Securing a foothold at the pinnacle of the business world can be a daunting, and sometimes tedious, process. But now and then, a remarkable individual enters the fray and leaps to the top of the corporate ladder. Kimberly Steimle is just such a person.
After graduating from the College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish, Steimle joined the Boston-based public affairs marketing firm McDermott O’Neill Associates where she oversaw the opening of the company’s Rhode Island office. Two years later, she returned to Boston as the company’s director of operations.
In 2002, Steimle vaulted higher on the corporate ladder when Suffolk Construction hired her as vice president of marketing and business development. At the age of 28 she had the massive responsibility of managing an entire department for a $1 billion company. Her success in this role subsequently led to another promotion to executive vice president, marketing and work acquisition.
The economic crisis that rattled the business world in 2008 presented Steimle an opportunity to shine. She became part of the executive committee charged with repositioning the company.
“How could we take human resources and training and evolve it to a higher level? We wanted to enhance learning, development, and employee services,” she explained. The committee considered hiring an outsider with human resource and training experience for the task, but decided that Steimle, although she had little expertise in these areas, still had the best qualifications: knowledge of the company culture and a connection with employees.
Undaunted by the challenge, she enthusiastically jumped into her new position: chief marketing officer and chief people officer.
“It’s been interesting. I’ve spent a lot of time on job sites, visiting staff in the field, doing assessments to get a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not,” she remarked.
As part of the repositioning strategy, Steimle created a new tagline. “Build Smart” has become Suffolk’s mantra for both employees and clients.
“We maintain our core values, but how we do business has changed,” she said.
While career is important to Steimle, she also recognizes the significance of philanthropic endeavors. She serves on the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and recently co-chaired the organization’s annual dinner that drew more than 600 attendees and raised in excess of $1.4 million. Steimle also belongs to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce executive committee and was actively involved with the Boston Archdiocese 2010 Initiative to enhance educational opportunities for students in Brockton and Dorchester.
Although she’s garnered significant attention for making her way in an industry considered male-dominated, Steimle minimizes the gender issue and advises other females to do the same.
“Try not to focus, worry or capitalize on the that fact that you are a women. I’ve come to realize that there are great networking opportunities in the city. Attach yourself to them, but beyond that, don’t put too much emphasis on your gender,” she says.
Steimle’s long-term career goals focus not on attaining a particular position, but rather on bringing creativity and freshness to the table. And right now she is thrilled with the opportunity to do that.