Kimberly Howell, Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight: Kimberly Howell, Manager, Learning and Development

Kim Howell is the Manager of Learning and Development for Shepard. Based in Las Vegas, she’s been with the company since March 2023.

How she got her start: Kim found her way into the learning and development field “completely by accident,” she says. When she was working as a teaching assistant in college, she was asked to take over teaching a class one evening.

“I was sold,” she remembers. “I found out how much I loved teaching, especially adult learners—and before you know it, learning and development became a passion of mine.” She went on to receive master’s degrees in both Management & Organizational Behavior and Psychology, followed by a PhD in Psychology.

As for her journey into the trade show and events industry? “That’s completely and utterly the fault of Ayla Carswell, our VP of Human Resources,” she says with a laugh. “Ayla convinced me to bring my 30-plus years in learning and development—primarily at start-ups and in the tech and biopharma industries—and take a chance on an exposition services company.”

Memorable moment: “Riding on the golf cart with [Senior National Operations Team Leader] Mike Goodwin during one of my very first shows,” she recalls. “I had been a conference attendee for years, but there was nothing like riding alongside him and seeing us transform an empty room into nothing short of magic. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was blown away by what we do.”

Where she finds inspiration: Kim has a true passion for leadership development, something she finds particularly important in the fast-paced events industry. “We work 8, 10, 12 hour days—even more when events are in town—and it’s so important that we enjoy what we’re doing. Leaders are so influential, and it’s important that I do my best work so that leaders can do their best work and build up those that they lead,” she explains.

How she spends her free time: “On just about any given weekend, you can find me on a plane or at a concert,” Kim says, noting that she’s been on over a dozen cruises and loves all sorts of music, ranging from ’80s metal to country to world music.

But “travel and music are second only to my family and my fur babies,” she adds, jokingly describing her two toy poodles as “the best-worst things that have ever happened to me.” Their names? Akeem and Semmi, named after characters from the movie Coming to America.

The advice she’d give her younger self: “Relax, kid. The universe has your back,” she says. “Sometimes heartbreaks and closed doors can feel insurmountable at the moment but learning and development worked out a little better than a career as a ballerina,” she says with a laugh. “Those disappointments, in the long run, mean nothing when you’re happy.”

The advice she’d give her fellow Shepard associates: Kim wants her colleagues to know how important learning is for her. “I want all of our associates to know they can come to me; I want to help them develop their careers and feel like they’re able to accomplish something they never thought they could accomplish.”

She shares some advice she often gives her nieces and nephews. “I don’t care what you want to be; if you can dare to dream it, I’m here to support you in reaching your dreams,” she says. “The same goes for every person I work alongside. You often hear that people are the best part of Shepard, and it’s true—and I’m here to partner with everyone on their career development and learning journey.”

Shepard is a full-service event production company. We design, develop and manage trade shows, corporate and other events throughout the U.S.