Rice Executive MBA Alum Wins 2012 Women on the Move Award

On November 1, Rice Executive MBA alumnus Kim Denney was honored by Texas Executive Women as one of 10 Women on the Move for 2012. Texas Executive Women is an organization that supports, develops, and funds the advancement of women and girls in the community. The organization is made up of professional women within various professions. The Women on the Move designation represents “the best of the best,” according to the organization.

Denney was already on her way to becoming the best of the best when she arrived at the Jones School in 1999 to pursue her Executive MBA. The engineer was a successful business manager at the time, “but all of my business knowledge was self-taught,” she explains. “I had moved up through general management. I had absorbed things through osmosis and by watching others, but I thought I needed a real education in these business areas, and I wanted to develop the confidence that what I knew and what I believed to be true were in fact true.”

She chose the Rice MBA for Executives program at the Jones School because she knew that Rice had a great reputation, and since she was maintaining her full-time job and raising a family, the program was ideal for her lifestyle. She most enjoyed the fact that because the classes were full of executives, the professors structured the classes as a dialogue, which gave her an opportunity to learn from her peers. “I loved listening to the experiences of various people in the classes, and though I did the program to learn business, what the program really gave me was the data that says you’re doing it right, which you need when you’re in mid-career,” she says.

When Denney left the program, she was almost immediately given additional opportunities for growth in her company. “I think the firm knew when I completed the program that I had choices,” she says. “And I believe they wanted to make sure that I knew the firm believed in me and they wanted to make sure that I continued to choose them.”

Denney’s career continued to flourish, as she later became vice president, president, and then chief administrative officer at Air Liquide USA, LLC, the world’s leading supplier of industrial and medical gases. She is now a partner at the Newport Board Group.

And though those leadership positions are impressive, it’s her business success coupled with her reputation for giving back that helped her garner the honor of being one of the Texas Executive Women’s 2012 Women on the Move.

Women on the Move recognizes 10 women with business success and an obvious bent toward giving back to the community in a meaningful way. Explains Denney, “I’m on a few non-profit boards, and I have a history of participating in non-profits from the time I was little and collecting door-to-door for the March of Dimes with my mom. I have always done things throughout my life to give back.”

She adds, “The women who’ve won this award represent a broad cross-section of expertise and interests. They are women I’m extraordinarily proud to stand next to.”

—M. Yvonne Taylor