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Kim Ballard ~ Chief Operations Officer ~ Lindsay Young Downtown YMCA

Meet Kim Ballard. She is the Chief Operation’s Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. She has dedicated her life to supporting non-profit and she is not done yet….

Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: “The mission of the YMCA has always been important to me. This starts my thirty-first year and the mission hasn’t changed in the last 168 years. I can stand behind that and believe in it and believe in the impact the YMCA has on our community.”

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Knoxville, and what do you love there?

A:”That is Jet’s Pizza in Farragut. What do I love about it or what I love to eat there? Either…I love the camaraderie of the people. Angie Sanders and her staff create a local Cheers bar. The vibe…. and the pizza is one of the best in town.”

Q: How long have you lived or worked in Knoxville?

A:”This will be the start of my 31s year with the YMCA . I came to Knoxville in 2001. “But you’ve been with the YMCA for how long? Thirty-one years. Before this I was in Jackson, Mississippi for three years, eleven years in Memphis, and the last of it has been in Knoxville. I came here thinking I would stay for two or three years, fell in love with it. I love where I live. I love where I work and I love where I play. You’re only hours from a few major cities…Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville.”

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Knoxville?

A: “Our former President of the Knoxville Chamber, Michael Edwards or the current CEO of the Alliance for Better Nonprofits, Jerry Askew.”

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?

A: ” That is the south of France. I would love to go back to Europe and spend a week in France.”

Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?

A: “My favorite movie is, For Love of the Game. But the first movie I’ve watched in the theater, A Star is Born, not the original but the one with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.”

Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?

A: “Trust the journey.”

Q: What is something on your bucket list?

A: “To go spend six weeks in different national parks. Go around the United States and spend about six weeks hiking and experiencing the beauty of our National parks.”

Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?

A: “Favorite music, soft pop, country – really a blend between those two…..probably Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, and Van Morrison.”

Q: What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Knoxville?

A: “That’s probably the Sunsphere, anything to do with the Sunsphere.” The view of the Sunsphere from the rooftop of the Downtown Y is breath-taking in the mornings.”

Q: Choosing anyone in a non-relative with whom would you love to have lunch? And where in Knoxville would you take them for lunch?

A: ” Robin Roberts – one of the anchors from Good Morning America. I would take her to Tomato Head in Market Square.” Any restaurant or business in Market Square is uniquely Knoxville.”

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Knoxville?

A: ” I think it’s the four seasons. Whether you enjoy indoor activities or outdoor activities, there’s always something to do in East Tennessee.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A: ” I graduate from the seminary in May of 2020. I would like to retire from the YMCA in the next 5- 7 years and then help local churches and nonprofits with strategic planning and succession planning.”

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A: ” That I’m going to the seminary.”

Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

A: “The Mississippi-Arkansas bridge because I’m originally from Memphis, the Great Smokey Mountains because I call this home now and just probably the iconic state of Tennessee emblem. “

Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?

A: “For me? A chef – who wouldn’t want someone to cook for them?”

Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?

A: “Kevin Costner.”

Q: Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of Knoxville?

A: “Kim Lauth, the COO of Positive Living.”

Q: If you were to choose one thing that you feel is important for you to do for your overall wellness, what would it be?

A: “Rest, I run pretty hard Monday through Friday. The summers are nice because you can spend time on area lakes – I go out on the lake and do absolutely nothing!“

Kim~Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with The Faces of Knoxville! Blessings~Bridget


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