Creating a life of purpose and commitment
Kimberly Clark has run the Great Wall of China half marathon. She’s pursued volunteerism in South America and explored ice caves in Iceland. She’s even competed in national-level pageants and advocated for women to seek out opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
In other words, she lives with passion both in her personal life and in her professional one. And, whether at work or at home, she has always pushed herself to try new things while creating a life of purpose and commitment.
At the root of it all has been one guiding force: Curiosity.
“I’ve always had a fascination with how things work,” Kimberly said. This led to an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering technology in Chicago and then to a master’s degree in information management from Arizona State University, culminating in a position with a top consulting firm.
But something was missing. So she quit her job and moved to Ecuador to volunteer.
“It was important to me to do good in the world, and I also wanted time to write the next great novel,” Kimberly said. “But life worked out differently. After a few years, I decided to move back home to Chicago. I eventually ended up in Phoenix and landed a job at Charles Schwab as a contractor.”
“When you start connecting the dots with young women, they start to realize STEM is everywhere. They learn to understand that technology is so involved in so many of the things that are part of their everyday lives. And I get to bring that passion to work too."
After working in that role for a while, Kimberly became a full-time employee. In Schwab, she found what she had been looking for in her previous roles. “What first attracted me to Schwab is the firm’s commitment to volunteerism and the community, and what’s kept me here is the culture and people,” she said
The financial services firm’s breadth of roles in a wide range of disciplines also caught her eye. “There are so many opportunities here,” she said. “Leadership listens to ideas. You can reinvent yourself at Schwab.”
In that spirit, Kimberly recently moved to Schwab Technology Services to help stand up a new organization focusing on technology governance and control analytics. The STS team’s support spans every enterprise at Schwab, where they work to provide innovative, world-class solutions for clients.
This blend of people, process and technology has been a perfect fit — one that has bled over into her personal life, as well. Outside of work, she uses her passion for these areas to educate and inspire other women, in a rather unexpected way.
“In the pageant system, they have an adult category,” she said, referring to her participation over the years in pageants, where participants compete on their personalities, talents and public speaking abilities, among other areas. “In my first pageant, I failed miserably, but I had so much fun. A few years passed and I decided to try again and be unapologetically myself. In 2017, I won Ms. Woman Arizona. I went to the national competition and placed in the top five. I had so much support from Schwab and from my colleagues, it really made the experience special.”
As part of her pageant work, Kimberly developed a platform she remains dedicated to. It focuses on women in technology and STEM careers. Recently, she partnered with the Arizona Science Center to host an event for elementary-age girls called Rock With Us. The event consisted of an expert panel and the chance for kids to participate in hands-on projects.
This passion also has led to her being profiled in industry magazines, including most recently in the fall 2019 issue of STEM Workforce Diversity — the publication’s 25th anniversary edition.
“When you start connecting the dots with young women, they start to realize STEM is everywhere,” she said. “They learn to understand that technology is so involved in so many of the things that are part of their everyday lives. And I get to bring that passion to work, too.”