Social Purpose

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy comes from a family committed to social change - from her parents who worked on five continents for five decades in cross-cultural communications and leadership development to her uncle who co-founded Africare that has delivered more than $1 billion in aid in 36 countries Africa-wide. Read more in Family Background.

She has been involved in social purpose and diversity marketing since the 1980s through her mother’s marketing consulting company, Sykes Kennedy & Associates. Client projects included working on the book series EXCEL: Excellence in Black Organizations and Black Achievers which was an outreach tool for Schenley Affiliated Brands Corporation with 1 million copies in distribution. She also performed marketing research for the worldwide distribution of Building in China–one of the first journals on the building industry in China through a contract with the China Building Technology Center (which is equivalent to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development). In addition, she helped to create VH1 Save the Music dedicated to raising public awareness and restoring music programs in schools, and helped to create the MTV Networks’ Diversity Council coordinating events with notables such as Dr. Betty Shabazz.

She has won numerous awards for her commitment to social causes. In 2002, she was named Emerging Entrepreneur by the Social Venture Network for innovation in addressing social problems. In 2008, she won three prestigious awards: the Women of Brilliant Achievement Award, recognizing women nationally who have achieved success in their chosen field while at the same time making a positive difference in their communities, especially empowering women; the Women Who Dare To Be Different Award, presented by Congressman Edolphus Towns and The Women’s Caucus, for her work in empowerment and health literacy; and the Cheerios Sisters Saving Hearts Award for her commitment to fighting heart disease presented by General Mills and the Congressional Black Caucus.

She has presented on “Creating Sustainable Social Enterprises” at the Harvard Club of New York City, and likes to work with companies that have demonstrated a commitment to social impact, such as Eileen Fisher. Her special interests are Women & Girls Empowerment, Youth Engagement, Health & Sustainability and Yoga & Mindfulness.

Women & Girls Empowerment

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy has had a lifelong commitment to the empowerment of women and girls. Her mother operated ID: Inner Dignity–a school that taught self-esteem building skills to girls in the 1960s in Brooklyn. Terri has carried on this tradition by co-creating, with her mother, the Young PWR Brokers program which teaches self-esteem skills to pre-teen and teen girls. She led the program at the Broadway Housing Communities’ Dorothy Day Apartments in Harlem which houses formerly homeless families.

A Wellesley College graduate, she has led programs for a range of companies and events focused on women’s empowerment, such as:

  • Young Women’s Leadership Foundation
  • Womensphere Global Summit & Awards
  • Harvard Business School Women’s Alumnae
  • Women in Leadership Development Conference
  • Seminario 2010 de Salud, Mujer y calidad de Vida (Chile)
  • WIE Symposium (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise)
  • 100 Hispanic Women Leadership Summit
  • The National Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit
  • Essence Leadership Summit
  • YWCA
  • Circle of Sisters
  • The Sistah Summit
  • The Links, Inc.
  • Jack & Jill of America, Inc.
  • Sister to Sister International
  • The Massachusetts Conference for Women
  • Nia Enterprises Women’s Leadership Summit
  • National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women

Youth Engagement

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy believes that positive youth engagement can transform the world. As a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (YGL), she has served on the Youth Task Force, and has been involved in the discussions on Youth Unemployment in conjunction with the World Economic Forum events around the world. She was an expert contributor to The Future of Youth Movements Summit in New York City. She also contributed to The Youth Effect: Toolkit for Decision Makers on Engaging With Youth which was a project of the World Economic Forum/Young Global Leaders and released at the 2010 Summit of the Global Agenda in Dubai (read Dr. Kennedy’s piece).

In addition, she is part of the founding Braintrust and curriculum development team for A New Way Forward, an initiative created by The National CARES Mentoring Movement to “train the trainers” in order to foster the development of African-American mentors for vulnerable Black youth in communities across the United States. She has also led programs for the ICIC Growing Up CEO Program, Future Leaders Institute, Thurgood Marshall Academy, The Beacon School, Frederick Douglass Academy, and the Hugo Newman College Preparatory School.

Health & Sustainability

Whether you’re looking to create a more vibrant lifestyle or a more responsible business, Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy can help you map out your path. Sustainability IS her way of life. She grew up in a “green” and holistic household before it was popular. She started practicing yoga with her mother when she was 4 years old and has been a vegetarian for over 25 years and gluten-free for 15 years. Her mother grew her own vegetables, had an industrial wheatgrass juicer, made her own yogurt and stored everything in glass bottles instead of plastic. This has been the backdrop for her interest in creating a more sustainable world. As a $290 billion (U.S.) / $355 billion (global) market segment, Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS) includes health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.

As a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, she is on the cutting-edge of corporate citizenship and sustainability trends. She has participated in discussions and working groups at regional Forum meetings around the world, as well as the Clinton Global Initiative. She recently shared her knowledge at the Sustainability Leadership and Inspiration Academy in Slovenia. Sponsored by BMW, the executive education program is housed at the Faculty of Economics–University of Ljubljana. In addition, she has offered commentary in the media such as CNN and The New York Times, and creates digital content for various outlets. She is also the author of the Seven-Day PWR Detox: Cleanse Your Body, Mind & Spirit While Living Your Daily Life 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. 

Sample content on sustainability includes:

* Slovenia: Sustainability in Action (video)
* Building Healthy Sustainable Spaces (video)
* Creating a Sustainable Market Economy (video)
* Mindfulness as a Path to Personal Sustainability (Huffington Post article)

She is a highly respected health advocate. She has lost eight family members to cardiovascular disease and devotes a large percent of her time as a National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association, representing the association in the national media and educating the public about the risks of heart disease and stroke. She is also an Advocate for Power and sits on their New York State Advocacy Committee, New York State Stroke Committee, Multicultural Leadership Committee, Harlem Go Red Committee, as well as their International Stroke Committee.

She is on the forefront of the prevention and wellness movement. She has presented on the “Globalization of Chronic Disease” at the Young Global Leader Summit in China and led the kickoff of the inaugural “Wellness Week” in New York City. The event was organized by the New York Academy of Medicine, in conjunction with the Harlem Chamber of Commerce, City College of New York, as well as the World Economic Forum and the Pan American Health Organization. She has also served on the Education Working Group for the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC), and has moderated/hosted for the Integrative Healthcare Symposium and the annual Holistic Wellness Expo at the City College of New York.

She has led educational programs for a variety of health-related organizations such as AARP, the American Diabetes Association, Sharp HealthCare, Mount Sinai, the Athletic Center of Excellence & Sports Medicine, the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence, the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Women Organized Around Wellness and the Urban Zen Foundation. She has served as nutrition expert for CAMBA’s S.P.I.C.E. (Supporting Pre-Conception Individuals through Cultural, Cooking and Coping Essentials), and has led training programs for health professionals at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Services, the Association of Black Cardiologists, King’s County Hospital in New York, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Harlem Hospital Center, New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists, the Student National Medical Association and Mentoring in Medicine. In addition, she has been a frequent keynote speaker for the Cleveland Clinic’s Speaking of Women’s Health and is an expert contributor to their blog.

She cares a great deal about the obesity epidemic. She is an ambassador for HealthCorps–-Dr. Mehmet Oz’s non-profit to fight childhood obesity, and has led youth-oriented health programs for President Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Figure Skating in Harlem, Children’s Sports & Fitness Expo and the Harlem Wizards Basketball Team/Camp. Her newest social enterprise is the Harlem Education and Training (E.A.T.) Kitchen–a collaborative community effort to fight obesity and chronic disease and inspire healthy eating habits. As a health coach, she has helped clients with a variety of ailments, ranging from Adult ADD, Asthma, Anorexia and Diabetes to Hypertension, Obesity, IBS, Crohn’s and even Leukemia. She trained as a Holistic Health Counselor at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has earned multiple national certifications in the fields of coaching and health & wellness.

She is an internationally-recognized yoga and meditation teacher. Learn more about it and be sure to support her new book, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master. Terri is also directing and producing a feature-length documentary on the life of 97-year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch.


Read her bio. Learn more about her business highlights, yoga and mindfulness,  family background and recent recognition.

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy understands what makes a successful gathering for business events and retreats alike. Be sure to check out her client/past event list and demo video. Read what others are saying in our letters of reference and testimonials, and check out the media buzz and highlighted news & events.  For all you need to get started, go to our Speaking Kit and FAQs. For additional questions, call 212-901-6913 or email

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"From start to finish, we thoroughly enjoyed working with Dr. Kennedy. Looking through the evaluations, she was a hit with the attendees as well. She instantly connected with our 800 participants. Some of them said that she was the favorite part of their day. Her personal story resonated with the audience and her positive energy got them on their feet. She is very interactive and engaging, offering useful information as well as inspiration. There was standing room only for her breakout session, and her book signing table was crowded… If you want a dynamic and knowledgeable speaker, then I wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Kennedy." - Lara Diamond Phillips, Sharp HealthCare Read more...