by Sabie Crowder
Whether you have or have not had the chance to meet CWLI’s new executive director, Kim Shumpert, I invite you to take the time and catch up on the path that lead to our organization.
Kim may be new in her role, but she is not new to her hometown of Chattanooga. A self-professed “Lake Lizard”, she spent summers at her family’s waterfront cabin learning every nook and slew on Chickamauga Lake. Harrison was “home” and, a public school family, Kim graduated from Central High School.
Kim’s mother was an educator, and her father an a teacher who transitioned into law.
“My dad was a first generation college graduate and post-college graduate. Education was a big part of my childhood and our family. There was always an open debate in our household and we were taught how to ask the right questions and converse with curiosity. We’re all lifelong learners.”
Her older brother tragically passed away while she was in 8th grade, and Kim felt the desire on to leave Chattanooga and make her own mark. A short four years later, she graduated from Harding University in Arkansas and majored in public administration, a combination of political science and business. Law school had been on her radar, but she made the decision to go into public service instead. Kim may have not gone into law, but her husband did become a lawyer after working in ministry.
“I always said I wouldn’t marry a lawyer or a minister, and he turned out to be both!” Kim laughs.
The couple first made their home in Jonesboro, AR, his hometown, then Little Rock for law school, and back to Jonesboro. If you’re keeping up, that’s Jonesboro → Little Rock → Jonesboro within 15 years.
Back to Chattanooga
Kim and her husband visited Chattanooga for Central High School’s 20th class reunion in 2015.
“I was shocked to see what my hometown had become. Southside had exploded, but the Flying Squirrel was the tipping point. I thought, ‘if this awesome, hip place can thrive here, we should give it a hard look.”
The Shumpert’s moved to Signal Mountain in 2016 and have made their home here with daughters attending Signal Mountain Middle High School, one entering 6th grade and one entering 9th.
“There are so many resources and activities; we never get bored. The city has been restored but maintains a family and nostalgic feel.”
The Path to CWLI
Kim’s first role as an executive director was with Paces, a non-profit working to teach teen parents how to best care for their newborns and toddlers. When she and her husband moved to Little Rock for Brad to attend law school, Kim worked at a K-12 non-profit charter school where she took on every role imaginable, including running an enrichment-based aftercare.
“I gained so much there. I learned how people learned, how to talk to board members and the community, which has served me in each of my roles since.”
Her second executive director role was at City Youth when they returned to Jonesboro. City Youth is a a faith-based non-profit serving 500 K-12 students. Kim’s most recent position was Director of Development at Bethel Bible Village where she was involved in overhauling the development programs, strategic and organizational planning, creating relationships in community organizations, including CWLI and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
“All of my roles have really honed into my passion to empower women and children. I want to help them find their voice to reach their fullest potential.”
Shumpert interviewed with the executive director search committee in March, and officially joined the CWLI team on May 1, 2018.
The Future of CWLI
Kim is passionate about strengthening women’s positions in the community, and looks forward to building a solid foundation and meeting members where they are.
With over a dozen committees, countless events, and over 600 members, there is no question CWLI is moving and growing at a fast pace. But Kim points out an opportunity in the depth of our offerings rather than the number.
She sees CWLI’s role in the community as two-fold:
- Empowerment: Includes advocating and educating the community and local businesses
- Equipping: Preparing and educating women, overcoming cultural bounds, bring in topic experts
Kim wants CWLI to meet you wherever you are in your career. As you move through the beginning, middle and advanced stages, she wants there to be relevant and challenging opportunities at every step.
“We want to gather women based not on their age or industry, but on their stage in career. There are different messages and goals at each of these stages, so targeting and focusing on the stages will allow us to serve women with exactly what they need.”
A huge proponent of a flexible, full-time work schedule, Kim credits MomSource Network with advocating for women and families in the workplace, and placing her with her first role in Chattanooga.
“I look forward to modeling what a successful, flexible work schedule can look like. The workplace is moving toward more project-based work and time is a high commodity for individuals juggling competing responsibilities.”
In Shumpert’s short time as Executive Director, she has gotten countless ideas and feedback from members. There is no doubt we are moving in the right direction and surely I’m not alone in sharing my excitement for the future of our powerful organization.
To learn more about Kim in her own words, click here.