FRIENDS AT HER FINGERTIPS - KIM HUGHES
In Charlotte, North Carolina, in the heart of one of the largest cities in the nation, you will find a lush, green landscape, an echo of race cars in the background and a welcoming hand from Kim Hughes. At 27, Kim Hughes has gained notoriety for her multimedia public relations company, 704Events.com, and has turned this large and ever-growing city into a virtual small town of friends at your fingertips. But don’t let her youth or success fool you. For as many successes that are now befalling Kim, there were as many life challenges she had to overcome, making her somewhat of a Phoenix Rising.
This Wisconsin native had a presumably classic American upbringing: a father being a dairy farmer and a mother involved in land development, the youngest of four, and basically an all around close family. At seventeen, however, Kim had the proverbial wrench thrown into her life with the passing of her father from cancer. This dark hour turned even darker as other close loved ones passed all within months of each other, leaving her to ponder the value of life. Taking stock of her personal grief, Kim decided to carry on with her plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study journalism, with a focus in sports. She felt she was well on her way to becoming the consummate sports writer until two years in when her chosen career was proving to not be what she thought it would be, or wanted. Remembering words her father had said to her, “You can be anything,” Hughes tallied all she wanted in her future: She couldn’t deny her love for sports, as it was something she enjoyed her whole life; she liked utilizing her creative writing towards that of marketing; and she had an “affinity for the south,” which kept calling to her. All things considered, Charlotte, the home of NASCAR, seemed the logical place to be. Hughes enrolled in the University of North Carolina and commenced obtaining a business degree.
It was in her senior year that she began the groundwork for an up and coming company, 704Events.com, an opportunity that fell into her lap through a chance meeting. She worked her way up through the company, finding she was able to put into play all her best assets. Just a few short years after graduating, she was tapped to start taking over the company, and by early 2010 Kim purchased 704Events.com and evolved the company into her personal vision: A site where the community, business owners and new-comers alike, can get connected and become involved—something Hughes wished was available to her when she first came to Charlotte. Hughes has a love for Charlotte and its diverse, dynamic quality. She also feels that for businesses to thrive there must remain a balance of a small town feeling and connected-ness; something she delivers. Her company stands out from others because of her personable, hands-on grass roots approach to which she adheres.
Kim has an unwavering perseverance and calls herself a “hard driver” with good reason. She credits her parents for being the most amazing role models she could’ve had, instilling in her such a focus and work ethic that has enabled her success. When you speak to her about her personal loss and challenges, she will tell you she is still trying to heal from her father’s death. But true to form, Kim quickly finds an optimistic tone with the words “It could be worse,” a phrase she turns to when the going gets tough. She fully understands the depth of others’ hardships in comparison to her own, and doesn’t take it lightly. As Kim’s company is coming into its own, so is Kim. She has come to realize her own value and self-worth, to always follow her gut and never compromise. “I don’t try to prove anything to anyone anymore, [because] you are just kind of letting yourself down,” she remarks, as she is one who believes people should be trying to better themselves and impress themselves, not others. She finally feels grounded in who she is and the positive, forward-thinking intentions she set for herself--which are manifesting all around her.
Kim Hughes has taken Charlotte by storm. She was nominated for the 2009 Business Owner of the Year through the National Organization of Women Business Owners, and that is just the beginning for Hughes. Through her untouchable work ethic and PR ingenuity, Kim Hughes didn’t just stumble into being an entrepreneur to be reckoned with-- she earned it.
Originally published in DStripped Magazine
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