Seaver College | 2003
Graziadio Business School | 2008
Chief Administrative Officer, Central California Food Bank
What does being an honoree of this campaign mean to you?
This is an incredible honor to be included in the Outstanding Alumni | Women in Leadership campaign.
Describe your success story.
I was able to leverage two degrees from Pepperdine. My first job out of undergrad was working for Pepperdine's Church Relations in an incredible career in nonprofit management. The tools I gained as a student and an employee have opened so many doors in my career. Today, I serve as chief administrative officer of Central California Food Bank, the largest hunger relief organization in Central California. In my role I oversee fundraising, human resources, accounting, and inventory. Collectively, we provide food to more than 280,000 children, families, and seniors each year.
How has Pepperdine played a role in your success?
In my role as chief administrative officer of one of the largest nonprofits in Central California, I regularly employ the skills I learned in and out of the classroom at Pepperdine. Skills like servant leadership, community building, and dedication to service have all played a vital role in my success.
During my time at Pepperdine, I had incredible professors who challenged my thinking and pushed me to stretch beyond what I thought I was capable of, and for that I extremely grateful. But the most significant impact was made through the accessibility of professors and high-level administration. There was rarely a semester in undergrad that a class wasn't invited in to the home of a professor to share a meal, dig deeper in to key learnings, and experience life together. In community, that was where the real learning took place.
Early in my freshman year, my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I were invited to a weekly Bible study hosted by President and First Lady Benton. I attended the Bible study throughout my time at Seaver College and the Graziadio School of Business. It was there that I was able to experience firsthand servant leadership and a ministry of hospitality. At the time it felt so natural and commonplace that I didn't fully appreciate the sacrifice and dedication it took for them to open their home, to be fully present in our lives, and at the same time successfully lead the University.
Describe a lesson you've learned from a challenging time in your career or life.
I have learned that you should pick a career that you love where you feel you are making a difference, and the rest will fall in to place. For me, that is nonprofit management. Making a difference looks different to everyone. But money won't make you happy. Titles and big offices won't make you happy. There are tough days and seasons in all careers. But it's important that you spend your limited time doing something you love.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe my leadership style as fair, firm, and fun.
"Making a difference looks different to everyone. But money won't make you happy. Titles and big offices won't make you happy. There are tough days and seasons in all careers. But it's important that you spend your limited time doing something you love."
Kym Dildine ('03, MBA '08)
Who has helped you achieve success in your career?
My family. I have an incredible, supportive husband, children, parents, and in-laws that help me manage my career and bustling life (with five kids) at home.
What's next for you?
Right now, I am leading our team to create innovative solutions to addressing poverty and hunger in our community. My goal is to make an even larger impact in Central California because no one should have to go to bed hungry.
What was your first job?