Kimberly Leon (Kim) lives in Fourt Lauderdale, Florida. However, her heart belongs to New York. She has distinguished herself through his work in the Media and Lifestyle industry as a Managing Director at South Florida Business and Wealth magazine. Her strength lies in building meaningful connections and her passion for charity and contributing to a better world.
Kim started her journey as an executive admin. She has an encouraging story about her evolution in her career, but also, she has a lovely soul and a good energy that loves contributing to charity and believes diversity is important to contribute to a better world. “I work a lot with kids, grade school kids. We talk about empowerment, self-confidence, financial literacy, and what it means to be a “boss”. Being a boss is about being you and true to yourself, I love being able to share those kinds of ideas with kids and teaching them self-confidence. I think right now the two or three generations below me are lacking that, they are on their phones all the time. So, if I can change or help one kid that will make a difference for me” Kim said inspiring and encouragingly. She also talked about diversity and shared with us all about the “Diversity and Inclusion Awards”, a huge initiative that she helped to implement at South Florida Business and Wealth.
First, we would like to get to know you. Who is Kimberly and what is your story?
I am from Brooklyn, New York, I moved to South Florida just under two years ago. I moved here for my job, so… I did not know a single person here, I did not know what I was doing, I did not even have a home… I started living in a hotel for six months when I first moved here. My husband still lives in New York, that is why I go back every week, I also have two dogs and two cats, and they are still in New York, so it is literally just me out here.
In terms of my career, I have been in publishing and advertising 25 years, and… What I do is I live my life by two ways, someone have asked me “Kim, do you consider yourself an influencer?” and I said “I absolutely no, so I want you to look at this word and what does it mean” I said, “you can be an influencer without integrity”, but that is my number one goal, everything I do, I bring integrity, authenticity and values so I do that in my personal life and my professional life so every connection I make, every friend I make, every person I talk to, I bring my best self and then I hope in return the same, my father taught me values about being your true-self and that is kind of who I am.
How did you get interested in the Lifestyle and Media industry?
I have been in advertising for 25 years but I was an executive admin and my boss at this time, who is still my mentor, and he came up to me one day and said “Kim, you are the worst admin I ever had” and I look to him and I said “ I do not disagree, I am pretty terrible at this job” but he was such a good boss to me and said “ I know what your attributes are and know what your good at so I am going to move you to a role where you can expand it so you can be a better employee” and I was like “Awesome” so… I got move into a sales role, he is still my mentor to this day, and I still look up to him and give him things for leading me around that path. I was so grateful to him for seeing the positive side and I think it was not a bad situation.
Can you tell us about your role as Managing Director for South Florida Business & Wealth/Lifestyle Media?
I run South Florida Business & Wealth for a business publication, we have 70000 readers per month delivered directly to corporations. I run the digital platform as well and we have a full-service events platform, so we are actually bringing out people together and I run out this as well, but I am also in sales… Right? So is about making connections, building relationships, getting our word out and making money for our company. So, I wear many hats but all the hats I think intertwine.
Can you tell us about the Diversity and Inclusion awards at SFBW?
I am glad you ask me about that, this is going to be our second year in june 14th and we started last year, I approached my former CEO and I said to him “Gary, we need to do a diversity and inclusion awards” and he was “What is that mean?” so I said “You have to take a look at DEI Initiatives and what that means for corporations. Does it mean that they believe in diversity? Does it mean that… you are woman, I am a woman…. and have we been paid equally as a man?” And I came up to one equal conclusion: Diversity is needed. It is not something that we can expect it, it is something that we must do.
So when I take a look at diversity and inclusion, this means you are a women, I am a women, he is a man, you are black, white, yellow, it does not matter what color you are, it does not matter your race or religion, it does not matter if you have a degree or you do not have a degree but if you are making your difference in your company, if you are making a difference in your community, if you have all of this achievements and you are bringing positive reinforcement in DEI to your companies we are going to recognize you. It does not matter who you are as long as you are contributing to a better place.
What kind of companies have contributed to this initiative?
When I looked at DEI and all the recipients, last year I said “Ok, we got some major corporations in here that love these initiatives and would love to be part of it” And… We really did have some fortune 500 companies in there that were very excited. So, when we talk about the award ceremony… for first year award ceremony we were close to five hundred people and that is a lot of people for a one–three-hour ceremony. It was lots of fun and everybody was very excited, so we are doing the same thing this year and it is going to be bigger, it is going to be better. We are looking to honor those top representatives in south Florida… For this award ceremony, you must be an employee of a particular company or charity and you go to a process; last year we had 400 nominations, and we came up with 50 honorees total and is going to be the same process this year.
Can you share any specific challenges you’ve faced in your role, and how you overcame them?
Well… Keep in mind, when I came here under two years ago, I was brand new to South Florida. I did not know anybody here into Miami, I came here a hundred times for vacation but did not have any friends here, so my biggest challenge was coming here, and it was getting out there and putting myself out there and going to networking events, talking to people and all the people next to me making and building these relationships that were meaningful and I am still doing it right now to be part of the community.
How do you stay up to date with industry trends and changes, and incorporate them into the company’s strategy?
I read a lot, of course, we are a magazine… So firstly, I read my own magazine but secondly, I read a lot to our competitors. I do not watch a lot of news because I feel it is negative most of the time, right? But I love to see what is going on, I like to read trend reports, what is happening in fashion, in finance or marketing. I like to follow those things and then, obviously, follow experts…. I have a philosophy “If I walk into a room and I am the smartest person in the room, I am going to leave the room because I am not going to learn anything” I feel there is 8 billion people that are smartest than me and I am going to ask them their opinions to build my own opinion