Author Explores Work, Motherhood and the Myth of Perfection

by | Jul 2024

Kimberly Kupiecki

Kimberly Kupiecki. Photos: Chris Emeott

Kimberly Kupiecki has built a life and career around the intersection of science, nature and technology. Growing up in Windsor, Ontario, she was constantly learning about the world around her. “I grew up in a family of farmers and teachers,” Kupiecki says. “My dad was a science teacher, and I would go with him and watch films and look at the lab on weekends. As I got older, I had this desire to explore the world.”

That curious spirit ultimately led her to the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her now-husband, Dave, and majored in chemical engineering. After she graduated, Kupiecki worked as a process engineer and then transitioned to public relations, focusing on tech startups. “I learned how to translate ‘geek speak’ into something people can understand,” the Edina author says with a laugh.

She and Dave moved to Edina in 2007, partly to be close to her husband’s family in the Twin Cities. “We fell in love with this house and were excited to raise our kids here,” she says. Daughter Vivienne now works in New York City; Katie is studying at Syracuse University; and Harper is a rising seventh grader at Valley View Middle School.

While busy raising her kids, Kupiecki was also becoming a valued expert on the intersections of sustainability and business. She built a public relations practice focused on clean technology and then immersed herself in the clean water industry, eventually becoming the global leader in sustainability at DuPont. While in that role, she was featured in the film Brave Blue World, which looked at water conservation and the innovative experts around the world working to improve access to clean water —the film also included appearances by Hollywood stars like Matt Damon and Jaden Smith.

Now, Kupiecki is the senior director of business development at Gingko Bioworks, a biotech firm that helps all sorts of companies and industries develop cleaner products. Kupiecki knows this is a space where she and her colleagues can have real impact. “The corporate world is maybe the biggest driver of transforming our world toward more sustainable solutions,” she says. “I’ve seen that firsthand.”

As Kupiecki thought about how she could help foster the next generation of women leaders in science and technology, she found an important aspect was helping women balance families and work. “I remember thinking, ‘How do I make it to daycare on time and have client meetings and press releases? How do people do this?’” Years ago, she drafted a pithy list, “50 Confessions of a Working Mom” and filed it away. “Then, my third child was born, and everything came flooding back. The world is not set up for working moms.”

The Beautiful Mess

Kupiecki decided to share her ideas more widely. She developed The Beautiful Mess, a book about balancing motherhood and career, which was published in January. “Even if my readers don’t have young kids anymore, they want to pass on the wisdom,” Kupiecki says. “They’re giving the book to their nieces, their coworkers, their book club. People want to have this conversation.” She says the distilled message of The Beautiful Mess is to practice imperfection, both in work and in motherhood. “A lot of us set very high standards and then, if we fail, we fall into a negative self-talk loop,” she says. “It’s OK to not be perfect.”

Facebook: Kim Kupiecki
Instagram: @kimkupiecki


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