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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

#CelebratingOthers with Kymberly Dakin-Neal!

#Celebrating Others with Author/Coach/All Around Fabulous Gal Kymberly Dakin-Neal.


It has been way too long since I posted a CelebratingOthers blog post. Over a year ago, I delightfully interviewed Kym for an upcoming post that never materialized until today. My notebook, full of Kym's life and those of previous interviews, is always tucked into my backpack for a quiet moment when I can sit and write without distraction. Apparently, I've been distracted.


Not any longer. I'm thrilled to share my writing friend, Kym Dakin, whom I first met in Writing in Community 1 in June 2020. We recently met in person on the retreat for writers in the Cevenne region of France in April 2023. We hugged and screamed at our good fortune of being a part of the amazing group of writers who became fast friends over three years of Zoom calls and then IRL - In Real Life. That is a celebration for sure!


I am so excited for Kym because she is birthing a book - Head, Heart, and Hands Listening in Coach Practice; the release date is July 4th. Fireworks, please! Here is her official bio:


Kymberly Dakin-Neal is a mindset coach specializing in effective communication and professional presence for over a decade. She works successfully with newly promoted employees, women running for office, and entrepreneurs pitching new products. Kym helps train medical professionals in more productive listening and patient communication via the Standardized Patient program at Tufts and Kaiser Permanente. Kym has also developed and recently sold a bookmarking app called "Nugget" to eliminate the need to take notes in online meetings. She is a mindset coach with Positive Intelligence. Her book “Head, Heart, and Hands Listening in Coach Practice"" will be released in July 2023 by Routledge Publishers.


And that's not all.


Kym is a force of nature with her clever wit and beautiful prose and poetry I get to read on the writing sites we both belong to. Her superpower is seeing things from a different angle. If she is not working, writing, or caring for her family, Kym is taking advantage of sunny Maine days out in her garden (using her garden books), a guilty pleasure she embraces wholeheartedly.


Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, to Richard (an accountant/real estate agent) and Priscilla (a secretary) - both deceased - Kym also has a younger sister named Chris. She revealed she had a good childhood growing up surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, but all that fresh mountain air could not help them through tight financial times. It was that way for many families in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1976, Kym graduated from Aurora High School (I'll help you with the math, she is 66 years old!).


Kym attended Colorado Women's College, University of Denver (Journalism program), and completed her degree in the early 80s in Community Theater at Loretto Heights University Without Walls, a much smaller school she fell in love with in Denver. After graduation, Kym trekked across the country to ply her new skills in theater and acting in The Big Apple. She said she got lucky with finding an apartment on the Upper West Side, adjacent to Central Park (a huge perk) because one of her favorite college professors had some contacts there.


Van Halen's "Jump" is Kym's mantra song for just about everything. It was released at a good time (1984) when she was in the thick of her auditions and stage-acting career. Kym admitted that this was her "heaven" - the travel across America in National Tours that set up camp for six weeks in each city (Noises Off - a British Farce), the off-Broadway plays she was in or an understudy (Glass Menagerie), and the fact she took advantage of the cities her company traveled to, wandering on her days off through many cool places she got to know quite well.


By 1987, she married a man named Jim, though the marriage lasted only five years since Jim wanted to move to Maine. Kym moved with him briefly in the early 1990s and, never one to leave an opportunity wasted, enrolled in radio school - something other than acting but similar in some ways. So, Kym honed new skills and liked the radio work as a D.J. and other jobs around the studio until she felt too lonely to continue. She claimed at this point; she wanted more people in her life. Who could blame her?


When some teaching/nonprofit and outreach coordinator positions opened up for Kym, she dove in right quick and liked the work. She also met her second husband, Rob, whom she married in 2001, sharing their life in the Pine Tree State. Their beautiful daughter Skylar recently graduated from Drexel University with degrees in Marketing and Business.


In 2002, Kym's dad died, leaving her and her sister money for education. Again, taking advantage of this wonderful gift, she enrolled in grad school at the University of Southern Maine. There she met lifelong friends she still is close to this day. After she graduated, Kym worked in various nonprofits, one with a medical orientation, until the recession hit in 2008. Not one to sit idle, that medical "training" catapulted Kym to Maine Medical and the Standard Patient Program (SPP) there.


This artichoke and green-loving gal worked her way up in the S.P.P., where Kym began gauging and assessing role-playing between physicians and patients, finding the abilities to have productive patient conversations. It did not take long for Kym to become a trainer in the system and branched out to Kaiser Permanente, doing similar work in S.P.P. there too.


In addition to her work, Kym still loved acting and found a way to parlay her dormant acting skills into audiobook production. She started by returning to a local radio station, meeting up with the creative director, and working part-time until the sales department she was with did not make the metrics needed to continue. Still, Kym learned valuable skills to take elsewhere, and she did, to the tune of several audiobooks and a prestigious award for narration. Go, Kym!


Around the late 2000s, this dynamo started her training under her own business, Voice into Learning, to law firms, advertising agencies, and the Department of E.P.A. (state level). She is certified in the Positive Intelligence Program and the Mindset Coach Practice. In the last couple of years, she and another young man developed a bookmarking application called Nugget that was sold in 2021.


No moss grows under her feet!


Kym is an inspiration to all who meet her. She greets everyone with bright eyes and a big smile and is usually dressed in bright colors, fitting for her bubbly personality. Since she is an expert in listening, she argues that is exactly what the world needs more of: better listening. I think she is on to something here!


In 2020, when the world was in lockdown, Kym and a global cohort got down to business to write in community with Seth Godin and Kristin Hatcher's brainchild. Who knew where it would take us? But here we are today, thrilled for Kym, who learned to write what she knows in a Tucker Max workshop several years ago. She did that in spades, engineering her words so well and methodically that Routledge Publishing said "yes," to publishing her book.


Congratulations, Kym, and to your entire support system. Doing what you did over the past few years is no easy feat. And to see it come to fruition is a dream come true. Enjoy the ride, my dear friend!


Cheers to Kym and Listening!

Terri


PS - toggle the black arrows on the photos to see the three full images (a new feature I found on WIX).





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