Kristie Kennedy, Women’s Worth and Wellness Expert
We met Kristie through an unexpected avenue: Craiglist. But then again, thats how thecnnekt co-founders made their way into each other's lives, too! One inspiring conversation led to another where Kristie shared her story on how one pivotal moment that impacted the rest of her life. We are honored to feature Kristie and all of her accomplishments toward bettering the lives of women from the inside out. Follow along with us in her journey of spreading "queenfidence"!
Kristie, what did you dream of being as a young woman?
As long as I can remember I've had a vivid imagination. The household I grew up in was quite volatile at times. My mom was the strength of our home. She possessed a work ethic as I have never seen before. I was an only child and what the system would call a latch key kid. I learned a lot of things the hard way. As I peer back into my childhood bedroom there were two pictures hanging on the wall. One image had multiple stacks of one hundred dollar bills and the other Martin Luther King’s face and words from his iconic speech at the Lincoln Memorial for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The words, “I HAVE A DREAM.” Have carried me through the highs and lows of my entire life.
On the surface level, as a young woman who was void of substantial mentorship I just wanted to have access to opportunities. I remember writing on a little white piece of paper, “When I grow up I want to be an astronaut, a gynecologist and a veterinarian.”
As an adult woman what I see is that even then there were no limits to what I could achieve. I was given a gift to BELIEVE that anything is possible! My mother would always tell me, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” I knew that I was created for something massive when I would cry watching Michael Jackson on stage impacting thousands of souls or Whitney Houston singing, “Greatest Love of All.” In a nut shell, before I could articulate my vision of a brighter tomorrow my dream was to be a herald of hope for the hopeless and a liberator of change to those searching for a light to lead the way.
You talk about having many odds stacked against you growing up, especially in the school systems. How did you push through and achieve those dreams?
Tears begin to flow down my face as I reminisce on this soul-wrenching time in my life. I was the crazy one. The class clown. The misfit. All in one. I was always living beneath my potential, a typical underachiever doing just enough to get by. I remember receiving a low score on one of the standardized tests that determines your placement when transitioning from middle school to high school. I failed it and was assigned to basic level classes. Internally, it didn’t sit well with me because I never experienced being in an environment where I was considered less than brilliant. The classes were not challenging and one day I approached my guidance counselor about it. I asked her if she would allow me to enter regular level classes. She agreed to it only if I maintained my grades. I will never forget Ms. Baldia because she deposited a seed of possibility to attend college. It would mean taking Geometry and Algebra II simultaneously when math was the most arduous subject for me. I barely passed by the skin of my teeth but I am proud to say as a result I was able to meet the criteria for incoming freshmen at Florida State University. I would be one of the first in my family to attain a college degree. It was the beginning of winning. Yet, as a college student I still had to work through a negative outlook on life. There were still countless bad habits I had to work through. I was not very responsible to say the least.
I can recall ending up in the Dean’s office for fighting. During my senior year after just going through the motions for four years, my professor who was the only African American I had encountered stated, “Nothing pains some people more than having to THINK!” by none other than my hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was always sitting in the back of the class, blending in and too afraid to USE MY VOICE. The teacher asked a question and for the first time I spoke. My answer was wrong but on that day something more powerful took place. I was liberated from the fear of opening my mouth and speaking my mind. I sat at my desk as tears fell from my eyes. If that was the only thing I obtained from my college education it was well worth it. I had to finish what I started and graduate because my mom sacrificed more than I could ever repay. I wanted to become a woman she would be proud of. She is the wind beneath my wings and her love is the underlying inspiration behind all that I do.
What was your “ah –ha” moment to start your business to help others achieve their dreams?
I’ve had countless moments to spark my passion for this wild world of entrepreneurship. The first major one was December 6, 1999 after being laid off at the Homeless Shelter. I was an Information and Referral Counselor to homeless women. My heart would be torn at the pain I witnessed them going through. I would often go to one of the private office rooms and just cry my heart out after witnessing them suffer daily. When I received my pink slip I realized that all my eggs were in one basket. I said within myself I will never allow another organization to determine what I can or cannot make. One of my mentors told me early on, “Kristie never allow money to dictate what you can or cannot have.”
Many women come to me saying, “I don’t have start-up capital.” Honey,that was the story of my life. What I teach them to focus on is their internal resources. I learned how to be creative in crisis.
After 17 years of trial and error what has been consistent is my persistence. Resilience is my superpower. I have gone through hell and high water! I don’t look like the adversity I’ve had to endure. In my mind I AM INVINCIBLE which means too powerful to defeat and victorious over everything. I remember wasting so much time wondering if I should take the leap from my 9-5 or remain in the comfort zone. I took the leap, fell flat on my face and went back to the drawing board. There is no perfect path to your dreams, it is full of twists and turns. If you launch out into the deep I can guarantee you this that there will never be a dull moment. For years I sat in that small cubicle feeling like a caged lioness Yes, it was seeminly safe but it was undeniably suffocating. My health suffered greatly in that toxic corporate work environment. I often broke out in hives from the internal anxiety. I now play by the rules that I write. I live according to my values. I am happier and healthier because I dared to step into my power.
As you blossomed into this amazing, inspirational life coach-what is your best advice to clients, especially those who have faced similar challenges?
Most of the women attracted to me are where I once was: stuck, hiding and afraid to give themselves permission to be great. I love sharing one of my favorite affirmations, “NO ONE IS YOU and THAT IS YOUR POWER!” We often convince ourselves that no one would be interested in what we have to offer, someone else is doing what we desire to do, we don’t have the credentials, we aren’t pretty enough, we don’t have the income, we don’t have the guru coach etc…It’s just a defense mechanism to keep us playing small. You were created to LIVE LARGE and IN CHARGE! Find out who you have yet to become. Most people stop at start but not you! Make the quantum leaps and elevate to GREAT! Focus on evolving every day. Step by step. Focus on what matters most to you. You have what it takes but it will take everything you’ve got. You were not built to breakdown you were designed to breakthrough. Against all odds, bet on you! Stack the odds in your favor and surprise yourself with what you can do! It's smart to start NOW if you intend to stimulate the beginning of winning.
What is the best lessons your clients have taught you?
- Courage can conquer any fear
- If you do the work, radical results will manifest
- We all have stories that need a judgement free zone to be shared
- Potential is boundless
- Service is purpose being fulfilled
- Change is easy when you own your leading role
What is next for you, Kristie?
Over the past three years I have been cultivating a crystal clear vision for my leadership legacy. I envision 100 million leading ladies being trained to live powerfully. I’ve created Queenfidence, Global Image Consulting and Entrepreneurial Empowerment for 21st Century progressive minded women. My focus will be to continue providing transformational courses to teach them how to operate with massive momentum, produce magnetic messaging, maximize their potential and develop mindset mastery to overcome any form of adversity. In the words of John Wesley, “Set yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn!” I am excited about speaking on larger platforms nationally and internationally. I plan on enjoying life with my loving husband Lamont, my dog CoCo and inspiring the masses like a wild woman! I am a witness that YOU CAN WIN AGAIN!
In the words of the late Steve Jobs:
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Stay tuned the best is yet to come…
Interviewed by Emily