Staff Spotlight – Kim Blueher
This month on our blog series, we are featuring VP of Lending, Kim Blueher. When WESST started in 1989, she joined to set up the micro-loan program, which she currently manages. She also teaches classes in Albuquerque on business planning and financial projections. We hope you enjoy!
What made you want to come to work for WESST?
I had the honor of joining WESST when it was first formed in 1989. At that time I was working as a commercial loan officer at a local bank in Albuquerque, just had my first child, and was wanting to work part-time. At the same time 3 women in Albuquerque, Jessica Glicken (a business consultant), Joellyn Murphy and Carol Radosavich (both with PNM in economic development) were forming a new non-profit called Women’s Economic Self Sufficiency Team to help low income and minority women in Albuquerque start and grow small businesses. I remember Jessica coming to my office one day and asking me if I would like to work part time getting the micro-loan program set up. Halleluiah! I jumped at the chance, and thankfully have been here ever since. Our office was in the PNM building and I clearly remember hauling my cute little babies out of the car, into the PNM building, past security, into the elevator and finally into our office.
What was your very first job?
I worked at a car wash that was located on the Southeast corner of Central and Carlisle. I was 16. I was posted at the end of the car wash where we dried off the cars after they came out of the tunnel. We wore big baggy red jumpsuits over our regular clothes. My favorite part was the cash tips.
What’s your favorite part of working here?
I have two favorites. Definitely our staff is #1. I love each and every one of them. I get so charged by the teamwork we engage in when helping clients, helping each other, teaching classes, or coming up with fun new ways to work with our clients. #2 is the work I do in the loan department. The ability to consider a loan request with the overall goal of doing the right thing for the client (which is sometimes not making the loan) and to support the client and their business with our other programs is a rare and wonderful thing.
What do you do when you are not working?
I don’t remember. Honestly. I live with two men at home who have autoimmune diseases and require most of my attention. I do have some vague memories of hiking, fly-fishing, reading books……I’m sure I’ll take that up again when I (dare I say it?) retire.
What do you wish people knew about WESST?
That we are a gold mine of support and education for small businesses. When someone becomes a WESST client, they suddenly have a group of wonderful people teaching them important stuff, listening carefully, connecting them with community resources, and cheering them on. Oh, and we make loans too.