Kim Stevens, CEO of Blue Scout Media, is embracing the new season of her life. Now that three of her four children have left home, she’s able to balance working and traveling with her job, as well as serving on the Baylor University Board of Regents. Steven’s secrets to a balanced life include eating healthy, letting go of other people’s expectations and occasionally getting a few hours to herself.
WACOAN: What led you to join Blue Scout Media?
Stevens: It was a coincidental conversation with the former CEO, Jay Powers. We were both on the Waco Baptist Academy school board. He told me about the company and what Blue Scout Media does. I have a background in event management, and I helped my church when we brought in Christian artists for events. So it was a natural progression of conversations. I joined the Blue Scout Media team to help with events and sales. About a year and a half ago Jay left to start his own business. That’s when I stepped into this leadership role.
WACOAN: Before working at Blue Scout Media, were you interested in music?
Stevens: My family is very involved in music. I started taking piano classes when I was 3 years old. My mom has her doctorate in conducting, my brother is a musician, and one of my cousins is in a band in Nashville, [Tennessee]. Music is part of the fabric of our lives. A lot of our clients are in the Christian music field, which is what I listen to and enjoy.
WACOAN: What does Blue Scout Media do?
Stevens: We stream live events. We work with a lot of concerts, conferences and corporate events. We work with a health care group in Nashville and stream the content they want to share with their employees. We have a lot of musicians based in Nashville too.
WACOAN: Do you travel for work often?
Stevens: I probably travel once or twice a month, but they seem to fall in clusters.
WACOAN: What are your responsibilities when you’re traveling for work?
Stevens: When I’m on-site, I am the liaison. I make sure everything is going well. If it’s a high-profile venue, like Walt Disney World, then I want to ensure everything is going smoothly. Honestly, [going to these events] is just fun.
WACOAN: What are your responsibilities when you’re in the office?
Stevens: Anything that has to do with running the business side of things, the business development. I oversee payroll and a lot of the legal things. Working with music, you have to get licenses and clearances.
WACOAN: Did you ever see yourself as the CEO of a company?
Stevens: No. [Laughs.] Not in my wildest dreams.
WACOAN: What did you do before working for Blue Scout Media?
Stevens: I’ve served in a lot of leadership positions, but on a volunteer basis. This opportunity fell into my lap. I’ve drawn from my past experiences. It’s put all of the pieces together. A few years before this, I audited an accounting and entrepreneurship class at Baylor. I felt like I needed to expand my knowledge in those areas. I’ve drawn heavily on what I learned in those classes.
WACOAN: What’s the most challenging aspect of managing people?
Stevens: One of the most challenging things is when you don’t see eye to eye on something. As a leader, it’s your job to set the course for the project and the company. When you don’t see eye to eye, you have to handle it diplomatically and come to a conclusion.
WACOAN: What does your typical workday look like?
Stevens: I try to get to the office between 8 and 9 a.m., after my daughter is off to school. I stay here until 3:30 p.m., and then I pick up my daughter from school. From 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., I try not to work. Sometimes I have phone calls or things to finish, but I try to be there for my daughter.
WACOAN: How do you keep everything organized so you can be efficient at work?
Stevens: I have an administrative assistant who is very organized. She helps get everything in order. I tend to let things pile up, and she helps me go through things and file them. In the evening or first thing in the morning, I make a list of things I need to get done. I need to see a visual of what I need to do. It’s old fashioned, but it helps me keep the priorities of the day. If I have a really pressing deadline, I’ll write it on the whiteboard in my office.
WACOAN: Do you take breaks throughout the day?
Stevens: I usually eat lunch at my desk, unless I’m meeting my husband or a friend. Because I try to work school hours, I have a hard time taking an hour-long break for lunch. I try to be efficient with my time when I’m at work.
WACOAN: How do you stay energized when you’re working and traveling?
Stevens: I love the people I work with. Everyone is fun and has a great attitude. What we do is fun. It can be tiring, especially when you’re traveling, but it’s a blast. Not many people get to go backstage at Walt Disney World.
WACOAN: How do you stay balanced and healthy when you’re traveling?
Stevens: I bring things from home. I bring my hot tea that I drink every morning. I bring healthy snacks that I like. It’s easy to eat junky when you’re traveling, so I plan ahead.
WACOAN: What are some other steps you take to stay healthy?
Stevens: Drinking water, taking vitamins, eating well. My husband and I have noticed that, especially the older we get, it pays to watch your portions and eat well.
WACOAN: Tell me more about your husband, Kenny.
Stevens: We’ve been married 26 years. Kenny and I met while waiting tables at Steak & Ale, which has been closed for a while. I was going to Baylor, and he was at [McLennan Community College] at the time. Then he transferred to Southwest Texas State University, which is now Texas State University, in San Marcos.
WACOAN: What does Kenny do now?
Stevens: He’s a commercial realtor. He works with The Reid Company. He’s doing a lot of work downtown right now.
WACOAN: With full-time jobs, how do you balance your responsibilities as parents?
Stevens: Both of our jobs are very flexible, but my husband’s job is especially flexible. He takes our daughter to school every day because his office is right by Midway High School. We have four kids, but only one is at home now. We got used to juggling all of our kids’ activities, so it’s been different to only have one kid at home. Now Kenny and I are at home in the evenings more often.
WACOAN: Tell me about your four kids.
Stevens: Our oldest is named Benjamin. His wife’s name is Samantha. Their daughter’s name is Emma, and they’re expecting another baby soon. She’ll be born by the time this publication comes out. Then we have Nicho, who is 22 and a senior at Baylor. Matthew is 19 and a freshman at Baylor. Our youngest, Elizabeth, is 15.
WACOAN: What is it like being a grandmother?
Stevens: It’s been sweet to see my child become a parent. It’s weird because I’m still a mother — I’m still raising kids. I’m not in full grandmother mode. We’re glad my son is here [in Waco] so we can spend time with Emma.
WACOAN: Was it difficult to transition from a full house to one child at home?
Stevens: When the oldest left, I thought I was going to die. And he went to Baylor, which is 15 minutes away. It’s just a different lifestyle — it’s quieter.
WACOAN: Do you think you could have had this job when your children were younger?
Stevens: There’s no way I could have done this when my kids were young. It would have been a train wreck. My kids have a wide gap in ages, and that means they’re able to do things at different times. When I was teaching my oldest how to drive, I was teaching my youngest how to read.
WACOAN: How do you meet your children’s different needs?
Stevens: You have to be flexible. My parenting philosophy is that there isn’t one method that works for every child.
WACOAN: Now that your children are adults, has your relationship with them changed?
Stevens: As hard as it was when Benjamin left home, I quickly embraced the new way we relate to each other. As my kids have grown up and left home, my role has transitioned into that of a counselor and friend.
WACOAN: What are some lessons you’ve tried to teach your children?
Stevens: We’ve tried to instill a strong work ethic and a love for the Lord. When they were young, we focused on the family and the relationships we have with each other. We’d say, ‘Out there, there’s a lot of people who will come and go. Family is forever.’
Now one of the sweetest things is when I see all four of my kids spend time together. They’ll have game nights at my [oldest] son’s house. It’s gratifying to see them build friendships that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
WACOAN: As a working mother, what do you try to teach your daughter about her future career?
Stevens: I talk to her about what things interest her. I don’t want to speak for her, but I think she sees that you can have a season of life where you’re doing different things. My mom went back to school after we left home. She has her doctorate now. My grandmother started painting when she was 75 and painted into her 90s. I’ve had good female role models.
WACOAN: What was it like transitioning to a new job after being a stay-at-home mom?
Stevens: It’s been great. I went from volunteering on a hundred different committees to focusing on one thing. In some ways it has simplified my life.
WACOAN: Your main commitment is serving on the Baylor Board of Regents. When were you elected to serve on the board?
Stevens: That’s a new thing for me. I was elected in May, and July was my first meeting. It’s been wonderful. It’s a fantastic group of people that I feel fortunate to be a part of. We have amazing business leaders and pastors on the committee. Our paths never would have crossed if I didn’t serve on the board. It’s so great to be a part of the process of leading Baylor, as well as hearing other people’s wisdom.
WACOAN: What does the Board of Regents do?
Stevens: It’s the governing body of the school.
WACOAN: And board members are elected to serve. Were you surprised to be nominated?
Stevens: I was called and asked if I’d be interested in serving. Before that, it never crossed my mind. It’s a tremendous honor.
WACOAN: What do your responsibilities look like?
Stevens: You are on two committees, one of which meets for five to six hours during the quarterly Regent meeting. The other committee meets for about two hours on that same day. The following day, the entire Board meets together for reports from all the committees and to hear from the Executive Council. If there are action items that require a vote, we do it at that time.
Between quarterly meetings, we meet by conference call, as needed. You also get invited to Baylor events, like dedications and receptions. I go to as many of those as I can. They’re fun!
WACOAN: How do you make time to relax and unwind?
Stevens: I’m not very good at relaxing. I have a hard time sitting still. I don’t watch TV. I enjoy reading. Right now, I have a stack of business books I’m reading. I read a lot for information, whether it’s for business or family.
We have a great front porch. I love to sit on the porch and watch the world go by. I like to unplug, leave my phone inside and listen to the birds.
WACOAN: What are some other ways you de-stress?
Stevens: I used to be really into fitness. I haven’t been doing that as much since I’ve been working. I’ve tried to make an effort to get back into working out. I take classes from Susan Bell [Fitness]. It’s called the Lean Body Class. It’s a combination of yoga and high-intensity training work. I do that twice a week.
Another way I relax, because I’m a classic introvert, is having time to pull away and recharge. I didn’t realize I am an introvert until I was an adult. It’s not about being shy — it’s about how you’re recharged.
WACOAN: How do you make time for yourself?
Stevens: I have a little bit each day, whether I’m in the car or taking a bubble bath. Sometimes on the weekend I will have a few hours to myself. Being alone for 24 hours is the biggest gift anyone could give me.
WACOAN: How would you define balance in your life?
Stevens: People ask me all the time, ‘How do you do everything?’ My answer is that I don’t. If I’m busy, my house is a wreck. I’m OK with that now — I know I will get to that. When I was younger, I tried to do everything, and it about killed me. I’ve learned to let go of things and ask for help. I think achieving balance is when you realize you can’t do everything. You have to let things go. Or let other people do things for you, even if it isn’t how you would do them.
Now I let things roll off of me. I prioritize things. It’s part of maturing. You let go of other people’s expectations. You learn what matters to you. For me, that’s family and God.