Spotlight COlorado  

Have You Met?

The first question most people ask Tui Kenny when they meet her is ”Where did you get the name Tui?” She explains that she grew up the youngest of six siblings, all of whom happen to have a serious penchant for teasing.

Her real name is Susan, but her mother disliked any of the common Susan nicknames, like Susie and Sue, so her brothers began calling her “Sooooweeeeee,” like the pig call. Well, this just didn’t sit well with her very Southern and very proper mother, so they settled on Tui and it stuck.

After graduating from DU in 1991, Tui worked as a children’s counselor for Gateway Battered Women’s Shelter. After several years in the nonprofit arena, she became marketing director at Chancellor Media, handling special events, advertising and public relations. Yearning for a change from the hectic world of radio, Tui briefly went to work for Aiello Public Relations before forming her own PR company in 1999, called Kenny Communications.

In the past several years, Tui’s client list has grown to include high-tech companies, boutiques, restaurants, artists, an energy drink, special events and nonprofit work.

One thing that most people don’t know about Tui is that she possesses an inherited affinity for Parker Shotguns and bird hunting. She learned to hunt as a child and frequently joins her father and brothers for family hunting trips. Tui is a member of the Ruffed Grouse Society and Ducks Unlimited and her more mainstream activities include running, biking, hiking, paddle tennis and spending time in the mountains.

Favorite clothing stores: Limeade, a new Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store (and a client), Saks, Neiman Marcus.

What gives a woman/man style: Sense of self, attitude.

Favorite Restaurant: Sushi Den, Bistro Adde Brewster, Strings

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? That is difficult to say…I met Dario Franchitti the other day; he seems interesting –- and is certainly nice looking. My friends tell me I am a bad entertainment friend;I don’t pay much attention to celebrities. It is unlikely you would find me watching the Oscars or Grammys or one of those shows.

What are your volunteer activities? Sushi, Sake, Sumo, which benefits the Clinical Cancer Care at the University of Colorado Hospital; Cancer League; The Mask Project for Hospice of Metro Denver; Quarters for Kids.

What is your favorite occupation? I was a children’s counselor for Gateway Battered Women’s Shelter right out of college. I wish I had been older and better equipped to handle the emotional toll, because I think I have a natural instinct for working with the kids.

What is your greatest regret?Not thinking more seriously about becoming a pediatrician.

Who are your heroes and why? My parents, because they are respectable, strong and kind and they managed to raise six children successfully.

Saturdays are likely to find you: In a park, the mountains, shopping or working on a house project.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? That my house projects were born out of desire to always be doing something, rather than knowledge or expertise.

What words describe you best? Optimistic, dedicated, sarcastic.

How do you think others describe you? Loyal, dependable.

What was your first job? Working for a friend’s father at 16, trying to pay for the damage I inflicted on my car within a month of getting my license.

If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? To not take myself so seriously.

What is your greatest indulgence? Cashmere sweaters.

Best gift you ever gave? Helping my sister get her company, BB Sweets, off the ground – she has a wonderful talent.

What is a favorite childhood memory? Spending time with my family at our farm. Being pulled through the snow on a sled behind the back of our old CJ5.

When and where were you the happiest? On Semester at Sea, traveling the world, or during the holidays, surrounded by my family, particularly my seven nieces and nephews.

Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to dance with just an ounce of rhythm.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having some success in a career that I actually enjoy.

What is your most treasured possession? My family.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The acceptance of violence in our society. Values and discipline no longer hold the same importance they once did.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Sense of humor, intelligence.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Self-confidence.

What is the best advice you have ever received? ”This too shall pass” – from my grandmother when I was 10 and moving away (only a mile) from my best friend. She was right, I learned early on to persevere and learn from experiences.

Who are your favorite writers? Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, P.J. O’Rourke, PG Wodehouse

Most recent book you read? “Sundog,” Jim Harrison

Motto: Work hard, play hard.