“Most people think that I am claiming to be perfect when I talk about my phenomenality – that is the first myth I like to bust” Chris, author of the book “Chris Kennedy’s Phenomenal Women – Your Journey to a Phenomenal Life” explained.
“Being phenomenal is not about perfection, it’s about what you do with your mistakes, how you handle it when you fall down, how you get up, and move on.”
And Chris is the master of managing personal challenge. The product and survivor of incest, Chris managed to overcome a whole host of personal challenges that should have left her crushed and beaten.
She has struggled most of her life to overcome the issues that were created in her life by her early exposure to a grossly dysfunctional family – her mother was the victim of incest herself, as well as being married for 60 years to a man who was consistently and continually unfaithful to her.
As a result of her own abuse and the poor role model her mother presented, Chris bounced from one relationship to another, all with equally non-functional men who ended up living off her and, at the same time, subjecting her to various levels of abuse.
“My first husband was most probably the most innocent” Chris commented, “my second husband was into multiple relationships, the third left me with R430,000 debt in 1996 and the fourth was an alcoholic”.
And this would be a sorry tale of a victim if one didn’t look at the spectacular success story that Chris is today.
Chris started her first business when she was pregnant with her second child (now 22 years old). From small roots she created a very successful marketing company with a publishing arm.
She soon discovered that a successful business career was one thing but managing her private life another. Against a backdrop of business success, Chris was searching for the tools and insights that would enable her to heal her personal life.
After she took an overdose when she was 38 years old, Chris intensified her search for meaning and soon found solutions in the technology known as NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming). Not long after this, Chris realized that her personal purpose was not in following the marketing path, but in assisting others to also discover new meaning and purpose in their lives.
Closing down her marketing business, Chris opened up a corporate and personal training company. Among the many significant successes Chris can claim, renegotiating the merger between Black owned CA firm KMMT and one of the then Big Five CA firms KPMG as one of her most significant. She is also enormously proud of her involvement in the development of KPMG’s Transformation Strategy and Fast Tracking programme, her roll out of a Change Management programme for the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in response to the impact of the Companies Act on Small and Medium CA Firms, as well as her contribution to the new training programme for young aspiring CAs.
All exciting stuff, but perhaps only a precursor to her development of the Phenomenal Women Initiative that has changed the lives of thousands of South African women. A process that began with a leap of faith that saw Chris first commit R65,000 in advertising, shortly followed by R400,000 in a partnership with SABC3 that made the Initiative a runaway media success and led to Hollard committing over R4 million in hard cash, and SABC3 over R16 million in air time. In 2009 alone the project has a net value of R23 million.
And, as a result of this success, Random House Struik asked Chris to write the book based on the Initiative, published in 2009, Chris Kennedy’s Phenomenal Women – Your Journey to a Phenomenal Life is already in its second imprint and is also available in electronic format.
2011 has seen Chris relaunching her company under the new brand Chris Kennedy Phenomenal and there have already been exciting new offerings from CKP with plans for more new additions throughout the year.
Look out for the Phenomenal Women Workshop, Phenomenal Women Book Series – an intimate evening with Chris in which she works through various chapters of her book, or book Chris for an inspirational, highly motivational and challenging two hour talk. If you really want a one on one challenge, Chris still offers Life, Business and Strategy Coaching and has a range of Corporate Generative Change offerings that can inspire the most jaded organization to refocus and move forward.
And if this wasn’t enough for the phenomenal Chris, she is embarking on what she describes as her first marriage. “The others were my reaction to my history and an opportunity for me to understand what programming around relationships I experienced in my early childhood.”
Having lived on her own since the tragic murder of her estranged fourth husband in 2005, Chris is consenting to say “I do” in November this year to her current business and life partner, Singaporean management consultant and business development strategist John Antony. A partner who is 100 percent behind the phenomenal brand and its development both within South Africa, Africa and internationally as well as being a keen personal support of Chris and her individual phenomenality.
As Chris says in her talks, workshops and book, “never let anyone tell you whether you can or can’t, you are the one who decides of what your life will comprise. My business and personal achievements were built on incest, a basic education, disasterous marriages and financial challenges. If I can be successful, if I can believe in the future and hold onto hope through the dark times, then anyone can ”.