Kandice HenningKandice Henning is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alive Center in Naperville, Illinois, an organization that offers inclusive experiences in learning, sharing, and discovery to help individuals connect with their passions. Since merging with NaperBridge in January 2015, Alive has enhanced its teen program.

Kandice is also a Life Coach and Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT). After over 25 years as an executive at Accenture and IBM, she pursued her true passion: helping people create their desired lives. She graduated from Coach for Life, a life coaching school, and is a certified Heal Your Life Workshop Leader, following the teachings of Louise Hay. Kandice holds a 200-hour CYT from Moksha Yoga in Chicago and is currently completing her 500-hour CYT through ParaYoga with Rod Stryker. She earned a BA in Communications from the University of Illinois.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [2:53] Kandice Henning explains how respect and accountability shape future leaders
  • [4:15] Melding personal passion with professional endeavors for fulfillment
  • [5:27] The impactful teen-led model at the Alive Center
  • [6:36] Kandice highlights Alive Center’s approach to letting teens learn from failure
  • [9:03] How teens are empowered to take on leadership roles and community activities
  • [10:05] Key metrics for measuring teen-led program success
  • [14:03] How the Alive Center has been a life-saving sanctuary for teens
  • [16:59] Alive Center’s potential expansion through a new franchise model
  • [22:58] Kandice stresses the importance of pursuing passion over societal pressures

In this episode…

Aligning personal passion with professional endeavors leads to profound fulfillment. How does encouraging young people to pursue and integrate their interests into their career paths foster a strong sense of purpose and satisfaction?

Teen advocate Kandice Henning has developed a compelling blueprint for youth empowerment emphasizing respect, accountability, and passion. She asserts that treating teens with respect and holding them accountable are key factors in shaping them into future leaders. This philosophy is a guiding principle and deeply embedded in the mission and practices of the Alive Center, where these values are actively cultivated and reinforced. Through this approach, Kandice aims to inspire and equip young people to take on significant roles in their communities, driving meaningful change and fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

In this episode of the Mission Matters Podcast, Paul Feith interviews Kandice Henning, Founder and Executive Director of the Alive Center in Naperville, about teens leading change and her blueprint for youth empowerment. Kandice delves into the inception of the Alive Center, shares her career trajectory that led to an unexpected calling, and her dedication to teen empowerment — emphasizing confidence building, leadership skills, and the freedom to fail — underpinning the center’s success in nurturing the next generation of compassionate leaders.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Quotable Moments:

  • “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that.”
  • “When you love what you do, you throw yourself into it.”
  • “The world needs a facelift, and our youth is the solution.”
  • “Doing what you truly love… you really do come alive.”
  • “Being impeccable with our word is crucial for integrity, especially as a community.”

Action Steps:

  1. Encourage teenagers to find and pursue their passions, supporting them in exploring varied interests without pressure: This builds confidence and lays the groundwork for a fulfilling future.
  2. Embrace opportunities to treat youths as equals, challenging them with responsibility while offering support: By respecting teens as capable individuals, we cultivate their leadership skills.
  3. Normalize the experience of failure by allowing teens to learn through trial and error in safe environments: Kandice’s emphasis on learning from failure teaches resilience and encourages innovative thinking among teens.
  4. Advocate for the expansion of teen centers in communities lacking adequate after-school programs: Given the scarcity of teen centers in Illinois, franchising the Alive Center model provides preventative mental health support by fostering engaging activities.
  5. Create leadership platforms that provide real-world experience for teens, such as engaging them in decision-making or organizational events: Involving teens in meaningful roles helps them develop a sense of purpose and valuable experience for future endeavors.

Sponsor for this episode…

Today’s episode is sponsored by Paul Gregory Media, an 18-year-old digital marketing agency in downtown Naperville, Illinois.

They are one of the few thousand Certified B Corporations worldwide, demonstrating PGM as a leader of a global movement to use business as a force for good, meeting high standards of accountability, transparency, and community involvement. They have been trusted by hundreds of organizations since 2006.

PGM is recognized as one of the top marketing agencies in the region, earning more awards than many of its competitors combined. They have the passion, commitment, and expertise to get it done.

To learn more about the services PGM offers or how they can support you with your marketing needs, visit www.paulgregorymedia.com or email them at [email protected].