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Kimberly WieflingKimberly Wiefling is a Founding Member and Global Consultant at Silicon Valley Alliances, where she transforms managers into leaders and groups of people into teams. Known for her unique style, Kimberly’s superpower is bringing people with diverse backgrounds and cultures together, connecting them across borders, boundaries, and barriers of every kind, to achieve what seems impossible but which none could achieve alone.

As a serial entrepreneur, long-time consultant, coach, trusted advisor, and valued partner working with global companies, Kimberly has used her expertise with culturally diverse employees in over 100 countries, including the US, Europe, and Asia, and in 50 Japanese companies.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Kimberly Wiefling shares how she was involved in stereotypically male activities and roles
  • How Kimberly went from Air Force avionics technician to working in Silicon Valley
  • Kimberly’s experience working for startup businesses, the dot-com bust, and where that led
  • Kimberly’s work with Japanese companies and doing a lot of coaching, consulting, and leadership programs as a result
  • Why building trust and fostering psychological safety is crucial for team building and innovation
  • Kimberly describes Silicon Valley Alliances and how it came together
  • How going virtual in March 2020 opened up significant opportunities

In this episode…

Do you own a business that needs a transformation, but you’re not sure where to start? Does your company struggle to compete in the global marketplace?

Learning how to turn managers into leaders, construct a solid team, foster innovation, and deal with culturally diverse people can be game-changers. As a worldwide expert consultant and advisor, Kimberly Wiefling has leveraged the power of her experiences to help global businesses conquer what seems almost impossible. With her experience collaborating with culturally diverse groups, Kimberly imparts her knowledge to company leaders so they can tread the business world and effectively scale in the international landscape.

In this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, John Corcoran sits down with Kimberly Wiefling, Founding Member and Global Consultant at Silicon Valley Alliances. Kimberly describes her journey to becoming an expert consultant and how her leadership programs strengthen companies from the inside out. She also talks about her unique interests and coaching style, why she became an Air Force avionics technician, how she ended up working with Japanese companies for 10 years, and what she’s doing now.

Resources mentioned in this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:12

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran. Here I am the co host of this show. And for those of you who have not listened to any of these podcast episodes before, you can check out our archives we’ve got all kinds of interesting interviews with smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies. Check out interviews with the co founders or CEOs of Netflix, Kinkos, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard lending tree, and many more. And I’m also the co founder Rise 25, where I help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And we also want to give a big shout out to EO San Francisco, which this episode is brought to you by EO Entrepreneurs Organization is a global peer to peer network of more than 16,000 Plus influential business owners with 200 chapters in 60. Plus countries if you’re a founder or co founder owner, or controlling shareholder of a company generating over a million dollars a year in revenue, and you want to connect with other like minded successful entrepreneurs, eo is really for you. And iOS. San Francisco is the local chapter in the San Francisco Bay area. You can learn more at All right. My guest here today is Kimberly Wiefling. She is a longtime consultant, coach, advisor, trusted advisor valued partner, she works with companies globally, we’re going to talk about all of the work that she’s done in India, and Japan and in different countries. She likes to say she turns managers into leaders and turns groups into real teams that can get the impossible done. And so I’m really excited to talk with you Kimberly about that. But first, you grew up in rural Pennsylvania family of welders, you say that if you were born a male, you would have been a welder your entire life. But you took the next ticket out of there, which was joining the military, which was your ticket getting out of rural Pennsylvania. But even before that, I want to get to this as a kid you raise money because you wanted to go to a different high school.

Kimberly Wiefling 2:03

I did, I collected junk around the house and the neighborhood and things and I went to the flea market every week and I would sell things at the flea markets. I could get money to go to a special high school Catholic girls school where you had to wear a uniform. Why did I want to go that bad? I don’t remember.

John Corcoran 2:22

And you do you pay for it yourself from all this? Crazy?

Kimberly Wiefling 2:27

Yeah, it’s crazy. And I’m not as crazy as the fact that when I left home, joined the military, I joined the US Air Force so I could get the GI bill because I wanted to get money for college. I got a marksman ribbon because I’m a really good shot. Because I grew up hunting and fishing and BB guns and guns in the backyard. And

John Corcoran 2:45

yeah, so there must have been some stories there. Were a good shot. Were you impressed? Some or were some man got a little embarrassed. There’s got to be some kind of story around. Yeah, that sounds like a scene from a movie really? Actually.

Kimberly Wiefling 3:03

That for a different podcast? Yeah. That’s

John Corcoran 3:06

really cool. So you So you joined the Air Force. And you were actually an avionics technician. So you’re working on the technology that goes into planes,

Kimberly Wiefling 3:17

right? Yeah, he’s working on F four jets, helicopters and cargo planes. And I, you know it sit in the cockpit of the f4 jet and troubleshoot the electronics and then figure out which box to pull out and take back to the job to fix it. And then you know, hope the ejection seat would launch me into the air while I was troubleshooting.

John Corcoran 3:37

Wow. And you said that that actually happened?

Kimberly Wiefling 3:40

Well, someone did that, I think on purpose. But the worst thing that happened on purpose, like, Yeah, I think he wanted to go for a ride. Well, he wanted to kill himself. So he launched himself into the roof of the hangar, so I was real careful not to touch that button or that pull that cord. When I was driving to work one day, I one of the Air Force screamed overhead came to a stop and fell like wily Coyote, four cars ahead of me and blew up. So it wasn’t without risk, even though it was not in a time of war. So now I can always tell people hey, I’ve served my country. Have you ever had a plane almost fall on you?

John Corcoran 4:16

Yeah, well, you’re dealing with incredibly heavy, heavy machinery. You’re dealing with explosives, all that kind of stuff. combustible materials for

Kimberly Wiefling 4:24

jet has a glide ratio of zero. I mean, I’m a physicist by education. And that just means when it stops, it drops.

John Corcoran 4:30

Wow. Wow, nuts. So you ended up going and you get a job, actually, after that working for Hewlett Packard. So this is the beginning of you starting to work for Silicon Valley companies.

Kimberly Wiefling 4:42

Well, I was working at Hewlett Packard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and little did I know at the time, though, I was one of the first two female repair men. That’s what they called me, you know, women repair man, and my customers would see I was taking all these tools and I’d go and work on mass spectrometers and gas chromatograph liquid Chromatographs and Auto samplers, and they would say, Look, she’s going to use wrenches. And I’m like, oh, yeah, I got a gear puller, too. You want to see it. It’s so exciting.

John Corcoran 5:08

I have to make an observation here because my grandfather, my father and grandfather were in the Air Force. My grandfather, typical stoic pilot personalities, very taciturn type of individual. And a lot of military people are like that. Is there a point where you kind of realize my personality is not really cut out for this kind of the both the the kind of the military type of hierarchy, and also maybe the corporate world too?

Kimberly Wiefling 5:35

Well, you know, you’re talking about your, your relatives were officers. And that’s a very different thing to be an officer in the military. My observation at that time, being an enlisted enlisted people like me, we went in there because we didn’t really feel like we had many options. And for me, if I wanted to go to college, I needed to get the GI Bill. Because back at that time, I was a girl and my dad wasn’t gonna waste money sending a girl to college, right? Because she was just gonna get married and have kids and he was a welder. And he was a blue collar worker. So it wasn’t fair to expect that of him. But officers are different. You know, they get into college education, and they’re much more higher level higher prestige in the military.

John Corcoran 6:14

Well, you certainly excelled. When it came to academics, you end up getting your master’s degree in physics. I

Kimberly Wiefling 6:20

did. I was a scientist. I thought Albert Einstein was the coolest guy ever. I got a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics, and then a master’s degree in physics. And I realized, finally, yeah, I don’t want to be in the academic world. So I quit and went to school at Packard. And that’s when they got that really cool job repairing mass spectrometers.

John Corcoran 6:41

And that brings you to Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. Eventually, okay.

Kimberly Wiefling 6:47

Because I was already working in HP. And I would come out to Silicon Valley to take classes on how to repair these very complex, hated devices. And then I made some friends and one of my colleagues was working out here. And then they said, Why don’t you look for a job out here? So I started searching the jobs and I found something in manufacturing, engineering, and boom, I was in California, Silicon Valley with my people. Oh my gosh, I’m not the weirdest person here. Oh,

John Corcoran 7:16

I love that about California. There’s all kinds of different people and you know, you can feel comfortable. And so you and you do end up eventually working for a number of different startups. What was that experience like any of them really particularly memorable? Even if they didn’t last?

Kimberly Wiefling 7:31

Three failed startups. One was the $700 million crater in the ground in South San Jose, called Ken dessins. Another one was replay TV, which is like chemo. Oh, yeah.

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