Kenny was raised in Inuvik and Teetl’it Zheh (Fort McPherson). His mother is Ellen Smith and his grandparents were Peter and Mary Kyikavichik (Kay) of Teetl’it Zheh. One of Kenny’s great grandparents was Chief Johnny Kyikavichik (Kay) who was a signatory to Treaty 11 for the Gwich’in (Loucheux). He spent a good part of his youth at the Kay family fishing camp at Rotten Eye which is located on the Husky Channel just down river from Teetl’it Zheh.
Kenny was most recently the Manager of Corporate Affairs for the global mining company, BHP, in Saskatoon. He worked for BHP for almost 9 years in the roles of Community Manager and Senior Advisor for Aboriginal Economic Development for the Jansen Potash Project in Saskatchewan. Prior to BHP, Kenny worked for De Beers Canada in Yellowknife for almost 7 years in Manager and Superintendent roles for the Snap Lake and Gahcho Kue Diamond Mines. He has been a Director for the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce and Northern Aboriginal Business Association and has also participated on the Indigenous Affairs Committee for the Mining Association of Canada.
Kenny is a member of the Tetlit Gwich’in First Nation (Fort McPherson) and has served on the Gwich’in Settlement Corporation for 4 years between 2016 and 2020 in the roles of Chair and Vice Chair. He holds a Bachelor of Management (Accounting/Finance) from the University of Lethbridge. Kenny currently resides in Inuvik and is married to his wife Tara, has three children – Alexander, Madison and Riley, and is a Jijii (Grandfather) to three grandchildren – Everett, Jonah and Stellan. He enjoys traveling, watching hockey, playing music and golf.