Serving on the International Live Events Association (ILEA) Rhode Island Board for six years in a row, being a finalist in the BizBash Event Style Awards and now, serving as President of her ILEA chapter, it’s no doubt Kimberly Doell, CMP, has made her mark on the events industry.
Before launching her career in events, Kim knew the importance of building a strong business foundation. However, she also found ways to begin gaining experience in events and making valuable connections in the industry. Kim shares, “When I first entered college, I was determined to find a way to gain industry experience while pursuing my business degree. I was fortunate to meet Sheila Guay, who is the director of Conferences and Special Events at Bryant University. I landed a work-study job in her office and spent three years assisting with external conferences and internal events, such as Commencement and the annual Women’s Summit. Always ambitious and certainly a bit naïve at the time, I had planned to start my own event company after graduation in the Philadelphia area, where my parents live. However, a full-time position opened up at Bryant and I accepted the job – I like to think the stars aligned on that one.”
After graduating, Kim faced a steep learning curve as she was faced with managing a team not much younger than she was. “Immediately after graduating, I was responsible for managing the eight work-study students in the office, some of whom were only a few months younger than I was. On top of jumping right into the summer conference season, I had to figure out how to manage and lead these students. I learned so much in those first few years about leading, communicating and mentoring. I still stay in contact with some of those former students and I love seeing how successful they have become in the event industry and other sectors!”
One of her first industry connections, Sheila Guay, became Kim’s mentor in the beginning stages of her career. “Sheila played a huge role in shaping my career. I remember being a student and sitting on her office floor flipping through event books and dreaming of all the possibilities. She gave me so many opportunities to learn more about the industry, including taking me to monthly ILEA events. Fast forward and I’ve now been a part of the ILEA Rhode Island Board for over six years and am currently serving as our Chapter President. Throughout my time on the ILEA RI Board I have worked with approximately 35 different board members. So many of these board members have mentored and supported me throughout my career as well.”
Kim and Sheila have accomplished great things together. She explains, “A few years into my career, Sheila and I were finalists in the BizBash Event Style Awards for best use of social media for a conference or event, for our Commencement social media campaign. We were in the final three with Target and Mashable, which was certainly a huge accomplishment.”
Kim’s previous roles have focused heavily on logistics management. In an effort to expand her experience in strategic planning, Kim sought a new role within Harvard Business School. In a few weeks, Kim will start working with the Social Enterprise Initiative at HBS, specifically coordinating their 25th Anniversary events.
So, what has Kim’s biggest success in career been so far? Aside from working at Harvard Business School and earning her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation, Kim believes it’s serving as the President of the ILEA Rhode Island Chapter. She shares, “When I was 19 years old and had just joined the organization as a student, I dreamed that one day I might be President of the RI Chapter. Now going into my seventh term on the Board, I feel accomplished that I made that dream a reality!”
After reflecting on her time in the industry so far, Kim has realized how unpredictable your career path can be. “As a planner, I had a full idea in my head of how my career would play out. It was only after I received my first job offer at Bryant that I realized you can never predict what opportunities will present themselves to you. What I did realize early on though, is that you should say yes to those opportunities and figure out the rest along the way!”
SEI25 Coordinator, Harvard Business School
Kim is an event professional with over six years of experience in higher education at Bryant University and mostly recently, Harvard Business School. She is skilled at managing complex logistics and passionate about making a difference in the world. This desire to make a difference was the catalyst behind her recent transition within Harvard Business School to the Social Enterprise Initiative.
When she’s not at work, you can find Kim on a train between Providence and Boston, or at home, with a book in-hand. Her recent favorites are, “The Power of Moments” and “How Will You Measure Your Life?”. Kim dreams of having a cozy library in her home one day. One of Kim’s favorite quotes is from Bill Nye, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t,” and she tries to live every day with that in mind.