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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
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Kim Despres

CEO

Circle the City

Location: Phoenix

Founded: 2012

Industry: Nonprofit Healthcare

One of Kim Despres’ greatest accomplishments of the last year was securing the largest grant in the history of Circle the City, which aims to provide healthcare for individuals experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County.

Despres, who is on the Titan list for the second time and serves as CEO of Circle the City, aims to establish a new 75-bed medical respite center to cater to the needs of homeless individuals with serious illnesses or trauma. The facility will not only address medical and behavioral health but also touch on other facets of health.

“Over my career, the most important risks I took were to apply for positions I wasn’t quite qualified for but I knew I had the transferable skills,” Despres said. “Knowing this, I was confident I could take on any role and be successful. Again, I also think you need to rely on your team to support your vision and mission and make sure they are aligned with the same expectations — and the tools to succeed. Sometimes, it feels like a leap of faith, but for me, it has been extremely rewarding and impactful.”

Under the guidance of Despres, Circle the City has provided healthcare services to more than 8,000 people in Maricopa County.

Despres participates in networking events and presentations to raise awareness about Circle the City’s services and its mission to end homelessness. Her priorities include strengthening the nonprofit’s workforce through succession planning, internal education and development programs. In the coming year, her goals are to expand services in the eastern part of Maricopa County and enhance employee recruitment and retention.

Despres serves as a member of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council Board of Directors. Her work has been recognized with the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year award.

“One of the most important attributes of successful leaders today is to be focused on ‘people first,’” Despres said. “Leaders must create a positive working and culturally sensitive environment. This in turn impacts recruitment and retention and employee engagement. It’s also vital to install a leadership team you trust implicitly, and one which is empowered to make decisions and lead their teams. This creates a workplace which is strong, sensitive, and responsible for their actions. I think leadership starts at the top but has many layers of skillful employees to make everything sync and be in harmony to collaborate for optimal outcomes.”

Presented by:

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Comerica Bank

A fun fact about myself is that I have my personal training certification and teach group fitness on the side. Despite my work in healthcare, I’ll admit, I didn’t always have the healthiest lifestyle. For years, I struggled with finding a work/life balance. I was overweight, out of shape, and lacked the energy to function at my optimal level. One day I made the decision to commit to a regular exercise program and a healthy diet. It was tough at first. In time, I lost 70 pounds and even got my exercise training certification. It has been life-changing. As CEO of one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing nonprofit organizations in the county, it’s my job to lead, manage, motivate, strategize, and plan. It’s also my job to create a working environment for our employees that encourages the self-care I finally discovered. In the medical field, our focus is on taking care of our patients. One of my most important roles as CEO is encouraging our dedicated, hard-working employees to take care of themselves.

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