Get to know me
Can you introduce yourself ?
Hi! I’m Kim.
Coach for highly sensitive people, certified Nutritionist, Fitness Instructor and freelance writer. I’m also a rescue cat Mom, and mindfulness advocate.
What’s unique about you?
I am Swiss-American living with my French husband and our Greek cat in Estonia. My first language is Swiss German but we speak English and French at home as well. It is quite a multicultural household 😉 I met my husband in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country, not the state).
My mother is Swiss and my father is American. I was born and raised in Switzerland. I spent some time in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA where I also went to college. Then I moved to Bern (the capital city of Switzerland), when I was 21, and in early 2020, I emigrated to Tallinn, Estonia.
What do you miss most about life in Switzerland?
My friends and family but, fortunately there are planes and whenever possible, I make it a priority to see them as often as possible.
Another thing that I really miss are my Mom’s homecooked meals! I currently try to recreate her famous cabbage (so far, not very successful) but hey, I’m working on it!
And the last thing I miss is nature with its stunning mountains, and my beloved “Gurten” I used to be an outside runner when I was still living in Bern and you could find me on the Gurten every weekend.
What I learned during 2020 though, is that you can create a home wherever you are. It is not about a specific place but much more about the people you’re surrounded with and the growth mindset you can create for yourself. In the end, I feel humbled for having the opportunity to live abroad and learn about the Estonian culture.
Very cliché but true – Emigration really does widen one’s horizon and you learn a lot about yourself.
What are your 3 most important things in life?
Family, health and love.
What do you enjoy doing?
I love to read fiction, mostly thrillers, and non-fiction as well; about nutritional education and personal development. I watercolor, write, meditate daily, travel, laugh a lot (yes, sometimes even about my own lame jokes), play the violin and I am a passionate runner, currently training for the Chicago marathon.
Out of all the places that you have traveled to, which one is your favorite?
Coming from an aviation family, I’ve been traveling a lot since I am very little. There are so many destinations I love; New York, Tel Aviv, Muscat, Tokyo, Moscow, Singapore,… the list goes on and on. I am glad my family has always placed so much emphasis on getting to know different cultures and being open-minded.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. Not many words, yet so much meaning. It comforted me in my darkest hours.
And basically, everything that was written by my favorite Swiss author, Martin Suter.
I am a big fan of reading between the lines and in my opinion, Martin Suter mastered the art of doing that combined with a good amount of situational comedy. I also adored his business class column.
I also love The Blooming of a Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh. His healing words help us acknowledge and dissolve anger and separation by illuminating the way toward the miracle of mindfulness.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes. I have an older sister who lives in Switzerland, a younger one living in Greece, and an older brother in the state of Washington. We are all very close despite the distance.
Why did you start with a nutrition career before life coaching?
Up until 2017, I was overweight and lethargic most of the time. Then I started to lose an abnormal amount of hair and I understood that something just wasn’t right. After several exams, my doctors discovered that I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis disease, meaning that my thyroid was not functioning properly. It creates a hormonal imbalance that results, among other things, in weight gain. That’s when I started looking into nutrition.
I was fascinated by how much I could change for the better with nutrition. I lost over 50 pounds switching to a plant-based and gluten-free diet combined with a lot of lifestyle adjustments. I was finally able to take back control.
However, I don’t think the diet I follow is the right solution for everyone. I am a big believer in emphasizing bio-individuality.
Back then, I was a flight attendant, traveling the world. But this life-changing discovery made me reconsider my priorities. I stopped flying, went back to school, earned my nutrition degree while also working as a doctor’s office manager, leading a small team. A stressful time but I am glad I pulled through.
One thing leading to another, after seeing how I got control over my life, I started digging into personal development, to help me find inner-peace and less emotional imbalance. That led me to meditation and mindfulness, and, more generally, building a mindset that gives me more peace on a daily basis.
I want to share with others what I learned throughout my journey as it was absolutely life-changing for me.
What does your perfect day look like?
I am a morning person, I like to get up super early – this is the time when I am the most productive. I’m a big coffee lover! 3 big cups with oat milk, a warm pecan-cinnamon porridge and I’m ready for the day.
I either run 8 – 10k on the treadmill or I do a Yoga workout followed by a short guided meditation, and I feel fully ready to start working with my clients.
I also love to go for a stroll along the coast or have lunch at my favorite vegan restaurant in the city. I am an Introvert and total homebody. Ending the day with a home-cooked meal, dining in front of the fireplace, cuddling with my cat and watching a true crime or horror movie sounds perfect to me.
As mentioned earlier, I am also a freelance writer. I started writing even before Kindergarten and participated in various contests as a child. You can find my latest essay about Health anxiety for the biggest online community for Introverts and award-winning Blog IntrovertDear.com here.
You talk about Reinvention… What do you mean by that?
I think we all deserve to live our best life, no matter the given circumstances. When I was at my absolute lowest in the past, with the help of a coach and mentor, I gathered all my strength and started my journey to become a stronger, healthier, and better version of myself in all aspects. Losing someone very close to me, made me also re-evaluate my whole life and values after realizing how fragile and precious life really is.
As an example, I used to love fashion, wanting to grow my Designer Handbag collection. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that if this is what you truly want and what makes you happy-I still keep and carry my bags- but I was craving a way more meaningful life that has nothing to do with any kind of materialistic possessions and shallow people I once surrounded myself with. Reconnecting with myself has become a priority and I love becoming more minimalistic with age. I am now happier than I have ever been and am living my best slow life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I love my job as a life coach for highly sensitive people (as I am myself). Seeing them transform and bloom is the most fulfilling career I could have ever dreamt of. I always believe people have more potential than they realize, and I am willing to encourage them to seek out that potential.
I believe life offers endless possibilities and the possibilities can be waiting behind every door. Why not strive for creating the most IDEAL life for ourselves as possible? We have the ability to create the life that we want. As I struggled myself in the past with self-confidence, overweight, anxiety, and losing my best friend in a homicide, ”coming out on the other, happy side” of life is something that hits close to home for me. I hope I will be able to succeed in my chosen career for as long as possible.
Another dream I have is building an animal sanctuary, but since we are not planning to settle in Estonia in the long run, this dream is currently on hold. In the meantime I am sponsoring a farm animal at my favorite sanctuary and also gladly raise awareness about animal exploitation and talk about the benefits of a plant-based diet on my Instagram account @kimbenker.
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
Humor – I have been through a very difficult time in the past, but I managed to never lose my humor. When you are around me, I’ll make sure you will laugh and have a good time. I am super clumsy and can totally laugh about myself.
Empathy – It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity and often is the key factor when it comes to finding the right success strategy map for my clients.
Kindness – I learned about the importance of cultivating kindness towards myself from my mentor. It has changed my whole outlook on the world.
Fairness – When I encounter inequity or unfairness, I think, “How can I fix this?” then work towards finding a solution.
I’m compassionate to the point of feeling bad for strangers, and, that’s not always easy. It took me years to fully realize that I am not able to control everything that happens in life, but we are able to control how we react to certain situations.
As a giver, it took me many years to learn how to be nice to myself and it still is something I’m working on every single day.
As a highly sensitive INFJ, I think and feel with a depth that brings challenges as well as amazing opportunities.
As an empath, I approach life with a profound sense of idealism and integrity… oh and I love love.