Meet Kimberly Neal

Kimberly Neal, JD

Age: 36

Lives in: Catonsville

Child: Caleb, age 4

Job title: President, TranZed Apprenticeship Ventures,
a Children’s Guild affiliate partnering with an apprenticeship provider from the United Kingdom to deliver Maryland’s first apprenticeships in nontraditional occupations (IT, digital and social media, cyber security). Formerly, she was a practicing attorney.

BC: You recently made a significant career transition from practicing attorney to president of an innovative company that plans to revolutionize the United State’s  approach to apprenticeships. How did that come about?

KN: It found me. It was definitely a feeling of serendipity. As a mother, I was looking at the type of role model I wanted to be, and as a professional, I was considering how I could use my talents to make the most impact. I wasn’t convinced that ten years from now I would reach those goals if I continued on the career path I was on. I also realized that my greatest strengths, advocacy and business development, could translate into many other opportunities.

BC: You mention that your decision to change careers was inspired in part by considering your role as a mother. How else has becoming a mother affected your career?

KN: I think it’s mostly been positive. You don’t get to turn off. When you’re done with your workday, you’re not done with your day. But I’ve increased my focus, and what I’m passionate about.

BC: How has your career affected your son?

KN: He doesn’t know anything different. He’s been in child care since he was 12 weeks old. He’s very good with other people; not so clingy. He understands that Mommy and Daddy go to work, and he asks us questions about it and sees us as equals. Hopefully, as he gets older, he’ll respect what we do. Right now, he likes that I dress up every day. He likes that I wear pearls and heels.

BC: What does a typical morning at your house look like?

KN: I’m a morning person. I’m the first person up. I either go on a run or go to the gym, then I come home and pack my son’s school bag, wake him up and remind my husband that he needs to get out of bed. My husband takes our son to school. We’re out the door by 7:45 am, and I’m not going to come to work without my makeup on. So I’m up early and moving quickly to get it all done.

BC: What’s the most challenging part of the day in your household, and how do you manage it?

KN: Evenings. I pick up Caleb by 6 pm. By the time I try to put dinner together—and I don’t like to cook—to engage with him and start the bath time routine at 7:30 pm, I’m tired. I manage this by putting away the cell phone and devoting the few evening hours to family time.

BC: Who do you lean on for support, and how?

KN: My husband, first and foremost. He’s absolutely
50-50 if not 70-30 at times. He’s an attorney too, and because we’re both lawyers we both understand each other’s career demands. We calendar the wazoo out of our lives. My husband is extremely supportive, and he always listens. I’m high strung and high energy, and he’s calming. I also lean on my mom and some really good girlfriends.

BC: “Balance” is a popular, if elusive, buzzword. Since you’ve become a mom, what are some of the things you’ve shed, and others you’ve fiercely protected, to maintain some equilibrium in your life?

KN: I haven’t shed anything, but I don’t really strive for balance. Priority one day is not necessarily the priority the following day. I fiercely protect time to work out. I also definitely protect some girl time. It might just be every few weeks—a glass of wine with friends after Caleb goes to bed. Recently, I’ve also made time for church: I joined the choir. On Thursday evenings I have practice; Sunday mornings I sing in the choir.

BC: A colleague is having her first baby. What’s your best piece of advice for her?

KN: Listen to yourself, and your own body; there is no one-size-fits-all secret to motherhood. Plan ahead as much as you can. Make time for yourself. You’ll just feel better, and then the time you do have with your child is quality time. BC

 

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