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Kimberly Neal: Q & A: What was your path?

kimberly-neal

Kimberly H. Neal, J.D.

President
TranZed Apprenticeship Ventures

Q: What was your path?
A: It’s been a bit like the yellow brick road, but ultimately every twist and turn has led to something exciting. After college, I accepted a management role at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, and later moved to Maryland to attend law school and launch my career as a business litigator. By early 2016, I reached a fork in the road.  I looked at my core values, was honest about my greatest gifts and deepest passions, and recognized I didn’t just need my work and life to balance – I needed it to mean something. Six months later, I left the practice of law to take on my current role as president of TranZed Apprenticeship Ventures. It’s been one of the most valuable moves I’ve ever made.

Q: Tell us about the new job and what an apprenticeship means.
A: I wear many hats (some much prettier than others!). Our team is building a brand and a business based on a time-honored concept that now has new relevance in our society and economy: Apprenticeships. Even in what seems to be a particularly challenging political climate, state and national leaders on both sides of the aisle – along with well-known public figures like Mike Rowe – recognize that apprenticeships provide real solutions to our nation’s skills gap. I feel like I am helping to lead a movement, and it’s very exciting!

Maryland has positioned itself as a national leader in apprenticeships, and TranZed Apprenticeships is proud to be the state’s first registered program to offer apprenticeships in occupations beyond the traditional trades (electrician, plumber, iron worker). Specifically, we offer “learn-and-earn” employment opportunities in IT, digital media, and cyber security to individuals who are motivated to immerse themselves in a full-time, paid experience that includes a curriculum-based education and on-the-job training.

Q: What experiences in your previous field prepared you for this new field?
A:  I use the skills I developed while practicing law daily in my current role. I am constantly called to think on my feet, help explain new and sometimes confusing concepts, and convince businesses, political and educational leaders, students and their families, that college is not necessarily “the only way;” apprenticeships offer a firm career foundation as well as many benefits that other practices or paths cannot.

Q: What advice do you have for women who want to change jobs or professions?
A: Be true to yourself. Consider not only your current status, but your future goals too – and then evaluate what it will take to get to where you want to be. If you’re in a position where you must make compromises that don’t align with your core values or your “best self,” it may be time for a change. And, finally, seek the best advice from the best people, pray, and pay attention to signs. If signs point to yes, go for it!

Q: What’s next?
A: I look forward to the moment a few years from now when our TranZed Apprenticeships team can proudly say we have established a successful, well-run program that has helped many Maryland businesses and employees alike, and that has helped society as a whole to better understand and value apprenticeships. Indeed, our team enjoys considering which actors will play us in a future Oscar-winning movie about Maryland’s apprenticeship movement.

  • Age: 37
  • Education: J.D., University of Baltimore School of Law; B.A., English & Political Science, Mississippi State University
  • Favorite Movie: Gone With the Wind
  • Favorite Book: Gone With the Wind
  • Favorite Quote: “You can be true to the character all you want, but you’ve got to go home to yourself.” Julia Roberts
  • Favorite Vacation Destination: Lewes, Delaware – It’s nearby, charming and entirely relaxing!
  • Hobbies: Running, wine tastings, singing and reading
  • Family: I’m a proud mother to the most fun and stylish kid that I know, Caleb, who will be 5 in a couple of weeks. And wife to the calmest, most intelligent man that I know, Aaron.

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