3 things that might surprise you about the Howard County library president

For Howard Magazine

Tonya Kennon, 47, took the helm of the county’s six public libraries in April, leaving behind her job as library director in her hometown of Riverside, Calif., to move to Columbia. Here, Kennon shares three little-known facts about her life.

She has 60 trophies and medals. Kennon started running track and field at age 6 for the Lightning Bolts travel team. Her specialty was short-distance sprints of 400 meters or less. She also belonged to a dancing drill team called the Roadrunners and won a hula hoop contest in her late 20s “on a whim and a dare.” She still runs for personal enjoyment and notes that she doesn’t need any cajoling to get out onto the dance floor.

Tea, candles and flowers are her power trifecta. Kennon says she’s a firm believer in this trio’s impact on her management style. She prefers black tea in the morning for its caffeine boost and soothing chamomile in the evenings; she even carries tea in her purse. Lavender and vanilla are her top candle scents for their calming qualities, and her fiancé frequently sends fresh flowers of all varieties to adorn her office.

She might not look it, but she’s a big eater. She loves to cook and throw dinner parties, and she craves Mexican and Southern cooking. The portion size she’s capable of consuming surprises most people since she’s trim, she says. Does she have one of those weight gain-defying metabolisms that the rest of us envy? “Absolutely!”

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