Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 29 2014

Member Spotlight: President-Elect Kristen Kimbrel

Brad Plumb, CMP, Senior Sales Manager, Overland Park Convention Bureau

Our own Brad Plumb sat down with PCMA Heartland Chapter 2015 President-Elect, Kristen Kimbrel, CMP, Senior Meeting Planner, American Academy of Family Physicians

How did you get started in the hospitality industry?

My last summer at K-State, I decided that I wanted to get out of Kansas for my second internship. I applied to a YMCA Conference Center in Asheville, NC (YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly.) I spent three months there, which turned into about 5 years. I went from washing dishes, housekeeping and conference services, to the Conference Services Director when I left. I realized in those few years that planning was in my DNA and that I loved the hospitality industry! I also graduated from Kansas State University with a Hotel/Restaurant Management degree. I actually knew from an early age that I wanted to have something to do with hotels and of course traveling! 

How many years in association management?

I have been at AAFP for 9 years.

What would you consider your proudest professional accomplishment?

Earning my CMP. I am not the best test taker (nor avid studier!) and when I took the test back in 2008, it was old school: fill in the circle with a pencil type test in a room with 50 people. I was so nervous. When I received that official letter saying I had passed (6 weeks later), you would have thought I won the lottery!


Describe your most unique work experience:

Probably working at the YMCA Conference Center. We hosted all kinds of kids camps year round, church groups, reunions, etc. My days were so diverse and getting to meet people from all over the world was so much fun, those friendships have continued to this day. I was also able to spend a month working (and playing) in Stockholm, Sweden as a YMCA Ambassador during my early years with Blue Ridge. That experience in itself was amazing and being half Swedish, the memories will last a life time!


Favorite book?

I don't have one favorite - but I do have favorite authors. I enjoy James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks, although I have promised my friends that I will finish the first Fifty Shades of Grey book by February when the movie comes out!


Favorite restaurant?

Johnny's :)

Favorite vacation spot?

Asheville, NC - hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway, walking around downtown, seeing my friends, people watching, listening to live music on the street. It's my kind of heaven!


What would surprise us about you?

I am obsessed with all things golf. I play as much as I can, I watch even more. I am also a very devoted and proud aunt to my nephew Gevon who is 15 and nieces Emma, 8 and Grace, 6. I love spending as much time as I can with all of them! I also have become an insane dog mom. I adopted Mumford back in December of 2012 and he is the love of my life. :)


What would we find on your DVR?

Sons of Anarchy, Golf, NCIS, Law & Order, Criminal Minds


What’s on your iPad?

Facebook, Twitter, lots of news apps, Pandora


Regular weekend agenda?

Hanging out with my dog Mumford, yard work and projects around my house.

BBQ's with my friends and in the fall, and watching football!!!


Television show that you never miss:

There are so many! Criminal Minds


Idea of your perfect day off:

  • 18 holes of golf
  • Entertaining at my house...either BBQ outside and playing some Cornhole or sitting inside watching the Chiefs or the Royals!
  • Spending time with my family with whom I am very close.