Forty Under 40: Kimberly Bardell


Kimberly Bardell0026.vuKIMBERLY BARDELL, 35
Planning and policy program manager,
Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services

“I shall pass through this world only once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now.” These words, often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, are Kimberly Bardell’s mantra for life. In addition to her role at the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services, she was one of 12 selected for the Innovations in Louisiana Government Leadership program after conceptualizing the Neighborhood Preparedness Program.

Inspiring book: My Beloved World
This memoir traces Sonia Sotomayor’s journey from a Bronx housing project to becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice. It’s a testament to how brains, perseverance and hard work can overcome any obstacle.

Major professional accomplishments: My major professional accomplishments include serving the people of Louisiana through my work at the Department of Children and Family Services to improve the lives of others; and being part of an organization that keeps children safe, helps individuals and families become self-sufficient, and provides safe refuge during disasters. My professional  accomplishments also include conceptualization of the Louisiana Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Program through past participation in the Innovation in Louisiana Government Fellowship Program. I am also a past participant in the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Leadership Program and was selected as one of two through my graduate school alma mater Tulane University for a Public Health Leadership Program. I received a Bachelor of Science from Xavier University and a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University.  I have utilized my educational background in different settings.  My accomplishments also include serving as co-lead on a multimillion dollar United States Department of Agriculture funded obesity prevention project when I worked at a major research university. My major professional accomplishments are diverse but have one commonality; my work has and will continue to focus on improving the health and well-being of all individuals.

Volunteer and community involvement: My volunteer and community affiliations span from promoting thrift and credit to credit union members through board membership in E Federal Credit Union, promoting health through board membership at the Charles Lamar YMCA, advocating for abused and neglected children through past board membership in CASA, enhancing the lives of the disabled with access to Assistive Technology through past board membership with the Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network, and improving the community through membership in the Junior League. As a board Member of the Charles Lamar YMCA, I received the Greatest New Hero award for the 2014 Annual Community Support Campaign as one of the top fundraisers. Through membership in the Junior League, I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.  I am a past board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Capital Area and the Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN). I also participated in the John Barton Community Development Leadership Program.


When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be the best me I could be, the best sister, daughter, friend, and professional.

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it? My first job was at McDonald’s. I learned that work is hard but rewarding. I also learned how to make the perfect ice cream cone.

What is your favorite place for a business lunch in Baton Rouge?      Anywhere with a good salad. I have been a vegetarian since the age of six; therefore a great salad is a must for a business lunch.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement is yet to come.

The old saying goes, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Specifically, what are you “being” to make Baton Rouge better? Being committed to improve the health and well-being of all through volunteerism and work.

What was your professional aha moment?  The big secret in life is that there is no big secret.  Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work hard, sacrifice, and stay focused.

What did you learn the hard way? With every experience, I alone am painting my own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.


Mac or PC? PC

What’s your preferred mode of communication: text or phone call? Text

How low will you allow your remaining battery life to get (in %) before you have an anxiety attack? I would be worried at about 10% battery life; however, there is a simple solution to recharge the battery.  Nothing to have an anxiety attack over.


How many times do you hit the snooze button? Once.

Breakfast at home? Breakfast on the go? Breakfast at your desk? No breakfast at all? Breakfast on the go.

Is the glass half empty or half full? What’s in the glass? Half full.  Hope and optimism is in the glass.

What’s your motto?  “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you’ve imagined.” (Thoreau)

When did you realize you had grown up? When I started paying a mortgage.

Which living person do you most admire? Oprah Winfrey

What’s your most treasured possession? My health.

What do you most value in your friends? An open heart and deep honesty.

Who would play you in a movie? Kerry Washington.

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