Kim Gawlak Walsh-Sorensen ’84
Kim Gawlak Walsh-Sorensen
With a self-directed motto of “maximize your hourly potential” by not working for a salary only, Kim Gawlak Walsh-Sorensen ’84 founded her own company in 1997 and grew Carbon Resources to a $20 million business that was acquired last summer by Oxbow.
Having it recognized as 2,444 in the 5,000 fastest growing companies by Forbes magazine in 2010 was a highlight for her, as was having six companies vie to acquire the business within three months last year. Now, with the sale complete, Walsh-Sorensen is looking forward to re-inventing herself, with no specific plans yet.
“Woman tend to problem solve differently than men and have an innate ability to be more empathetic and fair in negotiations whereas men tend to want to win.”
She attributes much of her business sense to serving on the board of Bryant College for three years and managing the school store. “It was ingenious way of Bryant introducing students to entrepreneurship,” she says, recalling that she added film developing and flower sales and delivery, which helped the store turn a profit.
Walsh-Sorensen encourages women in particular to pursue business ownership, even if, like her, they are the only female executive in their field. “Woman tend to problem solve differently than men and have an innate ability to be more empathetic and fair in negotiations whereas men tend to want to win.”
Having traveled extensively for work, she also notes that “a well-rounded education is critical now more than ever in this competitive world and Bryant offers that.”
She believes that vision, focus, hard work as well as “living a bit outside of your comfort zone and stretching yourself,” make anything possible.
To that end, she and her husband, Jim, serve on the board of the Orange County, California, chapter of Young Lives and mentor teenage moms. They are also advisors for Pais which mentors teens in over 12 different countries. “It is in the spirit of giving that you receive much more than you give on so many levels,” she states.
Bryant’s alumni network is 45,000 strong – accomplished men and women who influence, lead, and innovate in their professions, industries, and communities around the globe. They remain engaged with the University by sharing their expertise with students and faculty during campus visits and through the career center network, participating in alumni activities, and making Bryant a priority for their philanthropy.