Kimberly Whitfield’s business, Kimberly Inspiring Beauty and Strength, is a labor of love and inspired by two of her passions: fitness and helping others build a balance between mind, body and soul. Whitfield is married to her husband, Brian, and has a daughter, Kamryn. Tragedy struck the family in 2003 when Whitfield’s second daughter was stillborn. The loss eventually showed Whitfield that heartache and pain can create opportunities to grow and change. She recently spoke with Greater Lansing Business Monthly on how her promising career as a fitness coach, motivational speaker and health columnist came to fruition.
Tell me about your early days – you spent 20 years working for your family’s business.
It was Kilimanjaro Fashion and Jewelry. It was an import store. My mom lived in France from 1960-63, and during that time she worked in a PX store; she had a vision of starting her own store. She did it in 1973 at the age of 33. I was just 3 years old.
What did you do at the business?
Even at the age of 3, my job was to greet you, show you to the dressing room and ask if I could help with anything. I believe today, even at age 81, she (my mom) would still have the store, but there was a massive fire that destroyed the business and those surrounding it.
How did you end up in bank management for a number of years?
I believe watching my mom over the years, I was really inspired and enjoyed working with the public. I got my start at LCC in ’87 and pursued my associate degree and was working as a teller. I continued my education and went into bank management for 10 years. I was good at networking and business development. But, over the years, there was a whisper of “You should just venture out and pursue your own passion and start your own business like your mom did.”
And you did it – Kimberly Inspiring Beauty and Strength has become a reality for you. Tell me about your business.
Basically, my goal is to inspire, motivate and encourage individuals to feel empowered by strengthening their bodies and minds through healthy living: more specifically, inspiring the hearts of women. Oftentimes, we do so much for others, we don’t realize our value. We are amazing people. That’s really what I want to continue to put into the universe.
If someone reached out to you for motivational speaking, what topic(s) would you give them?
The bungee jump. If you want to do something, it’s like a bungee jump. That’s the easiest part. … I also refer to the internal drum. The rhythmic pattern of the heart can change when you are under stress. I want people to know obstacles are only temporary, and with adversity you have to move your body and be patient.
There’s got to be a lot of business competition in the motivational and fitness aspects in what you do. How to you stand out?
I’m not afraid to share my age. I’m not afraid to share my journey. A lot of my characteristics started at a young age. I remember catching a bus at the age of 6. My mom showed me one time; she said, “This will help you,” and I did it.
So, you’ve really been bungee jumping your whole life?
(laughs) Yes, I believe so!
You have the Kueen Warrior Movement. How could a business person use the tools you teach for success in their life and business career?
I believe the movement can help one really relate to persevering through adversity, feeling confident about themselves and creating the best version of themselves. The Kueen Warrior Movement will allow one to feel courageous about themselves and move forward with their journey.
Any advice for someone who is about to bungee jump into a new business or career?
Don’t hesitate. Don’t question yourself. Find your dream zone. Promise yourself that once you bungee jump that you’ll choose two items you can pursue daily to grow your dream. An inspired life is filled with dreams and goals.
For more on Whitfield, visit kwinspires.com.