”She’s that big!” — CBS News
Kim’s weekly three-hour call-in talk radio show is heard (via her own national radio network called WestStar) on over 470 stations. In addition, she does a Digital Minute radio feature five days a week; has written ten books about life in the digital age; sends out close to 10 million e-mail newsletters weekly; and authors a widely syndicated newspaper column, which also runs in USA Today.com. She does all of this, while raising a son and operating a growing media empire, with her husband and associate, Barry Young.
“I am relentless in my pursuits,” says Kim. “It’s a lot of hard work, but when you dig what you do, it makes it a lot more fun.”
A pioneer in marketing and training for home computers, recently won the 2007 Gracie Award, voted by Talker’s Magazine “Woman of the Year” and the answer to a question in the game Trivial Pursuit, Kim has evolved into a national digital guru. “It’s not about techies and computer-troubleshooting anymore,” she says. “It’s now about a lifestyle – the lifestyle of a digital age.” Most recently, she was a featured speaker while attending Fortune Magazines’ 2009 Most Powerful Woman Summit, a prestigious meeting of the nation’s top CEOs including Yahoo!, Xerox, Dupont and Warren Buffett.
No overnight success
Kim has built a media legacy driven by her passion for “all things digital.” Born and raised in New Jersey, her father was a successful businessman. Her mother was part of the team that developed the UNIX operating system.
Business and computer technology were a staple at home. She fondly remembers: “When my father would ask me what I did in school, if I didn’t have anything noteworthy to tell him, he would make me read an article in the Wall Street Journal and then report back to him what I learned.”
It might not have been as much fun as playing with Ken and Barbie, but it made a lasting impression on Kim.
She graduated from high school at 16 and Arizona State University when she was 20. By then, she had set up a successful business, training people to use their computers.
“I’ll never forget one of my first classes. It had about 20 people in it, and in the front row was the president of a bank and next to him was an 8-year-old. I told the class to turn on their computers, and the kid leaned over to the bank president and said, ‘It’s that switch over there…’”
That business made Kim realize just how universal the computer age had become. She began envisioning her empire, which would come in less than 10 years.
After stints at IBM and AT&T in sales, Kim joined Unisys, selling mainframe systems to big clients, including Motorola, Hughes and, in particular, Honeywell. The latter was embroiled in a lawsuit with Unisys when Kim got the account.
“It was assumed I was going to die on the vine,” she remembers. But Kim sold Honeywell a system for $12 million, cash.