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Kim Meninger, MBA, BCC

Kim Meninger, MBA, BCC

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hello! My name is Kim Meninger and I'm an executive and leadership development coach. I specialize in helping early career and mid-level women to build their confidence, visibility and influence and advance to higher levels of leadership. Having spent most of my career in the high-tech industry, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities facing women in traditionally male-dominated environments. I'm passionate about helping women address internal and external obstacles to achieve their definitions of success.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I am an Ellevate member because I appreciate the organization's efforts to empower and support women. My favorite experience as a member has been participating in my recent Ellevate Squad. I’ve participated in a few squads but the most recent squad was the most rewarding. I am so grateful to have been connected with such a great group of women! We’ve already committed to staying connected into 2019.

How would you define your professional mission?

My professional mission is to help women develop the confidence and leadership competencies they need to advance to positions of greater impact and influence. As we all know, there are complex, systemic factors that make it difficult for women to reach the highest levels of leadership. I'm grateful to those who are working to break down these barriers and level the playing field. My focus is on empowering women to address the internal obstacles that often get in our way, such as limiting beliefs, reluctance to engage in self-promotion, ineffective networks, etc.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I studied psychology as an undergrad and always believed that I would become a clinical psychologist. When the time came to apply to Ph.D. programs, however, I wasn't ready to return to school full-time. Instead, I took a position at a high-tech company that involved supporting external partnerships. I knew nothing about business or technology but I brought with me a keen understanding of people. My psychology background helped me to influence without authority, build powerful relationships and navigate complex political environments. These skills allowed me to advance my career very quickly.

During this time, I had an opportunity to create and lead an entirely new functional group within the sales organization. I absolutely loved leading a team of individuals with different styles and strengths. It was very important to me to give them personalized opportunities to utilize their unique talents and develop as confident leaders. Each of my team members was later promoted to positions of greater responsibility. It was during this time that I also completed an MBA with a concentration in organizational leadership.

Throughout my career, I observed that many people were promoted to leadership positions without any preparation or support. Many were excellent individual contributors but were not skilled in leading others. Because they were accustomed to being high performers, they were often reluctant to ask for help. As they suffered in silence, their teams struggled, leading to an unfortunate ripple effect.

When I decided to leave my corporate career after my older son was born, I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted to do next. After much soul searching, I realized that executive coaching was a perfect intersection between my psychology background and corporate experience. It has been a great opportunity for me to leverage my personal experience to help others become more confident and effective leaders. In the last couple of years, I've decided to focus more fully on helping women in traditionally male-dominated environments to advance to higher-level roles.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

There are many rewarding aspects to my job but the most rewarding is watching my clients overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Their willingness to take risks and step outside of their comfort zones inspires me every day. I feel so grateful to partner with them on their journeys to greater career success and satisfaction.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

My hope is that the women I coach will continue to advance to the highest levels of leadership within their organizations and that they will use their influence to support other women in advancing to bigger roles. I am so inspired by the increase in women supporting other women. I am grateful to play a role in that effort.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

When I was in a corporate role, I never imagined that I would one day become an entrepreneur. I never thought about packaging my unique skills and strengths into a service that I could offer to the world. But having spent over 7 years growing my business, I've realized more and more what an ideal fit it is for me. I could never effectively coach and support women without the first-hand experience I gained in my previous roles. And I've been able to grow and develop my business through the sales and marketing experience I developed in those same roles. Many coaches struggle with the business development aspects of their business but those have come very naturally to me as a result of my corporate experience. I feel very grateful to have a role that brings so many pieces of my background together.

What is your favorite social media site? Why?

LinkedIn is my absolute favorite social media site. I was an early adopter of LinkedIn, having joined back in 2005. Since then, I've used it as a "virtual rolodex" of everyone I've met since. My LinkedIn network comprises over 3000 people from every part of my life, making it incredibly easy to stay connected.

Building relationships is a big part of who I am. I pride myself on my network, as well as my ability to connect others. LinkedIn has made it so much more efficient to manage my current relationships and continue to expand my network.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

My personal superpower is relationship building. As a child, I moved every 2 years, so I learned very quickly how to adapt to new environments and meet new people. I have a natural curiosity about people, so I love hearing different people’s stories. That served me well in my relationship management roles where my primary responsibility was to maximize relationships between my company and third-party businesses. These skills also gave me the confidence to initiate relationships with powerful influencers, which helped me to advance my career very quickly.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

When I was working in the high-tech industry, I struggled a lot with Impostor Syndrome. Because I lacked a technical background, I worried that I didn't belong in my role and was convinced that I would be exposed as a fraud. I even began to think about going back to school for engineering.

At one point, I used my relationship building "superpower" to reach out to the executive vice president in charge of all of engineering to ask for his advice. I asked if he thought I should go back to school for an engineering degree. His advice has stuck with me ever since. He said, "If you want to go back to school, go get an MBA but don't get an engineering degree. This company is full of technical people. If you need more technical support, bring a technical person into the room with you. You don't have to know everything. You just need to know who knows what you don’t know." A tremendous amount of pressure was lifted from my shoulders after that conversation. From that point forward, I focused on doing what I did well and leveraging my resources where I wasn't as strong.

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