Network widely to build your public health career, with Kimberly Jocelyn

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In this episode, Sujani sits down with Kimberly Jocelyn, a Public Health Analyst at the CDC. They discuss Kimberly’s path into public health, how she has used networking throughout her career, and give advice on how to establish and build connections.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Kimberly discovered public health and what motivated her to pursue a combination MPH/MSW degree
  • What career opportunities are made possible by the MPH/MSW dual degree 
  • What kinds of jobs Kimberly has held and how she identified and landed those opportunities
  • The role that networking plays in navigating the public health realm 
  • Advice from Kimberly on reaching out and establishing professional relationships
  • Advice from Kimberly on maintaining new connections 
  • The importance of positivity in supporting a team and building connections

Today’s Guest:

Kimberly Jocelyn holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. As a social worker and public health practitioner, she creates sustainable change and advances strategies to promote and strengthen human service delivery effectively. Her area of expertise lies in developing programs, setting metrics, and managing large-scale operations, teams, and federal grants at the state and local levels. As a Program Manager in New York City, she develops policies, operationalizes equity, protects and promotes safety and well-being, and eliminates the health and social barriers. It is her firm belief that networking and collaboration deliver results. 

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Episode Transcript

Kimberly 0:00
I’m still learning and with networking, I get to really learn more about public health from others as well, because it’s so diverse. And it allows me to tap into their world where I can also learn from them and learn with them where I can also bring that back into my work and the agency that I work with to be of help to not only agency for the community at large.

Sujani 0:25
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us Weekly right here. And I’ll be here too, your host Sujani Siva from PH SPOT.

Sujani 0:41
Hi good morning Kimberly, and welcome to the PH SPOT podcast.

Kimberly 0:46
Good morning. Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited and honored to be on this morning.

Sujani 0:51
Oh, great. And you’re calling in from New York City, and we’re not too far from you. So I’m in the Greater Toronto Area. And we have a beautiful sunny day. And you were telling me it’s a bit cloudy on your end. But I still love the energy and the enthusiasm that you’re raising this morning.

Kimberly 1:07
Yeah, even on a cloudy gloomy day. Gotta bring it-

Sujani 1:11
Yeah, exactly. You know, I had recorded an episode with Tieisha And she had recommended you as a great friend. And when she mentioned to me that you’re kind of this like Master networker, I was like, okay, can really use my kind of person, because that’s something that I love doing is like connecting with people and building relationships. And so the conversation around that kind of excited me. So I’m very, very much excited to talk about that. But also kind of hear your story about how you discovered public health and, and kind of like the work that you’ve done, before we jump into, you know, the importance of establishing relationships for your career and what that means to you and how that has helped you in your career. So I’ll start with, you know, asking you, how did you discover public health because, you know, a lot of people I’ve spoken to, it’s not something that was like, their first intention in terms of like, where they wanted to build their career, you know, I’ve seen a pattern that a lot of people just accidentally discover public health, similar to how I got into the field and curious to hear what your story is.

Kimberly 2:19
Absolutely. How I discovered public health, public health definitely discovered me in some way, with public health, I feel like it’s a calling for me, I’m very much very big on acts of service and be a service or resource to the community, it’s something that is dear to my heart, and being able to connect with others in any way that I can, and build those relationships. So at first, I didn’t quite know what public health was, it wasn’t clear to me and I was because public health is just so diverse. And because it’s so diverse, it allowed me to learn a lot about how I can gain various skills to be a resource in diverse ways to communities, to being of service is something that is very big for me, and I’m very mission driven. And with public health, being able to promote and protect the health of a community, in various ways, is something that I truly admire and continue to inspire to be part of this field, not only with public health, but also in social work as well. Both fields are very diverse, and in any way that I can connect, promote health and protect the health and well being of communities to something that is truly meaningful to me.

Sujani 3:29
I guess yeah, when I looked at your LinkedIn profile, I noticed that you did a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. So I am assuming that you went into your Masters of Social Work a couple years after, and at the same time, did that dual degree with an MPH? So I’m assuming that you know, you knew that you wanted to help people. And that’s probably why you went into social work and did some of the work that you did in your bachelor’s degree overseas around social work. Did you then discover this like, okay, maybe I could do education in public health later on during your masters? Or did you already have this idea in the back of your mind as early as maybe undergrad?

Kimberly 4:11
Yeah, I didn’t learn about public health until after undergrad when I was working. And a former supervisor, both supervisors actually, one had a public health background and the other had a social work background. So it wasn’t until I got into my graduate program, and the socialist, I knew that I wanted to do something really within social work since I was young. My peers and others have said, hey, you should do this, but I was very much hey, let me figure myself out first before individuals started saying hey, you should go into this field. But once I noticed this different types of roles that I was in and I was extremely passionate about it. So then I went into working for this foundation and learning about the public health field and also social work. And so when I got accepted into Columbia, I also noticed that they had dual degree program. So then I did my MSW and MPH there, and I primarily focused on population and Family Health, where I focus primarily on program development and planning and also policies. And overall, that was an incredible opportunity where I learned not only to see more administrative aspects and management aspects within public health, but also, I also did, there’s something very similar in social work as well. So a lot of my work is not clinical, it’s more management and administrative and also advocacy. So in public health education, I have done a lot of that in various roles. And even in working as a contact tracing supervisor, where that was, that was a lot of those very public health for the New York City COVID response. And that was educating communities of the different resources that are available to them, and how to keep themselves safe and their loved ones safe during the pandemic. So that specific role allowed me to educate but also develop to take measurements and policies and various other public health activities to ensure that the community is safe. It just shows that public health is very diverse, and was just an overall incredible opportunity. And I’m still learning and with networking, I get to really learn more about public health from others as well, because it’s so diverse. And it allows me to tap into their world where I can also learn from them and learn with them, where I can also bring that back into my work and the agency that I work with to be of help to not only agency for the community at large.

Sujani 6:41
Yeah. Or when I discovered this dual degree MSW and MPH, and I think Tieisha was kind of the first individuals that had come up on my LinkedIn somewhere. And then when she recommended I speak with you, I was super fascinated that there is this like dual degree and I wish I had discovered it well before I had gone to school. And I’m curious, like, are you seeing that employers are aware of this dual degree not just for the sake of the degree but that individuals can come with these two sets of skills? And are you able to find jobs that are asking for these two degrees? Or is it something that you’re educating employers about and and showing them kind of like, what is possible with these two degrees? Or are you having to pick and choose between jobs that are asking for an MSW or an MPH and you have the flexibility to do both roles? And I guess like the general question is, what do jobs look like for someone that has an MPH and an MSW?

Kimberly 7:45
When I’ve served, I haven’t seen many postings where employers are looking for both an MPH and MSW. So even in my current role, I’m very much in the public health field. They work with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in New York City. I also share with the team that I also have an MSW and I can be of help and providing that social work lens. And also with my graduating class, there was maybe a handful of individuals that had dual degrees. And I think it’s an incredible asset to be able to have both, it allows the individual to gain additional skill, because both public health and social work can be so different. It’s so similar.

Sujani 8:26

Kimberly 8:27
And I think it’s just the way that I been able to combine them beautifully. Like for example, as a former contact tracing supervisor, that was very much a public health role. But being able to bring the compassion active listening, reflective listening, being of support to the individual and providing, it wasn’t necessarily counseling, but being able to provide support in such a traumatic and where the individual may be creeping in and in shock, because they were infected or possibly in contact with someone that was infected with COVID. It’s a difficult conversation to have with someone to share their diagnosis with them, but to also be there with them. So I a lot of my social work skills, were very useful in that role and being able to provide that one on one, active listening, compassion, empathy, I was also able to educate the individual and walk them through the process and letting them know that they’re going to be supported throughout their entire either isolation or quarantine process. It’s a useful skill to be able to have both and bring a very unique perspective or lens into the field. And I say that the skills that I’ve gained, don’t just stop there. I’m continuously looking for training and networking to learn from others and with others or conferences, to be able to learn how to be an even more of a resource to others. And that’s something that I’ve also whenever I’m speaking with Tieisha like yes queen, like yes girl, you’re- you’re in this training, you’re learning this and then I’ll- This is what I’m doing in this is like, oh, this is the link to this. Or we’re really sharing this information where we can learn how to be an even bigger advocate or resource to the communities that we serve. And I think that that is extremely important to gain these necessary skills that the individual may need or may want. But also don’t stop there. Just continue learning and growing. And networking is a really big part of that.

Sujani 10:31
Yeah, it’s great, because I kind of like see it as being able to switch from micro and macro level, you know, like, you’re able to work with individuals at the individual or family or group level, but also then take your public health skills and knowledge and kind of look at it from a population level or a system level. And I’m assuming like, you’ve been trained to be able to switch back and forth between the two. And I can see how that could be very, very important in public health as well as social work to be able to go back and forth between the two lenses.

Kimberly 11:06
Yeah, absolutely. It’s very useful. And I wouldn’t change anything about my experience, actually, there are a few things I would, I would take on additional courses, business courses, to really understand the business aspect in the field. Because I learned that that is extremely important. That’s the only thing that I would do differently. Columbia has a very great program. Well, not as a program, but their- their way that their core structures are that you can cross register for courses and other schools. And that’s something that I found to be very valuable. So there have been instances where I would just ask the professor, can I sit in your class? Or if I couldn’t take any more classes, but I was able to sit in and learn, but I would have definitely taken a lot of business classes because they think that’s extremely important.

Sujani 11:50
Yeah, no, I agree with you, just having the business knowledge. I think not enough people in public health have that. And I would like to see that more included in in our public health syllabus. So I think that’s a probably a conversation to have kind of on another episode, for sure. You talked about you know, having to each other by your side to talk about different areas, the two of you can build your skills in and kind of like check in with each other in terms of how your career is going. And I think that’s so important. And that’s one of the reasons I like to encourage people to build their network of individual and a describe the word network, you know, you could use it as a verb to say, like we are going out and networking. And that typically makes people a bit uncomfortable, because they think of it as going into this like huge event and having to shake hands with people and tell them about themselves. But then the word network can also be used as a noun to say like, this is your social support or your professional support group. And that’s the context I like to use the word network in. And really, you know, when I say network, I’m talking about establishing really meaningful relationships with individuals who will take you along, or like you will have with you as you build your career, and you can lean on them for support. And it’s not just to find your next job. And so yeah, I’m curious to hear how you view like building relationships and building a network in your life kind of in the context of your career.

Kimberly 13:27
For me, it’s necessary and the way that I’ve built it, there have been instances where large gatherings where I’m able to meet a large group of individuals, and since I’m in that large gathering, I’ve been able to meet, maybe not even a handful of people, maybe one or two. And that alone, I’ve really been able to connect with those individuals and maintain those relationships. So networking, for me is extremely important. In the work field, it also is beneficial even personally, it allows me to connect with individuals on a professional level, but also on a deeper level where I’m able to learn their story, to learn their interests, and also be able to share resources. And I think that that is extremely beneficial. And whenever I go into a networking relationship with someone, I don’t necessarily have an agenda as I need something from you. It’s more sometimes how can I help you? I also go in with what is the purpose? And also what do I envision when this relationship and I think that it’s extremely important, whenever I’m going into a networking event or end up meeting someone, it’s thinking about what I want, in the sense of what I want to gain from this relationship, not necessarily from this person. But I also think, what value can I bring to this person as well. There’s an exchange there, which has been great. And overall with networking, it’s been able to, as I mentioned, allow me to think out of the box, stay out of the box and be creative and kind of know what’s out there. Learn about what some of the trends are and also learn from others and their work and seeing how I can possibly tap in and learn from them. Or I can also bring that back into my work or my personal life, not necessarily saying that this person that I’ve gained some sort of relationship networking relationship with has some sort of impact and sense of where things tell me what to do with my life necessarily, but it’s more of a mindset of thinking of this is what I’ve been able to gain, and how that has been able to help me without the person actually doing any work. And I think that that has been extremely beneficial and being able to just build a genuine connection. And trust with that person. It’s rare, where I’m finding that people are just providing opportunities, or opening up their network for individuals that they don’t know.

Sujani 13:42

Kimberly 14:04
So I think being able to build that trust is extremely important. And with that opportunities open up because it person gets to know about you and your areas of interest. And then opportunities can just start flowing. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be professional opportunities. It can be as I mentioned, I can just be sharing a link where you know, in the individual can learn from that or attend a conference or whichever it may be, because I know that this person is interested in this. So I can just share that. And the network then grows, and also it’s important to maintain that relationship within the- within the networks, it can be twisted back in here in there, which I found to be extremely beneficial, you have chosen to actually do care about this person that you just didn’t want to connect with the person to get something from them.

Sujani 16:40
Yeah, as much as in person. Networking events can be scary, it reduces the awkwardness because you are put in a room with people who are, you know, come from similar backgrounds as you and then you can go introduce yourself and start talking to a few individuals see if there’s a connection there. And then you can take that connection and establish a relationship later on, whether it’s through email or LinkedIn or video calls. But then now that we don’t have too many events, I mean, they’re starting to come up. But if you wanted to connect with someone, online, for example, how would you like recommend individuals approach that? Because often you are seeking, I guess, support or an answer for a question. And I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re very nervous about reaching out because they’re afraid that they’re not going to get a response or that they’re bothering someone that they don’t know, how would you I guess, encourage individuals to identify individuals that could support them, and then to how to introduce themselves, and then start building on that relationship?

Kimberly 17:53
So I would first start with tapping into what is it that they want? What is their goal? And what is their interest is extremely important. It’s- what is the point that I was trying to make there? Because then once you have a specific interest, like, for example, for public health, and what type of area of public health would I be interested in? So that happened to that and go into LinkedIn to see someone either with a couple of years of experience, maybe one or two years of experience ahead of me, or that just graduated either from the same institution, I think also tapping into the institutional network is extremely important to whether it’s a graduate student or a student or professional to see where the alums are, and whether or not they’re in the same field that you’re interested in and just kind of tap into there, but also looking to see what position that the individual may be interested in. And sometimes it can be beneficial to reach out to someone with a couple of more years of experience in that agency that so for example, maybe an analyst before reaching out to a manager or an executive. For me, there have been instances where I just reached out to the executive. And if they find time, I then meet with them, but also have an agenda because I know that they’re extremely busy. And so I think it’s important to reach out to several individual, there are instances where the individual may not respond or may not have the time. But when reaching out, I think it’s important that you if you’re unable to connect with me, would you be able to connect or recommend someone that may possibly be able to assist with this either question or statement the person has in their reason for reaching out. And I think that is helpful. So knowing the area of interest and then tapping into that specific industry and agency and those individuals at that agency. And in order to maintain that it’s extremely important is to stay in contact. I think stay in contact with not necessarily the agenda of I need a job. I think that that can possibly be a common mistake. But I think because the person doesn’t know you, in order to connect with you in that way, and I think being able to build that relationship and trust and communication. And it’s extremely important that when a person agrees to meet with you to also do the research when meeting with them so that you come prepared, and it’s a good use of their time, but also your time as well. So those are just some of the things when reaching out via LinkedIn is extremely important. But there are other ways, either sending an email to the individual, let’s say an individual wrote an article and their email is listed on there, you can reach out to them that way, too. If you’ve read a little bit about their work, there are various ways to connect with individuals outside of LinkedIn, that LinkedIn is for sure, a great one, but also asking around, it’s been a big thing of mine, I’ve attended a lunch meeting. And then at that lunch meeting, I’m then invited to other lunch meetings where I meet other individuals. So it’s been grows in that way. So there are various ways of just informal meetings where you can meet with them, and really just get to know them. But also, I think it’s important when meeting with them to- to discuss who you are, like your, your name, your title, a little bit about your background, and possibly your next steps. I think that is extremely important, too. And what value can you bring in tapping in to yourself is extremely poor. And I think don’t necessarily know that. That’s okay, too. Because the self is continuously developing and relearning and figuring yourself out and lifestyle, especially during the pandemic is hard. It’s okay not to necessarily have all those answers, but at least have an idea of what field you want to go into. And then I think that that will just snowball into being able to just identifying an agency or an area, and then they can be seen in the person.

Sujani 21:51
Yeah, you know, you have certainly reached out to a number of different individuals and have built up your network. What are some, I guess, examples of who you reached out to, and just to give our listeners examples of different reasons that they can connect with individuals and start building relationships?

Kimberly 22:13
Yeah, I reached out to a wide range of individuals. And the reason why is because public health is so diverse. And so with social work. And so I’ve connected with individuals in technology, in engineering, so it just ranges and if you don’t actually think that IT or technology is related to public health and social work, it’s very much related in the sense of how we use technology to. And so being able to connect with a wide range of individuals at various levels, has really helped me be able to connect and build those relationships. And it sometimes starts off with meeting someone just sharing my interest, especially as an intern, I networked a lot as an intern, and even post graduation, because I was so interested in learning more about the various fields and how I can possibly connect these things and learn about these things and how I can bring them into my skill set and gain some training while I was an intern, and also post graduation.

Sujani 23:20
It gives a good glimpse into like, curiosity is the word that comes to mind, truly being curious about your interests and wanting to learn more about it from individuals in different fields, right, I think there’s a lot of self reflection that also is needed, because you want to know where your interests lie, and who could help you discover meaningful work or kind of a path for you. And often individuals who are a few steps ahead of you can shine a bit of light. And obviously not a single person’s path is going to be the path that you want to take. You want to create your own path. So you’re asking different people for their experiences, what they’ve done, and really like helping you fill the gaps in your own path. That’s kind of like how I see it. And it’s nice to hear that you not only reached out to individuals in public health, but also individuals and other sectors who may have knowledge and experience in the health field. And they can kind of shine a bit of light into your interest as well. So that’s pretty cool.

Kimberly 24:24
Absolutely, yes, curiosity and bravery. Being brave, bold, is a big thing for me and just shooting my shot.

Sujani 24:33

Kimberly 24:33
There have been instances. I’ve recently gained a an incredible mentor. I did not think that this would be possible. But like, you know what, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I get it now, I get it now. So let’s just you know, send this email and when I got the email, I literally screamed and lost my voice. Person end up saying that they would be my mentor. So I just say just be brave and bold and just go or not networking can also be missed opportunities, not taking the time to look into people’s background can also be a missed opportunity as well. And sometimes it just takes a couple of seconds to review someone’s LinkedIn, or just to read about their bio. And if you just ignore that message that someone send out can really be a missed opportunity, because there can be a possible connection there. And yeah, go for it. Don’t miss opportunities. Not every contact is maybe a missed opportunity by growing your networking, your support system is so incredible. And there have been opportunities that have been presented to me because I had lunch with someone years ago, and they said, hey, Kim, I remember you are interested in this, this is an opportunity, please apply for it. I’m rooting for you. And so I was like, whoa, you remember me, remember my interest. And I think that having that impression, and just being authentic, genuine humility is so important, where you can build that trust the communication, and actually listening and just throughout the interaction that you have with that person, whether it’s in person, or virtual, or via email, really just pay attention to what is being shared. And I think that that helps to really build and maintain those relationships, empathy, positivity, it’s not easy to always be positive. But you know, it goes a long way. And kindness, I think, just overall. So these are just some skills or some tips that have helped me with networking and just be brave, bold, even when an individual says no, I’m always saying, can you connect me with someone? Or would it be possible to connect with you at a later time, if this time is not a good time to connect with you? It may be a not now, like, there’s a possibility that the person just may not have the time. And there are certain times throughout the year that may be difficult to network as well, especially during holidays. Sometimes the summers are slightly easier. But it really says sometimes things tend to slow down. So really paying attention to that is extremely important, too.

Sujani 27:03
Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. You know, something else that comes to mind when you say the word bravery, or even just different, I want to call it like techniques or strategies of connecting with people. But when you come across like anything, say it’s an article or a comment somewhere, or just a paper, like you mentioned that somebody published, and often you have an emotion that comes up, right, or an opinion. And sometimes you’re like, wowed by somebody’s work. And often we can keep those emotions and those opinions to ourselves like the positive ones and say, oh, like that was a really good article, or, oh, that person did so well. I like to challenge myself sometimes to actually like, share that positive emotion and positive opinion with the individual. And that’s kind of a great way to break the ice and connect with that individual. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that. But I like to say, hey, like I read your article, it was great. Your book inspired me. And most often you won’t get a response back. But it really helps you practice that muscle of reaching out to people, or even like sharing an article like, you know, I read this, it reminded me of you, I just wanted to share it with you. And those are some easy ways to keep relationships alive or even make new connections. So I just want to give that as an example of how individuals could get the ball rolling and start exercising that muscle to reach out and connect with people who have inspired them or motivated them or just stirred some positive emotion inside of them.

Kimberly 28:37
Absolutely. Oh, my gosh, absolutely. To be able to share that positivity. And that feedback is so important. And I say for sure I’ve done it. I’ve been able to connect with individuals that way. So yes, that for sure. Yes, I agree.

Sujani 28:53
Yeah. And I think that was kind of one of the ways that I came across your name. I mean, Tieisha was one of them. But I may have read an article about the work that you were doing with COVID. And I thought that was just hands down amazing. And I needed to speak with you. And so here we are today.

Kimberly 29:10
Thank you so much, really appreciate it. And I am in awe of all your work and all that you do.

Sujani 29:17
I’m gonna link that article and I wrote down one of the quotes that really connected with me, and that is when you said that any emails that you send, they have to be joyous and send great energy because you want to make sure that your team is supported. And so you know, something there in that line the way you said it, I really wanted to share that positive energy back with like our listeners. So just wanted to say that I was inspired by that line.

Kimberly 29:45
Thank you so much. And yeah, I think especially during a difficult time, it was the height of the pandemic, and we were all working remote. And that was it was- it was difficult to connect, but it was also beautiful, this unique experience to be able to connect in the way that we did, and individuals are at home. And you know, they’re scared, and to be able to provide that support and positivity. And sometimes it’s just the way an individual writes, you can sense that emotion. And I think communicating, even if it’s by phone or through an audio, I think it’s very important to also hear the smile in your voice. It can really brighten up someone’s day. So bringing that energy to the team and to the work, I think can really be impactful in who you’re connecting with, whether it’s an individual that you’re providing services to, or an individual that you are supervising. So I really appreciate that. And that positivity is incredible. It’s contagious.

Sujani 30:48

Kimberly 30:48
I hype them up, they hype me up. So we were hyping each other up through this difficult time. And to this day, we’re still very much in contact some of the individuals that I oversaw, so, yeah.

Sujani 30:59
Yeah, I love that. And for any of our listeners who want to read that article, it’s in the New York Times, and we’ll link it up. But if I think if you search up, Kimberly, Jocelyn, and the New York Times you’ll get that article. Something else that you mentioned, Kim, that I wanted to talk about was you said, you know, when you connect with someone, tell them who you are like your background. But something else that’s also really great to share is what are your goals? Like what do you want to do in public health. And I think that’s so important, because you want to put your dreams and your aspiration, your goals, whatever you want to call it out there into the world, and especially present it to people in your network, because you never know where opportunities are gonna come from. Right? So I love that you said, you know, not only talk about who you are, but also tell them what you want to achieve and accomplish. You’re not necessarily asking them, can you help me do this, but one you’re describing to them what kind of a person you are, right? If I hear somebody’s goals and aspiration, I can kind of create a picture of who they are in my head. And then you know, if I establish a great relationship with them, I might remember that conversation and think, oh, yeah, I know, this individual is wanting to achieve X, Y, and Zed, and I’m going to send them opportunities when they come across my table. So yeah, I love that. And I don’t know if you have anything more to say around sharing your goals with people that you meet.

Kimberly 32:20
Yeah, I think identifying those goals can be extremely difficult. But sharing them can really open up a lot of opportunities where an individual may provide either advice or mentorship, if they have the time, and can connect you with others that are in the same field as your interest. For example, I connected with someone at an international development organization. And because I shared my goals, and what I envisioned for myself in the future, I then was connected with someone at the World Health Organization, a VP and I was like, whoa, meet with this person. And then it turned into an interview. And that started from me, just sharing my goals with someone. And what I envisioned for myself. And you know, my experience may be unique, but I think that sharing your goals can allow you to really tap into the field in various ways where it may not even be expected. So I’m very appreciative. And when I share my goals, I also sometimes receive feedback and saying, okay, well, let’s break this down. You know, let’s make it a bit more realistic. It’s such a beautiful, big picture. But let’s make it into a realistic goal where you can achieve this by this specific timeframe. Rather than saying, I want this and I want it now that, that’s possible. But it can also be difficult to obtain it as it can sometimes seem overwhelming, because it’s such a big picture. So really having that vision and purpose and breaking it down into various objectives where it’s achievable, I think is incredible, where I’ve been able to obtain that whenever I’ve shared my goals, especially with individuals that are in the same field or are in similar fields in the industry.

Sujani 34:03
Yeah, no, I love that. Something else I’ve been asking some my guests more recently is having built PH SPOT, we realized that our mission is to help people build their dream public health careers. And when I say dream public health career, I’m talking about like more than just landing a job. And it’s your big aspirations for your career. And it’s encompassing of so many different things, not just your nine to five job, but like learning and connections and you know, everything else that builds your career. And so if I asked you, Kim, like, what is your dream public health career? What comes to mind for you?

Kimberly 34:42
Oh, my gosh, that’s such a difficult question, but it’s a really good one. It’s a tough one. Oh, my gosh.

Sujani 34:47
I’ll have to prepare my guests for this question.

Kimberly 34:52
Really good, because in the next couple of years, so I’m in the process of enrolling into a Ph. D program, and preparing my application now. And so when I see myself in the long term, I’m like, oh, I want to be the CEO of an organization, or I have my own organization. But what does that actually mean? And how could I be of help? And I think that what I’ve said for several years, but in the end, that’s more of a personal goal, but I’m very mission driven. So in any capacity, that I can learn from a community and help them in the way that they want to be helped. I think, for me that’s moving that goal in any way. So I develop policies and work within operations in my current role. So I’m learning about it now and learning about the ways that I can become this leader in public health and in social work. But also, it’s not necessarily defining myself my future self as a leader, but more of a person of service. I think that that is my end goal is just being able to be of service to the community. I know that that is not a straight answer. But I think it’s I’m also still figuring things out. Because I think once I continue my education and obtain that degree where I can become an even bigger resource then I may have a better understanding of where I see myself in the next 10 years. But then the next five years, for sure, in graduate school, continuing my education.

Sujani 36:23
That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. I know, it’s a tough question to answer. And I think at the very least, I want to start that conversation with individuals and alike challenge them to think about it. So thank you for sharing that with us. And thank you for joining me on the podcast, Kim. I think you know more than a lot of the great knowledge and wisdom you shared with us, your positive energy and just your kindness is something that I’m also very appreciative of. So thank you for joining us.

Kimberly 36:51
Thank you, anytime. I appreciate you and your amazing work. And thank you so much for having me. It’s been such an honor.

Sujani 37:01
Hey, so I hope you enjoyed that episode. And if you want to get the links and information mentioned in today’s episode, you can head over to And we’ll have everything there for you. And before you go, I wanted to let you know about the career program that we run here at PH SPOT. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about building your dream public health career, then we can help you through this program. It’s an intensive hands on training program for early public health professionals. And this includes recent graduates and students. And you can now join the waitlist at And you’ll be notified when the next cohort opens up. And until next time, thank you so much for tuning into PH SPOTlight, and for the invaluable work that you do for this world.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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