Each week Rachel Moore is on the hunt to find out what makes Canberra special to all the wonderful folks who live here.
It would be easy to discuss Kim Vella, oops I mean Dr Vella’s spectacular achievements at length, but this article would be 20,000 words. Kim holds a PhD in Sociology from the Australian National University, an Executive Masters of Public Administration from the Australian National University in partnership with the Australian and New Zealand School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with First Class Honours to boot from James Cook University. Quite frankly though, the pieces of paper Kim holds are probably the least interesting thing about her.
It would be entirely appropriate to call Kim “Dr Ardent” as a substitute to Dr Vella. Kim has a fierce passionate charisma that radiates from her as an individual and in every piece of remarkable work she has undertaken. Kim is a leader in both the Canberra and national community spending a significant part of her (spare) time volunteering, and in 2016, founded the Network of Possibility. The network supports local professional and business women wanting to give back to their community raising much needed funds for organisations such as the Tara Costigan Foundation and beyondblue
Kim coaches future and current executives in the art of mastering not only fulfilling careers, but also living a satisfying personal life. Kim had an incredibly successful career but after experiencing personal tragedy and trauma, her perspective of the world changed. Her sociology studies probably also guided this shift, but in every aspect of her life now, whether that be coaching, volunteering, the network or in her interpersonal relations, Kim urges us all to follow our dreams.
Kim has the perfect formula for helping people both envision and materialise their dreams because Kim’s passion in life is people. Stretching out her dedicated, generous, enthusiastic and supportive hand to all those around her, attempting to raise all folks around her as high as they will go, no matter the dream. Kim’s Dr Ardent handshake greeting is one you would not want to miss.
Name – Kim Vella.
Age – 45.
Occupation – I worked in the public service for many years – 10 years at the EL 1 and EL2 levels, followed by seven years at the SES Band 1 level.
A car accident and death of a close family member prompted my switch to full-time executive coaching in 2015. These events really stopped me in my tracks. I felt like I had come to a T-intersection, and had to make some tough decisions about which direction to take next.
I took a bit of a risk by starting my own business, Kim Vella Coaching. But it has been absolutely the best decision for me. I work directly with clients – using a strengths-based coaching methodology – to empower them to reach their career goals, whatever they are.
How long have you lived in Canberra – Since 1994, and counting!
North, South or Q-town – Unashamably north-centric.
Most memorable event attended in the ACT – My PhD graduation ceremony at the ANU. My mum was videoing it but realised pretty early that she didn’t bring any film (old school back then!). She kept up the pretence of filming it because she didn’t want me to get upset. It was hilarious because it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway – and mum’s acting was so good. Her pretence became the highlight of the day!
Things you love about Da Berra – I grew up in the country and #CBR has all the trappings of the Big Smoke with all of the aesthetics of the country, including sheep paddocks and down-to-earth people.
What you loath about the city – Canberra bashing.
Most cherished memory in the capital – Births of my niece and nephew – totally amazing to be there when they were born. I’ve developed unique and special relationships with each of them. I have been at every special occasion since their births too, from Christmases and birthdays, to their first day of school and school dances. My life wouldn’t make sense without them.
Which Canberra local do you most admire and why – Everyone supporting and caring for Canberrans with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers, especially around the time of death.
Most precious item you own – When my mum was dying, she gave me a bunch of things. The most precious and special to me is a love heart with my three brothers and my images engraved on it. There’s also my whippet, Oscar. He doesn’t feel like an item I own but when you ask me about something precious in my life, I’m always going to mention Oscar! He’s my shadow.
First Canberra kiss, and where – Ha ha! You’re kidding, right?
Most delicious Berra place you adore eating at – Surveyor’s Hill Winery. We go here for special family occasions. The food is amazing and the owners are very welcoming. The kids love it there, too, because they can explore the winery grounds when they get bored!
What do you want to be when you grow up – Following my dreams and my passions. Like many of us, I pursued a career I thought I ‘should’ be doing – and I was good at it. I would be hard-pressed to say I loved it, all the time. I did, for a period. What I didn’t recognise soon enough was that I stopped loving it – we all change, people around us change, and sometimes we pursue a vision set in the past, without checking whether it’s still relevant to our future, or what we still want.
Now, hand on heart, I can honestly tell you I love what I do as an executive coach. While you will hear stories of people who do amazing things by “following their passion”, I know a successful career transition also involves a plan – a practical strategy, and good support.
Your social media handles – @kim_vella_coaching | facebook.com/kimvellacoaching
What is a question you would like to ask everyone in Canberra – How would you like Canberra to look and feel in 15 years – and what will you do to make your vision a reality? I want it to be more inclusive and supportive of people on the margins. That is why I founded the Network of Possibility, a philanthropic endeavour which uses the unique skills of local professionals to raise much-needed funds for our local charities. In our first year, we have proudly supported the Tara Costigan Foundation (TCF). The Network has contributed over $2000 to TCF from just three events. We hope to make an even bigger contribution to more organisations in our second year.
Caption’s: Top, Kim Vella and her dog Oscar. Middle, Kim Vella. Above, Kim Vella and her dog Oscar. Photo’s by Sue Dowling.