stretch & Relax with Tao Porchon-Lynch (2021). Terri spent a decade traveling the globe with Tao curating 66 one-of-a-kind events at places like the United Nations, Core Club in New York, and the Age of Happiness Festival in Montenegro. She worked with notables such as Sadhguru and Dr. Deepak Chopra, who provided the front-cover endorsement for Dancing Light. The interactive Conversation with a Master program she created was highly-regarded and served to triple Tao’s appearance fee. They were also featured in the Athleta “Power of She” campaign for empowering women and girls. When Tao passed away in 2020 at 101 years old, she had become a global historical icon through Terri’s branding and media management. Watch tribute video.

Humanitarian & Advocate
Terri is committed to using her talents and gifts to serve humanity. In addition to her volunteer work with the American Heart Association and Yoga Alliance, Terri has been involved in numerous social causes particularly related to women’s empowerment and youth development. She founded the Young PWR Brokers program, which taught self-esteem building skills to at-risk youth with a focus on formerly homeless teen and pre-teen girls at the Dorothy Day House and Broadway Housing Communities in Harlem. Inspiring the young African American and Latina girls to reach for their dreams, she shared yoga, meditation, breathwork, dream mapping, food strategies, and other empowerment tools. It offered a “whole child” approach encouraging family participation. It is still one of her most personally rewarding contributions to date. In addition, she served as a Braintrust member at the start of A New Way Forward – an initiative for the National CARES Mentoring founded by Susan L. Taylor, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Essence magazine. Terri contributed to the training curriculum and manual, as well as A New Way Forward: Healing What’s Hurting Black America (2010). Based on her experience with the Young PWR Brokers, she also contributed to The Youth Effect: Toolkit for Decision Makers on Engaging with Youth (2010) – an initiative of the Forum of Young Global Leaders. In addition, she has led many youth-oriented mind-body programs for entities such as President Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Figure Skating in Harlem, Frederick Douglass Academy, Future Leaders Institute, The Beacon School, Thurgood Marshall Academy, Young Women’s Leadership Foundation, Children’s Sports & Fitness Expo, and the Harlem Wizards Basketball Camp.

She has used her media experience and global network to feature transformative ideas, initiatives and people. As a sampling, watch:

In 2016, she created Elder Dignity to advocate for elder justice and reform in the U.S. guardianship system after witnessing her aunt, Dr. Lillie Sykes White, being exploited by a predatory guardianship in Florida. She has spoken widely on guardianship reform, such as at World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in D.C., the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, the Progressive Forum and the Coalition of 100 Black Women, as well as produced three social impact videos, The Deception of Protection (2019), Silent Torture: Trafficking Through Guardianship (2020) and Let America Be America Again (2022).  She has served as moderator for the Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship Summit, #FreeBritney Symposium, and is an advisor for the #FreePeterMax campaign.  In 2022, she testified for the New York Senate Guardianship Roundtable, and in 2023, she summited a written statement to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.  She wrote “Is Elder Guardianship A New Form Of Human Trafficking?” for The Huffington Post, and They Took My Aunt, Then Spent Her Money for Sisters From AARP. She has also provided commentary on guardianships in various media such as ABC Action News (FL), Sky News, and Black Enterprise’s Beyond The Hype with Alfred Edmond. She understands the caregiver’s journey. She helped her mother take care of her father for eight years at home when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She was also caregiver for her sister, Sheila Kennedy Bryant, when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.

Award-Winner Across Disciplines
Terri has received over 20 awards across various disciplines. As an entrepreneur and advocate, awards include: Emerging Entrepreneur from the Social Venture Network (2002); Teaching for Diversity Program Award from the Tides Foundation and Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association (2004); The Network Journal’s 40 Under Forty Achievement Award (2004); Emerging Entrepreneur from the INC Magazine and William J. Clinton Foundation Partnership (2006); Women of Brilliant Achievement Award from Charles & Colvard (2008); Sisters Saving Hearts Grant Award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and General Mills (2008); Women Who Dare To Be Different Award presented by Congressman Edolphus Town’s and The Women’s Caucus (2008); Fellow, Council of Urban Professionals (2009); National Power Award from the American Heart Association (2009); World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2009); and Sweet Success from Women In Business (2014). Her accomplishments have been added to the U.S. Congressional Record.

As an author and publisher, she received 10 national and international awards for Dancing Light, including: 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) (Silver Medal) Autobiography/Memoir II (Coming of Age/Family Legacy/Travel); 2016 International Book Award (three categories) Autobiography/Memoirs, Best Cover Design: Non-Fiction, Spirituality: Inspirational; 2016 Best Book Award (three categories) Autobiography/Memoirs, Best Cover Design: Non-Fiction, Spirituality: Inspirational; 2016 Bookvana Award (two categories) Autobiography/Memoirs, Spirituality: Memoir/Personal Journey; 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award (Honorable Mention) Spiritual. In addition, Shining Bright received the prestigious 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award.

A Historical Family
Although she is American, Terri was born in Ghana, started school in Australia and studied design in Italy. She skipped two grades of school and graduated high school at age sixteen. Her parents – the late playwright/professor Dr. James Scott Kennedy and actress/journalist/entrepreneur Janie Sykes-Kennedy – were pioneers in cross-cultural communications and learning through the arts. For more than five decades, they worked on five continents introducing new and positive concepts of people through theatre, television, radio, academia and the pulpit. In the 1950’s, they owned and operated one of the first multicultural theatre companies in New York City. In the early 1960’s, as her father taught at Brooklyn College, her mother operated ID: Inner Dignity in Brooklyn, New York, a learning center focused on promoting self-esteem in girls. In the late 1960’s, they lived in Ghana working at the University of Ghana.  They also produced for the 1966 First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, and the First Pan African Cultural Festival in Algiers, Algeria in 1969.   

In the 1970’s, they were invited by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam of Australia to live in Adelaide and introduce new concepts of people – African American and African — to that continent.  It was at the forefront of what is now known as a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiative.  The “Black Kennedys,” as many called them, were the first African American family to live on the continent of Australia.  Even though they were brought in to work with White Australians, they inspired the first land rights march by the Aborigines in that region, as well as taught at the first college for Aboriginal leaders. They were also asked to produce for the Papau, New Guinea Independence Arts Festival in 1973.  In 2010, her mother was invited by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal to speak at the Third World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar and give a historical perspective as a cultural pioneer.  The entire family was hosted by the President.  Watch the video Return to Senegal

Through her parents’ unique work and status, Terri and her siblings interfaced with many notables – African chiefs, presidents, prime ministers, congressmen, governors, mayors, political activists, intellectuals, business pioneers, spiritual leaders, cultural elite, and celebrities.  She was privileged to grow up around icons like Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali and Smokey Robinson, and have celebrities in her own family including film and TV stars Leon Isaac Kennedy and Jayne Kennedy Overton.  Her aunt, Adrienne Kennedy, is the Obie Award winning playwright who was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and made her Broadway debut at the age of 91 in 2022 with “Ohio State Murders,” directed by Tony winner, Kenny Leon, and starring another Tony winner, Audra McDonald.

Education, public service and a commitment to excellence have been a family tradition which goes back to Terri’s great grandmother, Mary Atkins, who graduated from Knoxville College in the mid-1800’s; her great uncle, Dr. James Atkins, was a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet,” advising on education; her uncle, Dr. Joseph C. Kennedy, was co-founder and International Director of Africare, and was Peace Corps director in Sierra Leone, deputy director for Africa and regional director for East Asia and the Pacific Region; and her aunt, Dr. Lillian Kennedy Beam, was for 18 years a visionary builder and former Vice Chancellor of the United States International University Africa in Kenya. Another aunt, Mary Kennedy Carter, built schools in Uganda as part of Columbia University’s Teachers for East Africa.

World-Class Education
A lifelong learner, Terri has degrees in Sociology, Studio Art, Business and World Religions, and has done Executive Education in Global Leadership, Public Policy and Strategies for Sustainability at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Yale University Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Stanford University, and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. To supplement her world-class education, she learned directly from a master – her father. In addition to being a professor of Theatre Arts, he was a pioneer in Executive Leadership Training.  Known as “Mr. Speech,” he started training executives at IBM and other corporations in the 1950’s integrating specialized breathing, vocal and embodiment tools.  He was also the vocal coach to notables like tennis great Althea Gibson. He was using terms like “vibration” and “frequency” in relation to subtle energy long before they became a part of popular self-development vernacular.  Terri’s empowerment work uses many of his proven principles, frameworks and techniques, along with her own signature style of coaching, inspiration and whole approach to success in business and life.  Her writing and media savvy was inspired by her mother, who ran a global marketing consulting firm in the 1980’s and 1990’s and is a highly-respected Columbia University-trained journalist.

Everything Terri does in business, wellness and advocacy leverages her superpower: communication, whether it’s writing, speaking, moderating, teaching or producing. Ready to work with an expert? Check out her Speaking Topics, explore sample collaborations, and then reach out here.

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Transformative conversations, connections and experiences

What Others Are Saying

“In my 15th Congressional District in New York, Dr. Kennedy has devoted her time to the community with tireless energy. She is respected both locally and nationally as a proponent of health literacy, personal empowerment, and productivity management. She is known for her integrity and vision, as well as hands-on, personable style. I applaud her contributions to our community and nation.”

Former Congressman Charles Rangel – 15th District New York

“Terri Kennedy has worked with the Congressional Black Caucus Health Empowerment Tour in my Congressional District in Brooklyn, and her efforts have made a lasting impact on the community.”

Former Congressman Edolphus Towns – 10th District New York

“Dr. Kennedy has been a role model for healthy living – a leader of Harlem’s Healthy Living Initiative.”

Lloyd A. Williams – President & CEO, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce

Terri really understands the issues around Health & Productivity Management. She delivers an engaging and informative message, and she’s a delight to work with.”

Rachel Permuth-Levine, Ph.D. – Former Deputy Director, Office of Strategic & Innovative Programs, National Institutes of Health

“Teresa has a keen understanding of the stresses associated with our business, having served as Vice President for MTV and VH1, and this connection resonated with our employees.”

Nikole Thomas – CoBEX, Macy’s East Corporate

“Terri is one of our superstar alumni. She has the intelligence and education to examine the best way to affect her community, the United States of America, and touch peoples lives.”

Joshua Rosenthal, MScED – Founder and Director, Institute of Integrative Nutrition

“Terri is a positive life-changing force in our community. She is able to effectively communicate with all ages, genders and ethnic groups. She is certainly a world leader for these times.”

Patricia Butts – First Lady, Abysinnian Baptist Church & Board of Directors, American Heart Association Founders Affiliate

“It a rare occurrence for our youth to think of their futures in positive, productive ways, and your Young PWR Brokers program was a very special opportunity for them and our agency as a whole.”

Michael Loften, Ed,M. – Director Youth and Adult Education, Broadway Housing Communities

“Terri is a bright light. As Chair of Yoga Alliance, she led with integrity and great devotion.”

Srivatsa Ramaswami, E-RYT – Yoga Master

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