2016 35 Under 35 Alumna Kimberley Peterson, Chief Operating Officer, Lillestol Research

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I’m pretty local to the Fargo area as I grew up here, graduated from Fargo South, was then off to UND for seven years of undergrad/law school, and back to Fargo. I’ve been married to my husband, Matt, for 18 years and we have 3 teenagers now: Hunter and Connor are both at Davies and Anna is at Discovery. We spend a lot of time at our kids’ activities and sports at this time of our lives, which is both fun and busy. I started out in private practice for a short stint after law school before joining my parent’s clinical research company in 2006, Lillestol Research, and have been here ever since. I love spending time with family, vacations and travel, time at the lake, sunshine, the color pink, any type of theme or theme party, watching my kids in their activities, organizing, baking, and even some DIY home projects.

Tell us about your career path since participating in the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program.

My career path hasn’t necessarily changed since participation in the program, but there were absolutely aspects of the program that impacted and developed my role within the business. I started the program in 2016 as a leader of a clinical research company, Lillestol Research, which is where I still am today. I’ve been in the same position for almost 18 years, but feel I have grown as a person and a professional in how I manage situations, conflicts, and day-to day tasks. 35 Under 35 was a part of that growth in developing professional skills like good communication, public speaking and goal setting, personal insight into things like your personality type and drivers, and promoting awareness of tools and programs in our community that I was not otherwise knowledgeable about at that time.

What advice would you have for young professionals out there?

I think as a young professional, you are generally very driven and ready to embrace all that career development has to offer. It’s important to try out some new or different things and see what works for you. Be open to joining a group or having a meeting or a coffee with someone who invites you. It may be awkward, but you’ll usually take something from that time. On the flip side, if you try something and it becomes something that is a burden or something you dread, be okay with the fact that just because something works for someone else, doesn’t mean it works for you. Be a good conversationalist— ask the person you are with questions about themselves and their profession/business, their background, and things that make them feel happy or successful. These types of conversations can be eye-opening or might push you to look into something new that you’d never thought of before. It may or may not be for you, but at least you learned about it.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.