A Heartfelt Farewell to Kim Clist, Program Coordinator

kimberly-clistEvery organization needs a Kim Clist. And for the past eight years, Leadership Wisconsin has been fortunate enough to have the real deal. As Kim prepares to leave her position as Program Coordinator with Leadership Wisconsin, we would like to congratulate her on her new position with Beloit College, and honor her many contributions to Leadership Wisconsin.

Kim began her position as Program Coordinator in October, 2008, when Group XIII was just beginning their Signature Program experience. Since then, she has contributed to the leadership development of over 90 Wisconsin leaders in five cohorts of Signature Program Fellows. For each group of Fellows, Kim arranged the meetings and logistics for each seminar, contributed meaningful curriculum ideas, and was truly a friend and source of support to each group.

“Kim has an amazing and warm spirit. She makes everyone feel welcome and included. I have found in Kim a tremendous team player, a caring and dedicated colleague, and a close friend,” said executive director, Sarah Schlosser.

With a passion for personal connections and development, Kim has gone above and beyond her job description by piloting the Signature Program mentoring program for Group XVII. She designed an opportunity that would connect current fellows with alumni to help support them through their leadership journey. Her significant efforts have not gone unnoticed.


“Leadership is something that I have had the honor to witness and watch demonstrated rather than be taught in a box setting,” said Aurora Conley, Group XVII Fellow. “Kim is that leader and it has been an honor to join her this last year.”

Although Leadership Wisconsin has undergone significant transition during Kim’s time as Program Coordinator, she has remained rooted in the ideals and values that make Leadership Wisconsin an asset to the state. Through the transition from one executive director to another, she was the constant that helped keep Leadership Wisconsin going—at times, supporting the organization on her own through sheer determination and a passion for seeing the personal growth of each and every leader.

Kim supervised eleven different student staff during her time with Leadership Wisconsin. Mentoring and supporting each with the intent that Leadership Wisconsin grows leaders in every corner of the organization. “Kim taught me more than she will ever know,” said Kaitlin O’Brien, a former student Communications Assistant. “She has provided so much passion, knowledge, patience and dedication to Leadership Wisconsin and leaders across the state.”

We thank Kim for her significant contributions to the organization. Contributions that have helped the organization, its programs, and its participants improve, evolve and thrive. The Leadership Wisconsin team wishes Kim nothing but the best as she assumes her new position at Beloit College.

A Note From Kim

Almost 9 years ago, when I first read the job description for my position at Leadership Wisconsin (then, still the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program), I was intrigued, and had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew that something important was happening here and I wanted to be a part of it. Over the years I have come to fully understand what Leadership Wisconsin does – in minute detail. More importantly, I’ve come to believe in what Leadership Wisconsin means. Choosing to leave an organization that resonates so deeply with my core values is probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. However, one of the things I have learned from my time with Leadership Wisconsin is that being pushed outside your comfort zone is a powerful thing and individual growth is a SAFARI (which means “journey” in Swahili). So, it’s time I take the advice I have given so many fellows in the past: Trust yourself and just try it on. I am excited to start this next leg of my professional safari and it is also sad to leave the people of this organization – fellows, alumni, board members, educators, directors, and my students! My promise is that I will remain committed to Leadership Wisconsin. I will stay connected with and continue to support the organization that means so much to me, just in different ways. Which means I don’t really have to say good-bye. I can say, “see you later.” And I WILL!

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