Debbie Kling, who has called Idaho home for 26 years, began her life journey in Olathe, Kansas, where she lived for 33 years. “When we first moved here I had a T-shirt that said: Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” says Kling with a smile.
Growing up, Kling was involved in 4-H and got a collection of ribbons in horses, cattle, sewing, cooking and photography, to name a few. “My very first year showing horses, I took first in class,” Kling says.
She had an all-American high school experience as a cheerleader who was also nominated for homecoming queen.
She points to her parents as inspirational figures. “One of the greatest influences in my life was my father, who was an amazing business leader, community leader and servant,” Kling says. “At the age of 42, a write-up in our local newspaper referenced him as a ‘community father.’ My mother was also an example of steadfastness and faith.”
While her children were growing up, Kling was a stay-at-home mom. But upon moving to Idaho, she became involved with the Junior League. She led the campaign for the very first Lunch for Literacy, an annual fundraiser that raises awareness for the need of increased literacy.
Next, Kling became involved with the International Association of Assembly Managers, industry leaders from across the nation, who worked to identify core competencies essential to successful public facility management (stadiums, arenas, performing arts facilities and convention centers). “We published the first text book, ‘Principles and Practices of Facility Management,’ and identified educational institutions to offer a master level program in facility management,” says Kling. She also helped organize the first University Venue Management Conference.
As executive director for Team Idaho Inc., Kling provided leadership and oversight to the
Western Governors Association Annual Meeting 2001 and the National Governors Association 2002 Annual Meeting. She was the general manager of Qwest Arena 2001 to 2006. She also worked as vice president of author relations and legal management for Unity Media Group prior to her current post as president and CEO at the Nampa Chamber.
All of her past experience has laid a foundation for her role today, she says.
“I’ve had over 20 years serving in leadership roles within public, private and community organizations with comprehensive experience in all phases of management and organizational development. My role is to lead our leaders, ensure we move ideas into strategy and then into action.
“Helping others succeed is my personal mission. It brings me joy to help others fulfill their dreams and goals.”
Kling has been married for 41 years to her husband, Jim, and they have three children and 10 grandchildren. “When we all get together, it’s a ton of fun,” she says.
Kling says she loves her work and constantly searches for ways to make Nampa a better place to live and work. And she is proud of her community.
“Nampa has a strong sense of community, where people come alongside and help others,” she says. “My hope is that the people of Nampa believe in themselves and have a hope for the future. I’m committed to help get us there.”