SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
Meet Trailblazer Sheri Matthews Kimmel
To accept or not accept. That was the question I asked myself. Thank you Lauren for thinking of me, she’s doing her own unique things. I thought,
Everyone gets asked to do this
That was my first thought. I know right. On a walk that evening, I told Kate about the interview inquiry- thing. She agreed, “Oh yep, I got that email too.”. See, I was right. Though she is a rock star, doing her own things, run coaching, has a lifestyle blog, inspires others (and me) by the ways she sees the world and shows up in real life. You know her as @socalrunnergal. To me, it’s Kate. Always up to meeting great people type of Kate-things. We run together over the years, and I sort of feel like a big-sister ish at times, maybe being older, bust mostly see her grow and do incredible deserved things, but now we are not-just-running friends. Long story short, she got it too.
Anyway, it got me thinking, about my answers to the questions asked by San Diego Voyager Magazine. Maybe, just maybe, it would resonate with someone or my three friends who actually read my way-to-long answers. Either way.
Here it is in full Q & A if you are interested to know what they asked, and why I deleted the answers and started over.
Sheri, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The truth is, I answered these questions, then deleted it all. Every answer. Who am I to be answering questions about “trail blazing”. I wanted to think about it and I suppose I recall the time my now husband said to me in 2013 as I quit my job, at one company “you can’t just create your own position”. That was it, and exactly what I was going to do, and did (not overnight) take what I had learned, my resources and connections along the way, and share with many companies who desire to add value to their employees lives. Thank you, Jason. Smart guy, right? I can think of a lot of people I would suggest you interview before myself – so maybe my little niche will help a reader in some way.
How did I start? – small. I really believed in myself first, and I think it starts there, be crazy enough to think it’s possible. “Impossible becomes I’m possible.” I did things I loved, and I shared. I invited people, I gave my time, I volunteered doing things in my field, without expectation of a return. I aligned myself with people and things I believed in, and who believe in me when I have doubts.
No matter what job, (politics, HR, Accounting) I collected and kept good people and maintained relationships. The people you meet, help you along the way, and vice versa, that’s what it all about. They became part of a story. Maybe I volunteered with a nonprofit or lead a group back in the day, now I can share those opportunities with large companies. I did things like goal setting for a small group of 50, but those people all work somewhere locally, so now, I do it for 200 of their colleagues. Start small. But as each day goes by.
In a nutshell, you can look back at the twists and turns and be grateful. I checked off the cookie cutter milestones highschool, college at USD as a work-study scholarship student, then at 21 my first “job” and each manager or boss I had, either inspired me or taught me how I was going to lead differently – so everyone and everything provided lessons. I have a lot of respect for people in HR or any business role, and thankfully am able to help those people in my role now. It helps me relate. If someone goes home from work and says to a friend or spouse, “guess what my work is doing for me – standing desk, or their matching our volunteer hours with vacation…” then, I did my behind the scenes job well.
It has been anything but smooth, but really those hardest, even darkest moments of doubt, even failure as we define it, really were ways to change my course to get me into wellness consulting. It’s my larger goal to have San Diego, not silicon valley, at all size companies, leading wellness.
I joined groups of found people inspiring, I volunteered, I invested time in my own personal growth and I attacked that I suppose, so anyone in my path, past, present, and future, is a mirror of me. I look at the people in my life and think “wow – jackpot”. If you look around and are not inspired, kindly find some new ones. Invest in education, training, and skills that no one can take from you, learning is powerful, and then you have more to offer anyone in your world.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
If it were smooth I’d still be in the same assistant job I had 21, stressed, tired, even cried when I messed up a white house invitation, (it’s almost funny now) but no one wants to be exactly where they are now next year. I was once a young woman, and to some, I am a young woman, so any advice, hmmm… I’ll share advice I was given by an amazing woman if my life and she said “not every flower is for your garden, and every garden needs manure” when I have received some pretty personally harsh feedback, that was probably right. Awesome – it made room for more of my kind of flowers.
My advice – that everyone will give you advice, for you to relate, learn from their path but you are unique so you can only apply other people’s experiences to your own. Seek it out from people you admire, but tell them why you are asking. Then, go live it. I’d go out with friends less, I’d spend less money on things that don’t matter, and I’d learn more. I’d more say have people you admire, respect them, see what they do, say, how they live, and then do you – no one can be another me, I can’t be another Oprah. Right? Really though, “do” show up, make it happen, work for it, try it, fail, learn, be someone who gets asked for advice later, but no one wants a “know it all”, then just listen, ask questions. If you are a lucky enough to have thought of what it is you’d always wanted to do, or place to go, but have not, that’s even further along than folks who have no idea “what am I doing here?”. I hope you pursue it, if anything, makes life interesting, and boy is it short! I ran into a lifelong friend recently, and she is 6 stars out of 5, and I think she’d be doing a disservice to her own purpose and legacy to play small. She has a gift. Want to know a secret? We all do.
Even this question posed “what advice you could give a young woman”, puts women in a group of their own, so if we want to be on an even playing field, I make the question “what advice would you give a younger person starting their career?” I just gave the book “The Confidence Code For Women” by Katty Kay to some of best girlfriends and some of my goal coaching clients, so again, while some of the advice pertains to anyone in business, much is directed to women. I hope one day the sequel reads “The Confidence Code For Career People”.
Whether 21 finishing college, excited to find a “job” or 66 and transitioning or thinking of a new role or field, your major does not matter, the field you’ve been in for 10 years does not matter, but what does matter is who you are, how you show up, what you have learned from wherever you started.
Sorry. Don’t be sorry. Unless you have been hurtful, out of line, or genuinely need to apologize, then use the word “sorry” and apologize. By starting a conversation, an email, even a text with “sorry…” and then whatever follows it. For example, “hey Sheri, so sorry this is later than expected, I know you have a lot going on…” You’ve already devalued yourself, and it breaks my heart how much I hear, or see this. I’m sure I have done it. Or “hey sorry, I was with a client or in a meeting or building homes in Syria”. Don’t’ be sorry, that’s awesome! I want to know you’re adding value to whatever you’re doing, not have you apologize.
Instead of sorry, valuing your worth with something like “Thank you for your time, Sheri… ”. Or “I am excited about the potential to collaborate, thank you for patience as I had prior commitments to fulfill.” You get it, be genuine, but not sorry for having an idea, option, email or something amazing to add.
While we are on advice…
Get AAA. (Triple A car service) I can’t tell you to have many times they’ve fixed a tire, jumped my car, man in my life or not, I still call AAA. Best $40 I spend all year. The tow truck guys become your saving grace.
Oh yes, one more – wear a hat, wear sunscreen. You’ll thank me later. I can’t believe I used tanning beds back in the day. Talk about priorities out in left field.
Notice how most people’s advice, comes from their own journey? It’s personal, everyone has a story so life is your chance to right yours, I’m only 1/3 in!
Sorry not sorry, yes I have AAA, the people who I give time and where spend it, are very intentional, and my hat game is strong, I have at least 4 in my car at all times, because if you forget, I got you (and your beautiful face) covered.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sheri Wellness Consulting – what should we know?
I get up so excited each day, to make sure YOU like going to work too! In an organic nutshell – I consult with many of San Diego’s (and beyond), healthiest, happiest workplaces to ensure their employees thrive from being at work.
As a Corporate Wellness Consultant, I ensure that companies are doing their part to better the lives of their biggest asset: employees. From fun to health, to environments, it’s never boring.
As a speaker, I facilitate topics that create changes in thinking and behaviors
As a goal coach/ life planner, I help couples, individuals, and groups pause, to make sure their life is on a course they are fulfilled and proud of. , many organizations.
( You can skip to the next question if you’re board – really that’s what I “do”).
I love bringing my relationships with lifestyle brands – so on weekends, you’ll find me volunteering, raising awareness, leading fitbit local with super Mike, or attending an amazing friends passion projects.
In a time when “corporate wellness” is on the rise, and some companies are ahead of the curve, and some are catching on, I have had the opportunity to work with brokers who not only provide health insurance to San Diego companies, but believe in supporting their clients with me as the wellness consultant. Both Willis Towers Watson, in La Jolla, doesn’t just say they support wellness programs, they really do, by allowing me to provide wellness consulting and up to date resources for their clients. It has given me so much experience from law firms, to health care, to hospitality companies. SSA Insurance Services in Carlsbad, also really believed in preventative wellness their clients, even those with less than 100 employees, so it’s wonderful to work with local brokers who allow me to strengthen corporate wellness programming. We recently hosted an educational “wellness” workshop to teach company representatives what’s trending and how to succeed.
What gets me out of bed, is knowing that employees do not have to loathe going to work, and organizations can place that help someones wellbeing, not just earn a paycheck, their mental, spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical well being. Wouldn’t you want to work somewhere who values you? Me too, and I had experienced the “job” that did not. The companies that understand investing in people will have exponential, and sometimes hard to measure, returns, are my best clients!
The things I use to do as a side hustle, now often support large companies and wellness programs that I consult, from healthy vending and apps to fit bits (we started fitbit local in San Diego in 2015 and it’s still going strong), Lululemon put me through goal setting and coaching, that now I can provide at companies, and places I volunteer all over town are looking for organizational help, so I merely introduce them too. So, as your consultant, you might get a 5’ 2” to the blonde woman, but you are about to see how you get an entire plethora of resources in my pocket, and I genuinely feel a purpose by getting to share with companies.
I feel honored to present, not to talk about what I know, but facilate and interact with a group to get them to see what they know. Getting someone who says they have to leave early, so engaged, they stay, and later say they made a life change, that gets me excited. So my communications degree and years of teaching spin and large free fitness group comes in hand in a boardroom or on a panel too.
What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Before she (or he) asked me, I’d want to know what’s most important to them? I sat down with a young USC grad the other day, and instead of her asking my journey, I asked her about what she wants. After all, that’s what she is looking for “what to do”. I think many of us have stayed in roles or taken jobs for the wrong (personal) reasons. So, ask yourself “what’s most important to you?” (not what your parents or anyone else think).
Is it Money? We have to have it. I have had friends making 6 figures out of college – loathe their job, their health suffered, and some loved it.
Is your role or purpose– you found your calling doing XYZ.
Is it the company’s purpose? You have pride in what your company does or provides.
Is it the culture? Google, for example, the job role aside, the office and perks and wellness are a draw!
Location – proximity to where you want to be, the best job ever with a 2-hour commute both ways, may not be an idea.
Role – what is you are doing, are you skilled in it and do you care and enjoy it?
Leadership and Colleagues – is it who you work for and with that is important to you?
Then, what’s most important in your life, for anyone who works. Work is going to take a big chunk of time, but truly is it first on your list of priorities. My daily life starts first and foremost with my health, It’s not negotiable, so I can do everything in my day, my best. Even my marriage, career, it’s comes after it. My own list of priorities (5 seem to works for me), it’s one thing to list it, but to live by it, means I get up, walk, do my thing, say no to other things, miss things for yoga. Non- negotiable. I will be a better consultant because of it. I will be kind, patient, clear headed. That may not make your list, and that is ok but I define it, and own it.
When I have the pleasure of speaking at companies or to groups, often times, we do that exercise – because someone living their best life is a better employee right?