Kennedy began her career in January 1999 at KCIW, first working at the institution as a transportation officer. She immediately began moving up the ranks, first in security, and then in the programming side of the prison. She has held nearly all the job posts at the institutional level and her service includes managing the prison's Assessment Center. She is also a certified hostage negotiator and was a member of the KCIW Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT)
In 2010 Kennedy was promoted to deputy warden at Western Kentucky Correctional Complex. She assisted that prison during its conversion from a men's medium-security prison to a female institution. In 2015 she came back to KCIW to serve as deputy warden and held that role until being named warden.
Kennedy has been recognized for outstanding service several times during her career. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University where she received her bachelor's degree in corrections and juvenile services. She also attended Sullivan University where she received her master's degree, cum laude, in conflict management.
A native of Louisville, Kennedy is a member of KCCD (Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency), the Southern States Correctional Association and the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation.