Entrepreneur, insurance expert, and community leader Kimberly McMorris knows how it feels to be silenced and powerless. At the age of 12, she was molested by her stepfather’s brother and witnessed her favorite aunt’s life being taken by her uncle. Those were just two of many experiences that created a history of trauma that took her decades to overcome.
However, now that she has managed to overcome her trials, her mission is to help other women use their pain as fuel to propel them to the lives they desire. One way she plans to do that is through her upcoming autobiography, Shadows & Sunshine, set for release in December.
“My purpose is really to empower women,” McMorris said. “When I think of where I am right now compared to where I used to be, it is night and day. I was a broken person, but I have finally found my voice and my purpose, and I want to help other women to pick up the pieces and step into theirs.”
Finding herself meant enduring childhood sexual and domestic abuse, narrowly escaping the drug game, and ultimately getting on the long road to recovery after joining the military and getting therapy. Much of this is covered in her book, and she also shares her journey and lessons during speaking engagements at conferences and women’s events.
From Trauma to Freedom
“The best thing I ever could have done was go and get some therapy. It freed me because I had to forgive myself and then I had to forgive others,” she said. “I had to realize this world owes me nothing. There are so many individuals who are holding onto past issues and trauma, whether it is mommy and daddy issues, or relationship issues. This is holding them back personally and professionally. We have to learn to move on and empower ourselves to make our futures better than our past.”
A key moment for McMorris was when she learned that two of her nieces had been molested. Dealing with that news reminded her of the pain and trauma she endured as a young girl. Yet, she realized that in order for her nieces to overcome their trauma, she had to be strong and walk them through it. She eventually took custody of them.
In the last few years, McMorris has become a recognized figure in the city of Atlanta due to her tenacity, service, and volunteerism. She is the co-owner and COO of First Priority Insurance with her husband, in addition to working as a strategic impact consultant for various community organizations and leaders. A master connector, she is frequently spotted at social and networking functions or planning and facilitating business events addressing economic development, education, and empowerment with high-powered local, national, and international leaders.
Attacking the wealth gap and improving mental health is of key importance to McMorris. Also, promoting collaboration and the flow of business between Black America and Africa. She ran initiatives through Black Wall Street USA and is currently the Director of Public Affairs for the Conference of Black Mayors. McMorris has taken several trips to Africa to build relationships with numerous organizations and is planning to host a delegation from Cameroon in Atlanta, among other things.
The caliber of her work and her position as a real difference-maker is something she never could have imagined ten years ago. She understands that everything she experienced in her past is the reason she now possesses the ability to navigate chaos and function in high-pressure situations.
“I believe in making an impact in peoples lives by building bridges, not just in business, but in family as well,” she said. “In order to accomplish that, I had to set myself free. I had to discover my strength. Because I have, I can help the broke and the broken – especially women, to discover theirs and find success and purpose.”
Published First on Grit Daily. Read Here.
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