We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Dudash and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, what’s your definition for success?
In my twenties, I plowed forward head-first following what I thought success should look like. I boldly pursued popularity, profit, position and power. I climbed my way up the ladder quickly, expecting at some point to feel complete and accomplished, but all I felt was exhausted and unfulfilled. After years of doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, I knew I had to take personal responsibility for defining success and discovering my vision.
What I have come to learn is that success is not something to pursue. Things pursued are elusive – like trying to reach the end of the rainbow, it seems to always be just beyond our grasp. Success is not so much in the doing as it is in being. It is about becoming self-aware, suspending the ego, and choosing to become more – more authentic, more empathetic, and more conscious of how I show up in my life everyday both personally and professionally. Success is what I attract by the person I become. For things around me to improve, I must improve. For things to change, I must change. Success is about daily choosing to become the best version of myself so I can lead and influence others effectively.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At Dudash Executive Coaching I work with leaders, challenging them to grow personally and professionally by helping to identify the underlying factors that are holding them back from reaching the next level of growth and achievement. I also work with teams to tailor solutions that identify and address leadership gaps, create breakthroughs, sustainable transformations, and solve key issues to improve effectiveness of the team and drive better business performance.
Dudash Executive Coaching is a lifelong dream in the making. I believed for many years that I was called to do the work I am doing now, but I was afraid to take the leap. Starting my business was not easy. I was a single mom for many years and was afraid to leave what I perceived as the “security” of working for someone else. I finally reached the point where I decided to follow my dream one step at a time – not really knowing where I would wind up at the end. I started by getting my finances in order, then began pursuing the education and certifications I knew I would need. I took on additional responsibilities that gave me the experience I would need. I had no idea if starting my own business would ever come to fruition, but I knew it absolutely wouldn’t happen unless I committed to taking the steps necessary. Breaking through the barriers of my own mindset and limiting beliefs has set the stage to becoming a successful coach for others.
I started my Executive Coaching and Leadership Coaching business out of a true passion to work with people to develop the qualities of successful, inspiring, servant leaders. I educate and encourage them to do the inner work necessary to bring out the best in themselves and those they influence every day. I help leaders discover how they show up in the world and how they are experienced by others and help them close the gap between perception and reality about their leadership style – in their business and in their home. It is fulfilling to help my clients begin living their life on purpose.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live on a beautiful farm in the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, so if you visit me I will show you the time of your life! First of all, you would spend the weekend on our farm where we raise and sell grass-fed beef and pasture raised pork. A breathtaking 33 acre farm out in the middle of Nowhere, Tennessee with a beautiful view of Mt. LeConte. We would sit out on my back porch and enjoy a breakfast of farm fresh eggs and a delicious cup of coffee as we enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
I would take you to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we would hike to Clingman’s Dome where you would be able to see over the splendid mountains of Tennessee AND North Carolina! We would spend the day following smaller trails through the woods and enjoy the sound of the water rushing through the nearby river. I would take you to one of the many local lunch spots in Gatlinburg, TN and we would spend the afternoon exploring the area. We would finish off our evening with an extraordinarily delicious meal at The Appalachian Restaurant in downtown Sevierville where we would enjoy a sophisticated farm-to-table like dinner with cocktails.
The next morning would include waking up early, brewing a cup of coffee and taking it with us to the nearby Douglas Lake where we would take our boat out on the water to enjoy our cup-of-joe in complete solitude as we watch the fog lift from the water.
Not the big city of Atlanta, but spectacular none the less!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people in my life who deserve a shoutout for their mentorship, love, support and encouragement! Specifically though, there are three amazing leaders that have truly inspired me to be the person I am today, and to pursue the work and dedication to my career as a Leadership and Executive Coach.
As a teenager, Ken Bell, former President of The Dollywood Company in Pigeon Forge, TN, was the very first leader to set an example of true servant leadership for me. I worked for the Dollywood Company while in high school and as I prepared to enter college I remember thinking that Ken was the Gold Standard of what I aspired to be as a leader. I wanted (and still do) to be just like him! Ken has since retired, and I am honored that we stay in contact even today. He continues to inspire and encourage me through his strong, yet humble, leadership and mentorship.
Donna Cobble, a very successful and strong business entrepreneur, is another leader who has influenced my life. I had the privilege of working for Donna many years ago when I first entered the workforce after college. She was a very powerful and influential business woman who treated everyone she came into contact with respect and kindness. Like Ken, she is a strong servant leader who showed me that women in leadership can accomplish so much without succumbing to the pressure of trying to be something I’m not while remaining completely authentic.
My biggest SHOUTOUT has to go to my husband, Brian. He is one of the best leaders I know, and he is truly my biggest fan. He inspires me with his support, love and encouragement on a daily basis. He pushes me to take steps (and leaps) I would be afraid to take otherwise. He gives me the space to grow and become the very best version of me. He is my partner, my sounding board, my confidant, my best friend. And, he is always up to trying my hair-brained ideas!