Dr. Kelly Kennedy will never know as much as she wants to know. But that doesn’t stop her from trying.
“I'm constantly crawling upward to try to make sure that I can bring the most current information and the best information that I can to the people that I'm working with,” Dr. Kennedy said.
As a professional, Dr. Kennedy strives to be as up-to-date as possible when it comes to her knowledge in her line of work. If Dr. Kennedy is ever asked a question she can't answer intelligently, then it's an area of opportunity to learn and make sure she has the answer the next time, which is kind of how she fell into her career in the first place.
Originally, Dr. Kennedy wanted to be a flight attendant for a couple of years, see the world, and then thought she might become a firefighter (her father was a firefighter and her mother was a flight attendant as well) so she didn't have a lot of creative ideas for her own profession. But that changed. Guided by her own fitness journey — and curiosity — and because she was tired of leaving conversations with more questions than she had before, Dr. Kennedy decided to further her own education.
“I was thinking, ‘I would love to be able to answer these questions myself rather than constantly rely on other people to answer them for me,’” Dr. Kennedy said. “That's what interested me in getting certified as an aerobics instructor and then wanting to get a degree in the field.”
Dr. Kennedy went on to teach aerobics at the YMCA in Tallahassee while attending Florida State University. It was there that she earned her degree in Communications with a minor in Nutrition and Fitness. After moving back home to Miami, she decided to get her Masters Degree at Florida International University. While attending school there, she became an adjunct instructor and taught a three-credit class called Foundations of Fitness for four years. Dr. Kennedy’s first full-time job in 1999 was working as a personal trainer and aerobics instructor for the largest Police Department in the Southeast United States. Dr. Kennedy was promoted a year later and within that year took over the training program for the recruits. In 2009 she earned her Ph.D. in Global Leadership with an emphasis in education from Lynn University.
When she first started at the police department, Dr. Kennedy noticed the opportunity to help bring best practices in fitness training to the training program. In fact, most departments do not have the ability to hire someone to oversee the physical training program for their officers, often leading a fitness program is left up to the best-fit person that looked the most appropriate to lead the fitness program. To provide more support to those officers, in 2003 Dr. Kennedy incorporated her consulting company and has been helping other departments to understand how they can best lead their own programs.
“I started to help teach other police departments how they can guide fitness,” Dr. Kennedy said. “I saw that there was a lot of opportunity to make a meaningful contribution toward them progressing on their path. That's basically what started Fit To Enforce.”
Looking back, Dr. Kennedy had no idea this was where she would land in her career, but it’s interesting to see the trajectory of her path. Dr. Kennedy was just trying to stay close to what she found most interesting, which was really guiding her own fitness program, and answering all the questions that she felt were burning in her head. And because she was so starved for information, when Dr. Kennedy had the opportunity to teach at the university, it only fueled her interest in this topic.
“I truly love this subject,” Dr. Kennedy said. “I want to keep kind of sharpening my sword when it comes to learning best practices and improving on what it is that I have to offer, not only to the department that I work for, but to any officer that wants better guidance.”
Photo credit(s): Courtesy of Dr. Kelly Kennedy