Look up “resilient” in the dictionary and you may just find a picture of Madeline Kennedy. As the CEO and Head Coach of Kennedy Coaching, she is the epitome of tough – she’s beat two back-to-back bouts of cancer, and a host of other challenges, to get where she is today.
Coaching was a natural fit for her. She started out when she was only 18 by working with people with disabilities and mental illness. While getting her master’s in social work, she developed a pilot program that, in her words, brought “holistic life coaching to an inner-city clinic.” She also worked as a community organizer in Albany, where she led Active Living Everyday workshops and helped people incorporate physical activity into their lives.
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Later, she took a position running Community Health Worker services at Albany County Department of Health, where she brought in the “SAMHSA wellness model and wellness recovery action planning, which I baked into our assessment and goal process for clients”. Eventually, she developed her own wellness approaches which she used to lose and keep off the 70 pounds she put on after recovering from cancer, quit smoking, become an Adirondack 46er, and enjoy a plant based diet. She now has “a strong social support network and all around amazing life” she loves.
Madeline is a success story – and she says the key to success is to “balance striving to do better and learning how to be happy where you are at”. She doesn’t beat herself up anymore to be perfect and “always eat the right thing and do the best workout.” Her schedule is varied so she never gets bored–she enjoys kayaking, biking, tennis, and dancing at concerts. She also follows the “80/20 clean vs. crap rule”, knowing sometimes “it’s more like 75/25. Then when I feel the difference in how well my body and mind are working, (not as well), I get back on track and ‘crowd out’ the junk by adding in more good stuff when I’m feeling like I need to up my game.”
Madeline became an entrepreneur after someone who she was dating encouraged her to write her first book – a universal, non-religious, spiritual twelve-step program that addressed overeating, smoking, substance abuse, and unhealthy relationships. When she realized that not enough people were helping apply these ideas “on the ground,” she decided to start coaching people herself.
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That’s why she started her own company. Kennedy Coaching “sees that all people and communities have value and deserve to be able to work towards wellness, regardless of their income,” she says. “They deserve to get affordable, accessible, high quality wellness coaching to help them prevent and manage physical, psychological, spiritual, occupational, and other issues they are having.”
Madeline uses a holistic approach grounded in physical, mental, and spiritual health to help her clients lead healthier, fuller lives. People seek her guidance for help navigating their jobs, relationships, and fitness, and she helps those in need develop plans of action to help them achieve their goals. She also runs workshops for groups looking to foster better relationships, perform better work, and cultivate mindful perspectives.
Because of her journey and how she overcame obstacles, Madeline is a real inspiration. But who inspires her? She said, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the numerous mentors, colleagues, friends, teachers, and coaches who’ve helped me along the way.” She even writes about them in her blog.
If you want to make the leap Madeline did and start to feel healthier, meet up with her! You can schedule a coaching session or request a group workshop on her website at www.KennedyCoaching.org.