Columbus Women in Business: 5 Steps to Success
“What do you want to do now?
Go back to college, but I can’t do that.
School takes time and money. I have neither.
Well, you just might try it. You just might try to find a way.”
Kimber Perfect’s career began in 1984, the day she packed her life into her car and left the rest behind. She left her job at a family business. She left her husband, and high school sweetheart, of 12 years. She took her kids and her car, and left everything else she had ever known.
Less than one week later, she was a registered journalism student at The Ohio State University. Kimber sold her beloved car to pay for her tuition. While raising her two young children, Kimber attended her college classes year-round and worked three part-time jobs to support her family. As a sophomore in high school, Kimber’s counselor said that she wasn’t “college material,” and at 32 years old, she proved him wrong.
Now Kimber is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications at the office of Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. Having previously worked for two Ohio governors—Celeste and Strickland—Kimber loves working in public service to improve Columbus, where she raised her children, went to college, and made a better life. She strives to help others do the same.
She has held Vice President positions at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Paul Werth Associates, CAPA, and COSI. Kimber is a well-deserving recipient of the LGBT Allies Award from Equality Ohio and the YWCA Women of Achievement Award from YWCA Columbus.
Kimber offers advice on how she got there.
“Be true to who you are.”
Kimber’s number one piece of advice, which she exemplifies through her own actions. Don’t hold back from the life you feel you’re meant to pursue. If you love it, give it your all.
“Focus on what you can control.”
“Recognize what you can and can’t control. We might find ourselves on a path that we’re unhappy with, but we do have the ability to connect ourselves to the path we want,” Kimber said.
Let go of the things you can’t control. There’s no use spending time and energy trying to change what you know you cannot.
“Build relationships & don’t burn bridges.”
Some think of Kimber as “the woman who knows everyone.” She is a natural networker, and believes that work-related relationships can often double as strong friendships. Kimber’s way of networking is genuine, in a way I could tell before she even mentioned it. “I want to know what’s behind a person’s title.”
“I’m a big believer in being loyal to the absent. You will help others see their best selves, too, by setting that example. Be aware of the bridges you burn and keep, because it affects your professional and personal reputation.”
Connect with and give back to your community.
Kimber’s day-to-day is focused on how she can help better her community and the lives of those around her.
“My public service has always meant the most to me and had the most impact. The opportunity to work in the community that I love—Columbus—is the most fulfilling. I’m especially proud to work with Mayor Ginther and our team to help ensure all of our neighborhoods are succeeding. We want to help everyone climb the ladders of success. When I am really close to our constituents and can see the impact, I feel a sense of purpose.”
“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. None of us get there alone, but other people like to help others who seem strong. If you go through life expecting things from others, you will often be disappointed. I’m grateful for what I have from within to draw from to overcome life’s obstacles.”
Her career and all of her successes have come from working hard, being resilient, and never giving up.
Kimber has found happiness and exhilaration in spending time with her family, pursuing her fulfilling career, traveling with friends, biking, being outside and active, giving back to her community, writing, and hanging out with her four-legged sidekick, Precious the puppy.
Keep an eye out for Kimber’s book, Precious Makes Perfect, which is currently in the works.
You can follow her on Twitter at @kimber_perfect.
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