When you meet Kimberly Paul, Vice President of Communications & Outreach for Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter, you can’t help but be drawn in by her infectious enthusiasm for life. Her personal story is a shining example of the Hospice mission to create a better quality of life, not just for those who choose Hospice care, but for the families and friends of Hospice patients.
At the age of 28, Kimberly lost a close friend to melanoma, meaning that her first experience with Hospice was a first-hand experience. Kimberly moved from New York City to Wilmington, NC to be closer to the film industry; before she knew it, she was working full-time at Lower Cape Fear Hospice as the Volunteer Coordinator. Two years later, the organization asked her to step into Communications and Outreach, a role in which she could use her skills as a writer, filmmaker, and producer. Today, twelve years after beginning her career with Hospice, Kimberly leads the vision for all marketing, outreach and public awareness campaigns for LCFH&LCC.
Begin The Conversation is the organization’s newest marketing campaign. It is a public education initiative designed to motivate people to begin the conversation about Advance Care Planning. Kimberly, who by the way is a great conversationalist, starts our meeting with an ironic truth: “No one wants to do what I was hired to do—talk about death—yet we know that we’re all headed in that direction. As for me, I’ve embraced the fact that one day I will die, and I want to make sure the journey will be memorable.”
Kimberly credits a woman in the Hospice Care Center with waking her up to the need to find balance and incorporate more joy in her life. One evening, she was still at work at 8pm. The Hospice patient reminded her: “What are you doing here? Don’t you have a life? Well then, go out there and live it!” Kimberly took her advice to heart. She skydives, surfs, and travels extensively. She even has her own small film company, Stray Cat Studio. (She uses her film talents to bring an additional element to the marketing campaigns that Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter produce. Additionally, she is working with NHPCO on producing a small documentary about Colin Skinner, the London physician who is walking across the United States to bring awareness to Hospice organizations).
With all of that said, it’s not surprising that Kimberly C. Paul has received many accolades for her work with Hospice: ADDY Awards, video production awards, and a nomination for the American Marketing Association Foundation’s Non-Profit Marketer of the Year. But, she doesn’t dwell on her success for long—she’s got too much more living to do!
When the time does come, however, Kimberly happily declares “I’m planning a party before I die, not a funeral afterwards. I want the people I care about to come celebrate my life. My philosophy is ‘No one’s gonna have a party without me—and there better be French fries and fried chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce’!”