I am admired for a fearless approach to life, a thirst for adventure and my relentless determination.
Why do you believe honoring achievement is important?
Honoring achievement is important to me because it motivates others to be better every day. As someone who enjoys mentoring others, I find great pride in sharing my time and knowledge with others. From my own experience, I know the value of having someone to look up to and encouraging an attitude of aspiration. Through many years of hard work and dedication to personal and team development, I have had the honor of changing corporate culture, which resulted in high-performing and satisfied teams. Understanding how people like to receive recognition and showing it that way makes the recognition much more valuable.
There is a significant positive impact on our business community by simply taking the time to recognize achievements and accomplishments, and giving credit when due. Doing so builds an individual’s confidence, overall team morale, and helps them see that they can be more, do better and make an impact on their own community. As someone who worked her way up from an entry-level job to now being the president of a real estate and development company, I hope that I can be an inspiration to those who want to advance not only their careers but also their lives.
What insights have you gained in your career that would inspire others?
Reflecting to a career memory, as a young professional woman in the construction and facilities industry, I was tasked with leading an all-male team of technicians. It was intimidating to be a leader in a male-dominated industry, and the growth that I experienced from this discomfort has been astounding.
After attending my first out-of-town conference, my boss asked me, “How did it feel to be one of the only female attendees there? Did you actually find it valuable to attend the seminars?” Prior to those questions, I did not consciously feel “out of place” as a female in a male-dominated industry. As I look back all these years later, I recognize that there was an unconscious level of discomfort that may have negatively impacted my confidence based on my leader’s comments.
However, I continued to dedicate myself, build a reputation as a leader, and work harder than most. When peers began asking for my advice, input and guidance, it opened my eyes and made it evident that I had earned my seat at the “boys” table. This was a very important lesson in my early career that allowed me to recognize the unconscious bias from others and to let go of my own limiting beliefs. I wonder if my approach would have been different if those thoughts of doubt had not been placed in my head. It’s also a strong reminder that words matter.
What can we do — now — to make a difference for young people/women in Arizona?
We can make a difference for young people and women in Arizona by continuing to push the limits and break the “glass ceiling.” As a woman, it is critical to “hold the door open” for young women who will follow in your foot steps by recognizing milestones, providing opportunities for growth, and pushing them outside their comfort zone — and, further, by reminding them that it doesn’t happen by chance or overnight but that it takes a lot of drive, personal development, advocating for yourself and networking to achieve a reputable career.
I plan to continue to provide rich mentorship opportunities and encourage the people around me to be better every day. I place a high importance on providing my team with opportunities to develop themselves, learn new things, participate, share ideas, and lead meetings or conversations.
Creating a culture that embraces participation, learning and asking questions and that feels rewarding can make a lasting impact on young leaders — showing them that it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming and scary, but that they should just take the first step and keep moving forward. Diversifying the workplace with young adults, women, culture and industry veterans encourages everyone to dream big and work hard.
Kim Ryder is an enterprise leader who manages various top-producing teams, cultivates client relationships across the country and specializes in strategic visioning and planning. She serves as western division retail chair for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Ryder has started several business lines in her career, most notably launching Thrive Real Estate & Development groups.
She is an expert in thrift real estate and led her team to expand the Goodwill real estate portfolio by more than 100 locations. She has a track record of managing multi-million-dollar projects and the buildout of more than 4 million square feet of retail and commercial space.
In Few Words
- What was the last course, certification or training you took to improve yourself professionally? Culture Index, two-day training on personality analytics
- What would you say is a single characteristic OTHERS might attribute to you that defines your success? Grit
- What is the one thing you feel you could work on professionally to be a greater success? Empathy
- What is the one professional skill you have that has gotten you where you are today? Intuition
- What is the single greatest issue facing Arizona today? The workforce shortage across all industries and all communities is alarming and having a compounding effect that will cause years of consequences.