A proud West Philadelphia native, Nicole E. Kenney, MPP, has committed her academic and professional career learning, leading, and innovating at the intersection of research, communications, and programs around racial, gender, and economic equity.
In July 2021, Nicole won the $50,000 Well City Challenge grand prize and an additional $10,000 in the incubator round (a total of $60,000) for her idea, Hey Auntie!, an intergenerational wellness and lifestyle platform designed to cultivate safe and meaningful connections across generations to improve Black women's mental health at home, work, and everywhere in between. Hey Auntie! was named the 2021 Invention of the Year and was listed as one of Philly's top 20 standout tech companies of 2022 in their Annual ReaLIST Startups List both by Technical.ly Philly.
Nicole is also the founder and CEO of the social impact consultancy, It Starts with Me! LLC. In this capacity, she leads companies, non-profits, and brands with strategies, communications, and programs to help address society's most pressing social and economic challenges. Past clients include non-profits like the National Black Women's Justice Institute, Gaudenzia, Baltimore Healthy Start, The Urban League of Philadelphia, and for-profits such as PECO Energy Company and social impact real estate development firms SHIFT Capital and Seawall.
Before launching her consultancy, Nicole served as a senior communications associate for the National NAACP. There she helped lead internal and external communications to uplift the work of the NAACP both nationally and internationally. While working with the NAACP, she was published in The Review of the Political Black Economy as a contributing author for The Invisible Woman: The Status of and Challenges Facing Black Women.
Ms. Kenney's commitment to improving women's social and economic outcomes is reflected in her civic, community, and speaker engagements in Philadelphia and around the country. Currently, Nicole serves as the President of the Smith College Philadelphia Alumni Chapter; a board member for She Saves a Nation; a member of the Philadelphia Black Association of Journalists; and a member of the Church of Christian Compassion.
Ms. Kenney has been invited speaker on issues impacting women and girls at the Save a Girl, Save a World Conference; The Black Women's Symposium at Providence College; Smith College's Leadership Conference; and Congresswoman Robin Kelly's Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. on Black women and mental health, titled What Makes Black Women Blue. Ms. Kenney has also partnered with numerous organizations throughout the city, including the District Attorney's Office, I Choose to Win, Christian Stronghold Church, and other non-profits to host community programs to equip and empower women and girls to rise and thrive at work in their homes, and in their communities.
A fitness enthusiast, Nicole has served as a Senior Fitness Instructor at her childhood YMCA in West Philadelphia since 2016.
A proud graduate of Hallahan High School for Girls in Philadelphia, Nicole earned her Bachelor of Arts from Smith College in Government and Psychology. At Smith, Nicole was also the recipient of the Barbara Jordan Public Policy Award. She completed a semester abroad at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia. She earned her Master of Arts in Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University.