Town of Dewey Humboldt
Born and raised in Tianjin, China, Yvonne Kimball saw first-hand what life was like without democracy, as she grew up during the latter part of Chairman Mao’s dictatorship era. From an early age, she was exposed to the Mao regime’s altered version of communism.
“There was no democracy. People were – and still are – afraid of speaking the truth,” Kimball said.
When Kimball was a teenager, she got her hands on a banned book of great speeches from the Western Word. In it was Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He spoke of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
“I was stunned but deeply inspired by the concept and wanted to become a part of such a noble institution one day.”
In 2003, she immigrated to the United States and enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s Master of Public Administration program. Her graduate studies equipped her with skills and knowledge covering a broad range of topics and disciplines relevant to working in and managing the public sector. She knew she wanted to become a public servant.
Because of her international background, Yvonne initially wanted to work in the federal government and had her sights set on the Department of State. While in graduate school, however, a few internships led her to positions within Florida county governments and it was there that Yvonne realized her enjoyment for working with people at the local government level.
“Local governments are much closer to the citizens than the federal government,” said Kimball. “I knew I would have a better chance to make a difference by working for local governments.”
In 2008, a few years after graduation from the MPA program, Kimball received a city manager job in Florida. As her family had always been drawn to Arizona’s beauty, Kimball found a position as the town manager of Dewey-Humboldt. Since her appointment in 2011, Kimball has now served as the town’s longest-tenured manager.
As one of Arizona’s newest incorporated municipalities, Dewey-Humboldt appointed Kimball to continue to build the organization and establish procedures from scratch. Because of the town’s youth, Kimball spends much of her time moving the town forward, overseeing the day-to-day operations and implementing the town council’s directives.
“On top of that, just like most managers for small towns, I wear many other hats,” said Kimball. “I am the town’s zoning administrator, the human resources director, the chief finance officer, the public information officer, and sometimes the receptionist!”
In addition to her role as a town manager, Yvonne is a board member for the Arizona City/County Management Association. She credits the organization to helping her learn from other managers and colleagues in the state who also manage city and town governments.
In her spare time, Kimball spends much of her time whipping up home-baked goodies for her young sons. Before coming to the United States, she had never used or even seen an oven. Once she learned its capabilities, she started baking desserts almost every weekend for recreation and still takes satisfaction in her boys enjoying her concoctions.
Kimball now feels like she is finally home in Arizona. She positively touches the lives of those in her community daily and in that aspect, finds working for a city the most rewarding job one can find.
“In retrospect, I was glad that I embraced the opportunities I had and was able to make the most of them. I am making a difference everyday within the community in which I work and live.”