DDP Talks To Kimberlie Page (Director of Facilities & Operations)
Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Conversation between DDP President & Founder, Liza Yntema and Dallas Black Dance Theatre Director of Facilities & Operations, Kimberlie Page.
Liza: Tell us about your typical day. I am sure there is a ton of troubleshooting required.
Kimberlie: Yes, from staff with computer issues, identifying why an HVAC unit isn’t working properly, building inspections, hosting an organization for an event – to making all the pieces come together for the day-to-day operation of DBDT to continue to move forward.
Liza: With whom do you interact on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? I loved what you told me, you are the one that keeps the lights on. Such an incredibly vital role that folks don’t consider.
Kimberlie: What some are not aware of is that our home is part of the City of Dallas. Therefore, I work with the Office of Arts and Culture for bond projects and major repairs.
Liza: COVID: How did you and DBDT navigate this extraordinary challenge? I was so impressed, when I visited recently on a Listening Tour, with the up-to-date electronic check-in system you all have installed.
Kimberlie: Coming from a c-store, convenience store company where there was a huge focus on digital transformation, I wanted DBDT to be at the top of the line in technology. Yes, our purpose is dance. My thought was: how can we affect what’s around it to make our home safe and healthy?
Liza: DBDT lives in history – literally. Talk about your historic headquarters.
Kimberlie: The building is nestled in the former Black community known as North Dallas. It once housed the Moorland YMCA and is one of three original buildings still standing. I found our building listed in a 1940 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book as an accommodation place. Oral history has told me that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the former Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall stayed in our building.
Liza: What is it like to try and bring modernization to a landmark?
Kimberlie: I’m like a kid in a candy store or a painter with a blank canvas. There are opportunities to bring improvement and efficiency throughout the entire building.
Liza: I love the symbolism of the entryway, and how your Founder wanted to incorporate appropriate elements of history in the architecture and use of the building – for example, the pool. Could you talk about this a bit?
Kimberlie: It was important for Mrs. Williams to maintain the originality of the building. A place for the community to gather. The exterior is the same, and the interior was designed to make the eye “dance” from various forms of art, from the floors to the music you hear coming from the studio.
Liza: Are there any funny or wild stories you want to tell?
Kimberlie: I cannot think of any funny stories; however, I can tell you about a message in one of our studio windows. During the window restoration, I learned that carpenters leave messages and/or trinkets behind to be discovered by those who come after them. From previous work, coins dated from the 1940s and 1970s. Today, one of the windows has “2021 Dance On!!” with a signature of TexasMade KD, 512. I thought that was cool.
Liza: Let’s talk a bit about your background in retail/your corporate journey. The first thing I noticed when I saw you, was your outfit(s), you have such an impeccable sense of style. Did that start in retail or was it your love of style and fashion that drew you to Nordstrom’s?
Kimberlie: In high school, it was the love of style and fashion. So much so that I had one of those huge desk calendars where I would write down what I wore to school so I wouldn’t wear the same outfit twice in one month. I landed at Nordstrom as it was my favorite store to shop at and I could build my wardrobe at a discount coming out of college.
Liza: You told me a fabulous story about counting receipts and cash at the end of the day. No one could figure out how you were so fast and accurate, and you ended up running a national training program – can you explain?
Kimberlie: Doing repetitive things, motions, etc. allows me to ask questions and do something different to be more accurate, productive, and manage time. Listening to music helps too. So, as I processed cash and checks (while dancing in a room by myself), I started to develop time-saving “tricks”. These “tricks” warped into cashroom best practices for the entire organization. I was promoted to a regional role, which allowed me to travel the nation to train this best practice and open new stores.
Liza: Another great story – you went right up to the CEO and introduced yourself, ended up having lunch, getting career advice – so brilliant, takes a ton of self-confidence, but also he was open to mentoring. Talk about that combination and what you advise for the Next Gen of leaders.
Kimberlie: You have not because you asked not. You are your best advocate for YOU! Use your voice to connect with others, ask questions, or seek advice. Email, social media, etc. are great for an initial connection. Face to face is the best way to connect with others to elevate yourself. More people are watching than you think. Think of how to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Liza: What one (or two things) make you most proud?
Kimberlie: Having attended a Historically Black College and University: “The Place Where Everybody Is Somebody,” Grambling State University, where I majored in Public Administration.
Liza: Essential qualities for your job?
- Communication – Interacting with people at different levels – directors, presidents, coordinators – to get the needed information to get things done.
- Being open-minded – Willing to learn new things and, if an error is made, learn from the opportunity. This is growth and development.
- Patience – I don’t always get the answers I need when I need them.
- Leadership – You cannot be shy in this role. You must be able to make things happen.
- Proactive – Always think about what’s next or how to prevent something from happening again.