Kim Penny

Teaching Teens How To Overcome obstacles with Empathy 


Middle & High School Program

YOU Are Valuable

Imagine the gut-dropping feeling of being told that if you survive, you may never walk again.  This is what the doctors told Kim Penny after a devastating snow tubing accident in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains.  But after years of emotional and physical turmoil, with the help of a great support system consisting of family and other mentors, she not only walks again but climbs mountains both literally and figuratively.  She motivates students by showing them how to overcome their own seemingly impossible obstacles.

 “I didn’t walk through my recovery alone, but I did have to take the first step.”

Through her personal story of recovery and triumph, Kim teaches students how not to allow their fears and self-doubt overshadow the positive things in their lives.  She encourages empathy by sharing about friends lost to suicide, helping students understand how to get outside of their own problems and recognize the pain in others.  Lastly, she demonstrates that while everyone has experienced some level of emotional or physical pain, no one needs to be alone – that there is help out there via mentors and others who care.

Students will learn how to:


Recognize that EVERYONE faces trials – no one is perfect and we don’t need to feel ashamed when life is tough


Keep fear from controlling their thoughts and emotions


Take baby-steps to work through pain and achieve their goals


Get outside of their own pain and show empathy towards others


Find a mentor to speak openly and honestly with about their thoughts and emotions

About Me

Kim grew up on a farm outside Lawrence, Kansas. Despite losing her dad to ALS right before her Junior year of High School, she persevered and earned an academic and athletic scholarship to the University of Nebraska. Halfway through her college career, she endured a life-threatening accident and thought she had lost everything she had worked so hard for up to that point in her life. Determined to recover and finish her degree, Kim juggled surgeries, hospital stays, and relearning how to walk with online courses, and graduated summa cum laude in 2005, with a degree in business administration. 

Kim used her business degree towards a career in real estate and finance. In 2008 she was recognized nationally in REALTOR® MAGAZINE as one of the top 30 REALTORS® under the age of 30. Since 2016, she has been the Employing Broker of a Sotheby's International Realty office located in Durango, Colorado. She continues to be a leader in her community and has served on multiple boards. She was selected by the publicly traded company, Anywhere Real Estate, Inc., to participate in their Executive Leadership Experience and graduated from the Ascend program in 2022. 

Kim published her memoir Mountain View in 2017 and started speaking to students shortly after that.  She feels called to share her own story of overcoming heartache and trauma with the next generation. Her goal is to encourage student leaders to focus on the hope that lies ahead and not on their temporary disappointments.  Kim's greatest passion is raising her twin daughters, who are in middle school.

When she is not speaking, you can find her skiing and mountain biking with her daughters in Durango, Colorado.


“Our staff and students want to give you one more big thank you!  You had a powerful message that struck home with our students.  We wish you the best and good luck in all your future adventures. “


KIM, high school counselor, Aztec, NM

"Kim's message truly allowed for students to speak up about their feelings, as well as hard seasons or times of life.  It's difficult to find an environment where students are willing to discuss these hard topics, and emotional issues, but Kim created that environment."

SHANELLE, youth director

"I highly recommend Kim to speak at any event. She is passionate and personable. Two of the key things that drew our students to talk openly about what has been going on in their OWN lives. Everyone needs to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The kids would have her back in a heartbeat."


REBEKAH, youth director

Not all who wander are lost

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