Dan Kennedy Interview: Biz Publisher Creates Zen Life!
Diana Landau | October 19, 2021
Carl talks with Dan Kennedy, former Publisher of the Sacramento Business Journal. He has achieved so much in media and business mentoring over the years. Whether working with journalists, as head of the Small Business Administration or now actively teaching students in UC Davis’ MBA program, Dan has also forged a mindful path--- practicing yoga for decades and even spent some time in his youth living in a Pennsylvania monastery.
Dan was born in Brooklyn and his parents moved the family when he was young to New Jersey. Dan’s father was a Harvard CPA, traveled globally for corporations, and then died suddenly from hepatitis when Dan was only 5, his brother 3. After high school, he went into the monastery, even living a cloistered year in the mountains with no talking or contact with the outside world. “It’s all about inner development. You are cut off from the world,” Dan says, “but the impact (on my life) has been huge and wonderful.”
After four years at the monastery, Dan went to Boston University and The University of Toronto. He began working in media and with journalists, and at one point was the head of the Small Business Administration locally. Dan became the Publisher of the Sacramento Business Journal, during its heyday. “We had huge staff, good profits, and wrote hard news, “ Dan says. By the time Dan was in his early 50’s, he tired of the corporate pressure and started thinking about new things he wanted to do. “It’s great to have something rolling before you retire. I wondered, where do I move on from here?”
Dan eventually left the Journal and started teaching students at UC Davis’ MBA program. He enjoyed it so much he wondered if he could begin teaching even more—and an opportunity opened up for a full position. Now 75, he enjoys mentoring students, teaching, yoga, and world travel, serving on nonprofit Boards like Make-a-Wish, hobbies, and more. He still remains social-media-free. “I am pursuing my best self,” Dan tells us.
Dan’s (un)retirement wisdom:
• Inner Development: “Now you have the time to look inward. Ask, how can I be a better person? Who would my loved ones want me to be? Why aren't I? I want to make everyone in my life feel better that I was alive.”
• Volunteering: “Even busy business people can volunteer, (as in helping the organization strategically vs contact with actual those in need). You can be one step away and still change the world.”
• Zen Life: “Meditation and yoga partner up very well. Begin with five minutes or even two minutes. Go online, it’s the easiest place to get started."
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.