A Middlesboro native has recently been named Regional Quality Director for the Southeast Region with United Healthcare. United Health Group is a health plan that deals with vulnerable populations (Medicare, Medicaid and commercial members).Kimberly Shell has been able to work her way through the ranks with a small town background.
Shell is the child of Karl Kirk Jr. (deceased) and Bernice and David Peterson (her mother is remarried). She is the grandchild of Karl Kirk Sr. and Marjorie Churchill Kirk.
Growing up, Shell attended West End Elementary, Middlesboro Middle School and St. Julian Catholic School. She graduated from Middlesboro High School in 1987. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1992 and completed her MBA in 2009 from Averett University.
Shell started out her career as a mental health counselor and worked with homeless and mentally ill individuals. She also worked as a social worker in a nursing home and as a compliance manager.
“Each one of these jobs lead me to new skill sets to get me where i am today,” said Shell in an online interview. “None of it came easy.”
Shell started with United as a Regional Manager and was there four years until taking her new position recently. “I think the love and care I received as a child growing up (in Middlesboro) made me want to give back and work for a company that shares that same dedication to improving the world.
Shell believes that her experience growing up in a small town helped her establish the values to succeed to where she is today. She said Middlesboro gave her a mentality to do the right thing and help others.
“(Middlesboro) was a town with hard-working people who wanted to strive for more above all else,” said Shell.
She remembers Middlesboro as a close knit town. When she was growing up, she played with neighborhood friends and rode bikes to several areas in the community.
“Back then, adults cared for all of us as if we were their own. Our parents had no worries about where we were or what we were doing,” said Shell.
Shell said the support from all her teachers, who really cared about the kids in and out of school, made the children strive for more.
Today, Shell would like to encourage individuals to strive to achieve more. She said the most important thing is to listen to God.
Shell said Steve Jobs says it best, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma (living with the results of other people’s thinking). Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
Shell is married to Joey Shell and has one daughter, Lindsey Shell. They reside in Richmond, Va.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.