Kimberly Reed: On Resilience

Kimberly_Reed_2020_at_table_44
© 

Kimberly Reed was the first woman Chairman, President, and CEO of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) where she worked helping companies to succeed in the competitive global marketplace. She is an alumna of the 2001 Young Leaders Conference and member of the American Swiss Foundation's Board of Directors.

When I was very young, my grandmother called me “Kim-Can!” Through these simple words, she was indirectly telling me—and, deep down, I eventually knew—you can do anything, no matter what the obstacle, if you are focused and determined. If you fall, you can get back up to achieve the task at hand. It just takes resilience.

Over the years, I have taken resilience to a new level by forcing myself out of my comfort zone to do immensely challenging things to stretch and grow. This effort can lead to transformational life moments, but also situations where you might emphatically be told: “this is not possible;” “this will never happen;” or “this is too ambitious.” If you give it your all, sometimes you will succeed, sometimes not. Regardless, you will always grow and, as a result, expand your horizons.

A high-level Swiss leader once said to me: “une main de fer dans un gant de velours—you have an iron hand in a velvet glove.” I responded: “No, I’m from West Virginia, which was settled by the Swiss. Our symbol is the Mountaineer. I am a Mountaineer.” Through strength, courage, and determination, Mountaineers persevere and succeed. Resilience.

Back