Kimberly Gartner: Strategic Partnership Developer and Consultant


Please introduce yourself.

Hello! I’m Kimberly Gartner. I grew up in Sterling, IL, a small town two hours west of here, and always considered myself a small-town girl who would never live in Chicago. After living in Minnesota for ten years, we indeed moved to Chicago in 2006, then Evanston in 2007. My amazing partner, Brian Sitz, is a middle school science teacher in Glencoe, and we are raising two girls, Lauren (almost 14) and Madeline (10). I always love a good book recommendation, spending time in the mountains, and sipping one of Brian’s tasty cocktails or a glass of wine with friends and family.

What is your work and why are you passionate about it? 

My unique strength is creating bespoke partnerships that create positive impact for people, as well as the partners. Most of my career has been dedicated to improving the financial health of Americans, and I’ve worked with a unique set of companies: nonprofits, banks, financial technology start-ups, scale tech companies, credit unions, retailers, and check cashers. I’m currently cofounding a company to offer a new employee hardship fund that will provide grants to employees when then they it, and we offer consulting to help companies ensure their hardship fund is best-in-class. Meanwhile, I’m running my existing consulting practice, specializing in business development training/coaching, strategic planning and product development. I’m passionate about working collaboratively with others to drive results that improve people’s lives.

What have you most enjoyed about being a part of the 818 community? 

The space is gorgeous; it helps me be more efficient and effective. Mostly, though, it really is the community. My work has mostly been national, so I don’t have a strong, local network. The people here are truly dedicated to helping one another. It’s great to have a quick conversation over Friday breakfast or while getting a great cup of coffee. I learn so much from the perspectives of people in so many different industries. It’s really unique for a co-working space to have a professional community manager, a dedicated marketing manager, and deeply engaged owners. I love it here!

What’s your life motto?

Our family motto is “Have fun. Try your best. Be kind.” Right now, I’m trying my best to feel like an athlete again. I have a dream of completing an Olympic Distance Triathlon. I’m sharing that with you all now, so perhaps that will prompt me to actually making that dream a reality!

Dan Bleier