>>Women AdvaNCe is featuring personal stories about North Carolina women leading up to our second NC Women’s Summit on September 26th, 2014. This year’s Summit will feature panel discussions, cultural presentations, and leadership trainings by community leaders, activists, and academics. Kim Pevia has been a leader in many aspects of her life and has been instrumental in helping launch and lead one of our largest AdvaNCe Teams. >>Join us
BY MEG FOSTER
Kim Pevia does not believe in accidents. When I spoke with her at her home in Red Springs, North Carolina, she described her somewhat unconventional path to her current job as president of the Pembroke Area Chamber of Commerce. Pevia jokes that if someone had told her ten years ago that this is where she would end up, she would have laughed. Pevia’s first jobs out of college were in sales management and real estate, but somewhere along the way she discovered her calling as a life coach and keynote speaker. It’s her experience with inspiration that has given her the tools to find success in all of her other roles in life – from president of the Chamber of Commerce to board president of the Southeastern Family Violence Center to committee chair of the American Indian Women of Proud Nations Conference.
When I asked Pevia what a life coach does, she explained that a life coach “takes someone from where they are to where they want to go.” Pevia’s work as a life coach includes facilitating workshops that teach youth, professionals, and different communities about personal development, leadership development, team development, and community development. Whether its addressing a personal issue or a political issue, Pevia emphasizes the importance of communication and understanding between individuals, noting that we’d be able to get a lot more work done in North Carolina if all of us just put more effort into speaking to and understanding one another.
Although Pevia works with anyone in need of career or personal advice, much of her passion lies in empowering women specifically. Pevia believes that two of the most pressing issues in her community, Robeson County, are closing the leadership and wage gaps between men and women. According to Pevia, “women lead differently than men. They are more collaborative and deliberate. All the decisions are made by the leader we choose, so me must choose leaders that consider and value the role of women in business, family, and community.”
In order to raise the conversation about the role of women in business, family, and community, last year Pevia helped found a local Women AdvaNCe Team, Women Advance NC Redefining Robeson County. As a chapter of Women AdvaNCe, the Robeson Team aims to take the broader mission of Women AdvaNCe and apply it to the specific issues facing women in Robeson. In June, Pevia and two other members of the Robeson AdvaNCe Team attended the White House Summit on Working Families, where they listened to speeches from President Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and others, as well as joined in on a discussion with women from across the country facing similar problems and fighting for similar goals.
Since Pevia helped establish the Robeson AdvaNCe Team, its membership has grown tremendously. Even more important than numbers, Redefining Robeson County has managed to attract members from all corners of the community, crossing boundaries of race, class, and even gender. The members of this team are sparking a new dialogue in Robeson County and finding new ways (due much to Pevia’s own workshops) to engage in the hard conversations without encouraging hostility. On a final note, Pevia states that “if things are to change in this country, women must take their rightful place and men must support them in doing this. We must lead to change.” As is evident in all of the work that she does, Pevia is already leading to change, by leading by example.