I have been on a lengthy journey of understanding myself and trusting my inner voice. In 2005, I began learning how to craft my career by working from the inside out—learning what made me happy, not just professionally, but personally. I acquired the habit of not applying for positions that had “sexy” titles, but instead looked for positions that matched my interests (e.g., building programs, creating impact/legacy, being strategic, working with people etc.).
Staying spiritually grounded, having great supports in all areas of my life, and trusting myself and my decisions were integral to creating a happy, well-round life and career. I had to ask myself difficult questions: What does an ideal work experience look like for me? How do I create a positive and valuable career? What do I enjoy? What am I willing to compromise?
Then I enrolled in a mentorship program. During this process, I learned to celebrate the things that made me—and continue to make me—special. I gained a better understanding of what I had to offer, and owned and claimed those things—the positives and perceived negatives—such as, my fear of failure and disappointment. Going through this process allowed me to embrace that fear and be motivated by it, instead of letting it keep me from achieving my goals and embracing my passions.
My journey has taught me that my career shouldn’t be based other people’s standards, and that my professional, charitable, and personal worlds can complement each other. Once I understood those two things, everything else fell into place.
Inner work is about finding security in who you are and finding meaning in doing what is most important to you. It means recognizing that you have to know yourself in an authentic way before you can be fulfilled and contribute in a meaningful fashion. Career building is only one part of our journey of self-discovery. Once we know who we are on the inside, we can begin building a balanced and fulfilling career.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
Success requires the following:
• Understanding and accepting yourself
• Listening to understand, instead of listening to respond
• Having a creative and open mindset
• Being confident enough to use your voice
• Being strategic and purposeful
• Knowing your organization’s—and your community’s—goals, and understanding how the work you do supports those goals
• Having passion, fun, patience, and flexibility
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
I’ve had several mentors over the years, some informal and others formal, but all were extremely impactful. They have believed in me and encouraged me in my career aspirations—whether I wanted to apply for a position or create my own opportunity. They’ve all been extremely supportive, and have pushed me toward achieving my dreams.
On Facing Challenges
The biggest challenges I’ve faced were creating my niche, carving out my space, and learning that it was okay to ask questions.
Kimberley’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Get out there! Use your voice, share your story, have conversations, and expand your networks. Also, continue to build on your skills and go after your passions!