Featured TRUST Member
Kim Perry is a business development executive with West Monroe Partners, where she is responsible for building the Minneapolis Healthcare practice. Applying deep health care experience and business process optimization expertise, she partners with payers, health care systems, and life sciences organizations to drive business transformation through the enablement of technology. Kim joined West Monroe in 2016 from Xerox Corporation, where she was a vice president of sales for the Healthcare Payer and Pharma practices.
Have you ever had a mentor? How did he/she help you most?
While I have never had a formal mentor (singular), I do maintain a career “board of advisors,” five or six people whom I respect personally and professionally and can call upon when I need to think through professional challenges or questions. They — some men and some women — help me gain clarity, give me confidence, and push me when I get too comfortable or too nervous.
Why did you join the TRUST? What keeps you involved as a TRUST member?
For nearly 15 years, I worked for Xerox, whose name recognition was enough to open doors. In 2016, I made a significant career change to join West Monroe and build a new health care practice in Minneapolis, where our local name recognition was still low. I recognized that I would need to broaden my professional network, so I joined a few selected professional organizations, including the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST.
Through the TRUST, I am able to devote time to a cause that is very important to me: building the next generation of women leaders. That wasn’t always something I thought about, but shortly after I joined West Monroe, the firm asked me to attend a “women in leadership” luncheon. One of the panelists was Corie Barry, now CEO of Best Buy. The moderator asked why she was there, and her answer was something to the effect of, “My first reaction is because you asked me to, but after thinking about it, I have a young daughter, and I don’t want her to make the same sacrifices I’ve had to make to reach this point of my career.” As a mother, that response hit me like a ton of bricks. Back at work, I talked with other women about the challenges of advancing as leaders, and the flame ignited.
What is the best career advice you've received?
Don’t get too comfortable and, along with that, be willing to let others push you out of your comfort zone. At Xerox, I was asked to move into a new role every two years or so. I’d say, “I’m not ready” or “I need to learn more.” The response was always, “Keep stretching. You will grow into it.” And I did. Without people pushing me to be consistently uncomfortable, I would not have realized the career success that I have.
What support do you need now to evolve as a leader?
I need to fill gaps in knowledge. I want to complement my extensive sales management experience with more knowledge about finance, operations, marketing and other business functions that are relevant to the work we do with clients. Similarly, my previous role was focused on the health care payer market, but now I am also working with organizations in the life sciences, dental and provider sectors, which have different operating models and challenges. Even the consulting profession is very different than selling a product, so I learn from my colleagues.
As you move into leadership roles, there is a tendency to want to portray yourself as having all the answers. I believe is okay to be vulnerable and transparent enough to ask for help when you need it.
How do you want to support other women in their leadership journey?
I want to help women grow in their careers, while also being able to balance professional success with their personal lives. There are many accomplished women from whom we can take “academic” lessons about how to advance in our careers. I am more interested in helping women tackle the personal side of balancing it all. It is challenging when someone doesn’t have a role model who can demonstrate what that looks like. I want to be that role model, even if I know I don’t always do it flawlessly. Really, who does?
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by those who devote their time and skills to making a difference in underserved communities. My lens happens to be in health care, where there are so many challenges and so many people with lack of access. As a board chair for a Federally Qualified Health Clinic whose patients are on Medicaid or uninsured, I see the selfless work of employees and volunteers who are committed to helping those who need it most. I aspire to carve more time from my life, at some point, to do the same.
What is something that not many people know about you?
I push myself to do extreme things. I am afraid of heights but recently went on a hot air balloon ride for the first time — and I enjoyed it! I have also run four marathons.
Any words of wisdom to live by?
Always strive to be your authentic self. When you are younger, it is harder to find and be that person. But as you do, you will come to find that you are happier and that people relate better to you.
Also, acknowledge your shortcomings. Everyone has them, so embrace your opportunities to improve.
Visit the TRUST Member Spotlight Archives