Kimberly Goode ’04

coachkimberlyThis month we check in with Kimberly Goode ’04. Kimberly leads the Seattle Chapter of the Yale Black Alumni Association (YBAA), serves as co-chaplain (with Nancy Cahill ’79) of the Seattle Storm, and is Assistant Director at The First Tee of Greater Seattle, which aims to teach key life skills to kids of all backgrounds through the game of golf. Here, Kimberly shares her experience with spirituality, being vs. doing, and other aspects of life after Yale.

Click here to meet other local alumni who’ve contributed to our series.

1. Describe your latest big endeavor, and what compelled you to start it.

A few years ago, I committed to write at least one thing I am thankful for every day with the goal of reaching 1,000 moments of thanks. Often times we are compelled to pursue goals that will impress others when, in reality, true success is living in a way that genuinely inspires yourself. Three years after I began, I can now flip through the pages of my journal and remember 1,012 ( and counting) moments of gratitude. It is one of my most treasured possessions. That journal is now my answer to the question “If your house was on fire, what would you grab first?” Life can pass so quickly but that journal is a place where my blessings stand still.

2. What might your mission statement be, if you had one?

Empowering women is my ” true north.” We are created infinitely creative and it has been fun to explore the many facets of my personal mission. I have facilitated women’s writing groups and led Women’s Ministry at my church. One of the more unique ways I have walked out this mission is as a Girls Golf Coach at The First Tee of Greater Seattle, a nonprofit that uses the game of golf to teach kids key life skills and core values. Through The First Tee,  I have the opportunity to transform the golf course into a classroom for young girls to  grasp the power of values like integrity, confidence, and perseverance and the importance of having a “personal par”. The more young women we can empower to find beauty in their own character, the better we all will be.

3. How do you check in with yourself on whether you are on the right track?

My faith is my compass and my husband is my adventure partner. With both at heart, I know I can always find my way. It is easy to get to the end of the week and feel caught up in a whirlwind of activities and obligations. I often find myself assessing whether I am doing the “right” things and I need constant reminders that life is not defined by my “doing.” Life is in my commitment to who I am “being.” If I can be authentic, be encouraging, or be curious, I know my “doings” will come from the right place.

4. How have your values changed over time?

When I entered Yale as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman from Jersey, my vision of life after college was an apartment in Brooklyn, a job as an investment banker, and a game of  squash at the Yale Club during lunch breaks. When I graduated Yale, I moved to Colorado Springs, CO to administer grants with the United States Golf Association’s foundation. The contrast for me was dramatic yet one I am grateful for every day.  The mountains of Colorado awakened a curiosity that the busyness of Jersey had never required. As a result, one of the things I treasure the most is time–whether it is time to go on a hike, explore marine life at low tide, learn the guitar, or train for a half marathon.

5. If you have any thoughts on the concepts of “soul” or “spirituality”, please describe them.

One of the fun things I get to do is serve as a co-chaplain for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm with fellow Yalie Nancy Cahill. An hour before every game, players have the opportunity to attend chapel with their teammates and players from the opposing team. Competitors come together to feed their spirits, a beautiful reminder of how common our needs really are. It is amazing to  see how spiritual identity rises to the forefront and puts what we are called to do into perspective. We have each been given arenas of influence, whether it is on the basketball court, on the golf course, or in the courtroom. Our spirituality determines the depth of our impact in those arenas and connects us most intimately to the people we are called to serve.

6. Perhaps the only thing all Yalies have in common is our experience of access to a privileged education. What in your present life is still influenced by this experience?

Choice is a privilege you cannot fully understand the depth of unless you do not have it. I am grateful for the gift of choice that Yale provided to me every day. To whom much is given much is required and I know that my time at Yale and my privilege of choice demands that I serve.

7. If you were to mentor your younger self or someone else with similar values, what would you most want them to know?

Fail forward. It is easy to say it is ok to fail. It is much harder to prepare yourself for the inevitable lifting that getting back up requires. Failing forward is knowing that you are moving forward in the midst of your falls and celebrating the progress, no matter how small. It is finding those moments to be grateful for even “in the midst of.” I would want my younger self to give herself much more grace and to press for gratefulness with reckless abandon.