State Policy Network is pleased to announce Kimberly Chalek is joining the team as the Director of Philanthropic Development. In this role, Kimberly will help state-based organizations grow their fundraising and leadership capacity. Kimberly was previously the Executive Vice President at the Platte Institute—Nebraska’s free-market think tank.
To help you get to know Kimberly, we asked her a few questions about her background and what drew her to a career in the freedom movement.
My father is retired Air Force and he has spent his entire career serving our country. It was always important for me to find a career where I was doing good work that mattered, and to me, I view working in the freedom movement as my way of serving our country.
There is something very powerful about working alongside a group of people committed to the same goal, especially when it’s a goal as profound and important as preserving freedom. We may not always agree, but at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: to make our country the freest, most prosperous place for our friends, families, and neighbors.
In 2009, I started as Director of Development for the Platte Institute in Nebraska. I loved it so much that I stayed for there for 10 years before starting my journey with SPN.
From my perspective as a former think tank leader and fundraiser (and now SPN staffer!), I believe the biggest opportunity for the freedom movement is developing strong leaders across all disciplines for today and tomorrow. In terms of policy, job licensing reform is one of my favorite issues to work on, mostly because of my connection with the military and knowing personally how restrictive state licensing puts up barriers to military spouses finding employment after they’ve been transferred.
I enjoy reading books, articles, and listening to podcasts about professional development, trends in philanthropy, and public policy. But the most inspirational thing for me is spending time in the community and getting to know the people who are impacted by the policies we advance.
What was one of your favorite moments at SPN’s Annual Meeting?
I think I’ve attended Annual Meeting seven or eight times. I’ve lost track. If I had to pick one favorite moment, it was probably the epic Jenga showdown between Todd Davidson and Sharon Milhollin in Denver. It was so intense in the best possible way. But in all seriousness, I always love how energizing, inspirational, and motivating Annual Meeting is—which I believe all of us who are engaged in this work need from time to time.
When you’re not improving the world at work, where are you likely to be found?
Nordstrom. Just kidding (kind of). Definitely spending time with my friends and family, especially my husband!
Tell us about your favorite hobbies and pastimes. Who are a few of your favorite authors, blogs, etc?
I’m not sure if eating can be considered a hobby, but I think it would definitely constitute a pastime. I really enjoy trying new restaurants and hunting down local wineries and breweries. I also spend a lot of time traveling to Chicago to spend the weekend with my family.
a history buff and my favorite genres are historical fiction and nonfiction.
Lately, I’ve been reading my way through Erik Larson’s books and I find them
fascinating. I also shamelessly love indulging in fashion and skin care blogs
and true crime podcasts (it’s all about balance, right?).