The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts recently announced that for the first time, it was promoting from within for its President’s position. Their pick is Kim Baker, a woman with almost 20 years of experience. She is the first woman and the first Kentuckian to hold the job. She’s also a breast cancer survivor, so to say that she is up to the challenge of running a venue that’s been voted best in the state for music, theater and dance would be an understatement. Without further ado, meet this month’s FACE of Louisville, Kim Baker.
What do you do for a living?
I help people create a lifelong relationship with the arts. Some would call that being the president and CEO of The Kentucky Center.
How does it feel to the be the first woman and the first Kentuckian to ever have that job?
It feels like an awesome responsibility. And it feels AMAZING. I wish my grandmother, who was such a strong woman, were alive to see this. I am glad my mother is alive to see this; for she has supported me every single step of the way.
Have you always worked in the performing arts?
I have, except for when I did some babysitting in the seventh grade. Oh, and I waited tables through college.
You are a breast cancer survivor. How has this focused you?
As a survivor, you become keenly aware of priorities, both personal and professional. And my ability to be empathetic has skyrocketed.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
I don’t! A great deal of my job is being in tune with the cultural beat of the community. So I try and involve friends and family in experiencing cultural events as often as I can. There definitely is not a 40-hour workweek in my future, but having done this for over 20 years I don’t know any other way!
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
Pay attention to your body. Your health is everything.
Who is your mentor?
I have many mentors. Three of them are super-successful, very philanthropic and have a huge war chest they are willing to share. One is male; he has mentored me at crucial points in my career and is no-nonsense. Another was a survivor and mentored me through treatment. The third person has mentored me through it all: work, life, breast cancer and love! I’d say the one thing that all of them have in common is they freely give of advice, even when it is tough to hear. They ultimately support me and empower me to make my own decisions.
What is best advice you have received in business?
“Not every idea that’s good will work.” That and, “Know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em.” Was that Kenny Rogers?
What job would you secretly love to have?
Yoga instructor, and I don’t even do yoga! But I’ve never met a yoga instructor that didn’t appear to be blissfully happy.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a country girl at heart and love, love bluegrass music.
What is your favorite place to eat?
Sapporo Sushi, but only when my husband is with me. We use to live at the sushi bar before we had children (and before we had the bills that followed).
Where do you like to shop?
I don’t have time to shop, so I’m often stuck shopping online. For that I go to Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Zappos.
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
Deep-tissue massage, absolutely.
What is your weakness?
Movies from the Lifetime Movie Network. They are terrible, but I can’t stay away from them. (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I’m assuming other than attending cultural events? I love to take my kids on “adventures.” We often end up at one of the parks, and there are so many great parks.
What are three things you cannot live without, besides faith, family and friends?
A hot shower, feather bedding and great music.
What are you reading?
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer.
What are three of your “favorite” things?
Samantha, Olivia and Georgia Mae
It was great reconnecting with Kim Baker, someone I had not seen in more than 12 years. She is still such a wealth of knowledge and positive energy. We wish her all the best in her new position. For more information about the Kentucky Center, click here: www.kentuckycenter.org
As always, much gratitude to my FACES photographer Adele Reding and her fantastic work. See her profile here: www.facebook.com