We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Reynolds and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Kim Reynolds – Entrepreneur/Philanthropist/Adventurer
I’ve been in the business of empowering women for many years. This quest started in 1999 when I co-founded Chicks with Picks, a women’s ice climbing program in Ouray, CO. Here, women learned to face their fears and gain confidence through learning to ice climb. Our motto was “kiss my axe,” and we held a sassy attitude to keep the program approachable and fun. We were about “women climbing with women, for women,” and we raised money for the local women’s shelter and became their largest donor through live public auctions.
“Chicks” was at the cutting edge as there was nothing like it at the time. We were featured on the Today Show, NBC News, Shape Magazine, Rock & Ice, Fitness Magazine and so many other publications over the years that highlighted this unique program. I sold the business after running it for 16 years, and it still exists today, 22 years later!
Around the same time, I co-founded a non-profit called the dZi Foundation that works in partnership with isolated communities in Nepal to create lasting improvements in their quality of life. In the beginning, we supported efforts to stop young girls from getting sold into the sex trade.
A few years later, I founded Mind Over Mountains transformational retreats for women, integrating life coaching to support sustainable change. This evolved into its current iteration of running women’s leadership programs.
In 2015, I was inducted into the American Mountaineering Hall of Excellence – honoring both my climbing achievements and giving back to women, and this brought a nice finale’ to this phase of my life.
After I sold “Chicks,” I decided to take my coaching and leadership skills to the next level so I put my big girl shoes on and entered the corporate world. Here, I became an executive coach and facilitator in the Leadership Development arena for the last seven years.
When COVID became a reality and my corporate gig ended, I decided to put my entrepreneurial hat back on and start a women’s specific leadership program. I call it The Peak Leadership Experience. Here, my mission is to change the world one female leader at a time. This transformational program gives professional women the skills and confidence to work their way up the leadership ladder and get the position and pay they deserve.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I have realized later in life, that I have always followed my dreams and figured out a way to get there. Call me naive, but it never occurred to me that I couldn’t. This belief has carried me through and it kept me focused on what is possible.
My first dream was inspired from the back of our family station wagon driving to CO for a family ski vacation when I was in grade school. When I saw the mountains for the first time, I decided I was going to grow up and climb them, be a ski patroller and live in a log cabin (which became a yurt in reality). I like to say that “I had to get through junior high and high school to get there.”
During my senior year of high school, I saved enough money working at a Burger King to pay for an Outward Bound Course – where I got to climb mountains, backpack and camp for the first time. Here I became hooked and three years later, I became an Outward Bound instructor.
When I was 19, I read a book about Antarctica and the explorations of Ernest Shackleton, and decided I wanted to go to the South Pole. A few years later I landed a job as a survival school instructor and got to visit Shackleton’s hut. I saw landscapes in the Antarctic I will never see again.
My senior thesis for college was a 1,200-mile solo traverse of Utah by way of backpacking, kayaking, rafting and mountain biking, studying geology and natural sciences along the way. This was before cell phones, GPS or any other device to communicate with the outside world. I had a map and compass, and I would call my mom from a pay phone about every three weeks from a resupply.
Maybe my biggest challenge was being a woman in a man’s world – working in the Outdoor Industry in the early days when there were few women. I just never chose to see it as an obstacle and would look for a way to move towards what I wanted. I always enjoyed the men I worked with and felt they were open to having more women in the professional arena – and maybe I just chose to associate with the men who accepted me, and ignored the rest.
I believe my strength has always been choosing a positive perspective and having the ability to focus on that. The world around me is miraculous and the world I choose to see is the world I want to live in. I feel very blessed to be able to say this.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
In a nutshell, I’m an entrepreneur and creator of programs that don’t yet exist. I can see around the corner, envision what the program/business will look like and then realize it. I love branding and creating a strong image that goes with the program. The Peak Leadership Experience responds to the need for more feminine energy in positions of power within the professional arena. I want to acknowledge that we have come a long way and are celebrating the first woman, of color, Vice President of the United States, and we are making progress all over the world. I want to contribute to this momentum.
I can now see that my women’s ice climbing clinics and women’s leadership program have a lot in common: women thrive in a safe, supportive learning environment surrounded by other women, and when given the tools and skills to become a competent, with practice, it builds the confidence to take control of their life and really go for it!
The only thing that holds any of us back is our limiting beliefs. My specialty is busting that myth because I believe that women are limitless.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
For my mom who died last October at age 93. She believed in me and always told me I could.
Website: Mind Over Mountains – www.mindovermountains.com
Linkedin: Kim Reynolds – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-reynolds-647b276/
Facebook: Professional Women Empowered to Lead – https://www.facebook.com/groups/professionalwomenleaders
Youtube: Kim Reynolds – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCovs4B0mUJEtQw2mifWPVAQ
Other: Attend my free 45-minute training that introduces “The 5 shifts female leaders make to gain the confidence to climb the career leader” and see if it resonates with you: https://joinnow.live/s/7iKFiw Then book free Breakthrough Call and we will look at what’s working for you and what isn’t. Together, we will map out a plan to get you to where you want to go. It will be worth your time!
Angela Atkinson – first portrait of me with shawl around my shoulders. Rich Durnan – photo of me in helmet surrounded by helmets Drew Semel – close up of me in purple helmet Peter O’Neil – me and my dog