Dana Kennedy is an alumna of UIUC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She worked for Motorola, Andersen Consulting, Tellabs and UIUC Department of Computer Science before owning Kennedy Builders, a custom home building and renovations company, with her husband. Dana’s a Senior Associate of Viridian Energy. She supports and serves the community in many ways. YMCA, Crisis Nursery, East Central IL Homebuilders Association, her children’s school, homeowner’s association and many more organizations have benefited from her time and treasure. Dana’s a 10-year member of the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, currently serving as President. She is mom of Claire (8) and Patrick (6.5) and lives with her husband Mike in Champaign.
See why we think Dana Kennedy is a Chambana mom to know.
Q: Festival of Trees is coming – what can we look forward to this year?
Besides twinkling lights and enough garland to wrap around the Hilton? Santa and Mrs Claus of course… I hope you are all on the ‘Nice’ list! JLCU’s Festival of Trees committee has been working feverishly since late spring to create a lovely winter wonderland of beautifully designed trees and wreaths. There will be fabulous raffles, silent auctions, live performances, and a gift gallery throughout the event… plus the ever famous Daddy Daughter Dance Friday evening, whose theme this year is “Sweet Moments”. Tickets to that are on sale NOW!
Q: Tell us why this annual tradition is such a big part of JLCU and how it helps your efforts year-round.
One piece of the Junior League mission is to improve communities which JLCU does by focusing on providing basic needs for school readiness. Festival of Trees is JLCU’s biggest fundraiser. Its success makes all the difference in the amount of community outreach JLCU can do throughout next year. Each admission fee, raffle ticket purchased, tree and wreath sponsorship, and Gift Gallery vendor donation supports the JLCU mission.
In its 18th year, Festival of Trees is as much a tradition for community members as it is for any JLCU member. Guests attend to hear youth choirs, school band or other community group performances, as they wander the holiday landscape of trees and wreaths, many of which are contributed by local businesses, organizations, and families. 100s to attend Friday evening’s Daddy Daughter Dance… Uncles, Brothers, family friends,… no man is safe around the batting eyelashes of a little darling asking for a date! The community presence is a critical component of the event.
Q: Tell us why you are passionate about JLCU.
We have many nonprofits doing important work in CU. What sets JLCU apart, for me is one piece of our mission: to develop the potential of women.
The training received in this organization is off the charts. JLCU is one of 293 Junior Leagues comprised of 155,000 women around the world, serving as civic leaders who are catalysts for lasting community change. I love being a part of this movement!
When I say I am President of this organization, I do so with the deepest pride. Women of JLCU have been developing projects that fill gaps in community services for over 81 years. From the first well-baby clinic in the 1930’s, to the Kindergarten Readiness program pilot in 2014, the work ethic of JLCU women of the past and future, is an inspiration.
Q: Besides JLCU, what makes you proud to live in our community?
Being an Illini! I love living in the community where I went to college. The university fosters a collaborative environment of diverse backgrounds. Champaign-Urbana is an international leader in engineering and agriculture (my department was Electrical Engineering and my husband’s was Agricultural Economics). We enjoy sharing our Illini pride with our children, and feel so lucky they have gotten to experience Campustown, Krannert, and a variety of university activities and sports from the youngest of ages.
Q: What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
First and foremost the health of my husband and children. I don’t take one day for granted and thoroughly give thanks for my blessings every day.
Q: What are some of your family’s favorite winter holiday traditions?
Baking Christmas cookies is always a given. Building a gingerbread house I have been known to leave to Daddy… whether it’s concrete or icing, I’m happy to let him deal with the messy side of construction! The kids and I dazzle it up once the foundation is set. 😉 Christmas Eve is with Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy and Christmas Day with all my extended family (picture your most chaotic Italian movie dinner scene… you are still nowhere close!). The day after Christmas is my son’s birthday, so while everyone else is in recovery, the Kennedy’s are still partying on the 26th!
Q: Tell us something about yourself that most people (even your friends!) might not know about you.
Well its hard to say what people do or do not know…but I do love to sing. I am not saying I’m ANY good at it. If I had an hour a week just to do something fun for me, I would love to take voice lessons and/or form some type of “singing group” that got together just for fun, no professional aspirations here!
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