Kim Sullivan Harwanko
I’m a freelance writer – after going back to college and graduating in my early 50’s with a degree in journalism from Rutgers. After 23 years as a litigation paralegal, those 18-year-olds didn’t scare me. I loved every minute of being in college. As one student told me “Ma’am – you’re ruining the curve for the rest of us.” Who would have thought?
I blog, I tweet, I post for some of the nicest interior designers in Northern New Jersey and am also a contributing writer to local community newspapers. See www.writingkim.com. I’m an active member of the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center and a board member for Mansion in May, a designer showhouse.
I founded our book club, Between Friends, in 2004 and began a website devoted to it in 2008 at www.betweenfriendsbookclub.com.
I am an embracer of creativity and curiosity and a strong believer in the power of storytelling.
Speaking of storytelling… at one point in school, we were given a “job assessment” to see what we were best suited for in the future. My top job came out as “circus performer.” I didn’t even know that was an option.
Instead, I spent 35 years in corporate communications where I successfully juggled myriad projects (social media, media relations and everything in between) without dropping a ball; jumped through burning hoops to satisfy demanding clients and gracefully swung from deadline to deadline usually without a net.
Born and bred in NYC, I am the oldest of five children in a traditional Puerto Rican family. Always striving for personal improvement, I have never stopped trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Upon discovering that nursing school wasn’t for me, I tried my hand at selling insurance and real estate and held positions in the banking and investment industries. Eventually, a technical sales career in telecommunications suited me perfectly for many years, during which time I married and moved across the river to New Jersey to raise family.
Now a mother of two and a divorced empty nester, my latest career is in consumer health marketing. Still moonlighting, but this time with dear friends from book club in a collaboration of fictional love stories, as an author. Finally, my life’s journey makes sense.
I grew up in Midwestern bliss with a cornfield down the road, and two “Cheaper by the Dozen” families bookending my block. The announcement of our move to NJ was met with tears and TV-induced fears—of riots, of congestion, and of “tough” people. Relocating at age 9, I quickly met my future husband (married 28 years), and I fell in love with the state’s greenery, beaches, and people. I am proud to be able to negotiate traffic circles and jug-handles, and to pump my own gas, even though I don’t have to!
I have had a love-hate relationship with writing. It is a passion but also can be a torture. Case in point is my college senior thesis of 150+ pages, on which I labored in hermitic seclusion in a friend’s vacated dorm room for several weeks in order to make deadline and get my “A”. I existed on caffeine and dining hall meals delivered by kind friends–one even sent me a sympathy card via campus mail.
With three young adult children and an approaching empty nest, I am looking forward to returning to writing. A la Tom Clancy, I’ll do corporate insurance by day, writing by night. Totally ready for this next chapter in my life.
I’m a Jersey girl, without the much talked about big hair. I have lived in 7 of the 21 counties in my beautiful state. It is to my utter amazement that I have to admit to saying “I do” to three different men. Sometimes life takes turns that are surprising and unexpected. With my third husband I added 4 “bonus children” to the two I gave birth to. In the ensuing years the family has grown with marriages and babies. By end of summer this year we will have two granddaughters and two grandsons. Truly blessed.
I have worked in, left and returned three times to be a part of my law firm. Starting in my late teens as an assistant to the bookkeeper and over time I became the head of the accounting department and eventually added office administrator to the mix. I’m also a licensed realtor and enjoy helping people find their perfect home.
Having lost my parents at a young age I have a real appreciation and love for spending time with all my family. I love to cook and bake, which everyone enjoys. Reading, gardening, sewing, counted cross stitch and crafts have also been an integral part of my entire life.