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Kimera Way receives Chamber of Commerce Woman of Achievement Award

April 23, 2012
 Kim Way
Kim Way
EAU CLAIRE — Kimera Way, executive director of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, has received the Woman of Achievement Award from the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.

Criteria for the Woman of Achievement Award include assistance of other women in reaching their full leadership potential, professional accomplishments, community service, and other memberships, achievements, awards and publications, said Bob McCoy, president and CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.

Way, who received the award at the chamber's annual meeting April 17, has worked with the foundation since 2001 — as UW-Eau Claire's executive director of development from 2001 to 2007 and since 2007 as the foundation's executive director. She served as campaign manager of the seven-year Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign, the foundation's first comprehensive fundraising effort, which raised nearly $54 million for UW-Eau Claire's people and programs. She now is leading the foundation's planning for its Centennial Campaign, which will coincide with UW-Eau Claire's centennial in 2016.

Way has received national and regional recognition for fundraising accomplishments from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, including an international CASE gold medal for fundraising improvement and several CASE regional gold awards. In 2011 the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley presented Way with the 13th annual Senn Award, which recognizes accomplishments by professionals in the nonprofit sector.

Way has served as a mentor for female staff members pursuing graduate degrees, for former employees and colleagues pursuing professional opportunities to advance their careers, and for university students at the early stages of their business and professional development. She also has supported women through the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an international women's organization with a mission of funding women's education. She has raised funds, identified and encouraged women to apply for P.E.O. funding, and assisted with applications and nominations.

In the community, Way has provided volunteer fundraising consulting for a number of area nonprofit organizations, including the Chippewa Valley Symphony, a local group seeking to raise funds for a private hockey rink, the Family Resource Center and Children's Museum of Eau Claire. Way serves as a parish council member for the Newman Catholic community, an officer of the DeLong Middle School parent-teacher organization, volunteer coordinator for the YMCA Marlins swim team and fundraising coordinator for a group of DeLong Middle School students traveling in August to Costa Rica on a Discovery Channel educational trip.

"Kim's mentoring of women in graduate school, women seeking additional education, former employees and students was impressive," McCoy said. "Her list of accomplishments, not only at the foundation but with CASE, the symphony, Family Resource Center, Children's Museum and even a group raising money for a hockey rink almost makes you tired reading it all."

Way said she strives to teach her daughters and other women not to be tied to the myth that women can have it all.

"Instead, I have tried to instill in them the confidence to be strong and independent young women and to help them understand that it is entirely possible and right to set high goals and strive to accomplish many things in their lives, but not necessarily all at once," Way said.

Way said she is motivated to achieve professionally and to contribute in the community for three reasons.

"First, my faith is deeply grounded in the notion that we are richly rewarded with many gifts and it is our obligation to pass those gifts on to others in our communities and for society as a whole, " she said. "Second, I want to pave the way for my daughters and other young women so that they can know that others before them lifted them up. And third, if I don't lead by example and pitch in when I can, how I can expect those around me to do the same? It is all still a work in progress. Time will tell if I have succeeded."

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JP/RD

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