Each morning, she packs her daughter’s lunch, does her own hair and make-up and makes her way to her office and pod, which is covered in push-pinned memorabilia and family photos. Sounds like a normal morning routine, yes? Not really. It starts at 2:55 a.m. Kimberly Suiters is that girl, the one who seemingly has everything. An intriguing career as a television journalist and published author. A kind-hearted and curious elementary-age daughter, who incidentally would prefer that her mom be a “baby doctor” instead of a television journalist. And an engaging love story with her husband. Kimberly is beautiful and an ultimate achiever, yet she lacks any air of pretentiousness and instead demonstrates striking humility. She readily downplays her many accomplishments and even notes that “so much is serendipity.” Kimberly grew up in Northern Virginia, where she spent countless childhood hours performing mock newscasts for her family.
After earning a master’s degree at University of Missouri, our nation’s oldest journalism school, she became a reporter for a television station in Greenville, South Carolina. There, she befriended Tyler Suiters, a fellow television journalist from Northern Virginia. He was a smart, kind and athletic Southern gentleman, and the two married in 2000. They spent several years in Oklahoma City, working for the local ABC affiliate. Kimberly also authored two books, A Random Act and Twist of Faith, taught a college journalism course and birthed their daughter, Sloane.
In June 2008, Kimberly returned to the D.C. area to join NBC4 as an anchor and reporter.
In her twenties, Kimberly had interned for the station and for Dateline with Lea Thompson, whom Kimberly describes as “an exceptional journalist, mom and mentor.” Given Kimberly’s childhood here, her prior affiliation with NBC4 and her decades-long devotion to the news, her return to this area—and to the Channel 4 newsroom, in particular—was both a homecoming and a lifelong dream. Kimberly feels privileged to tell others’ stories each day, especially in the town she loves. She knows that each time she’s permitted into someone’s innermost surroundings, she’s blessed with a gift. She respects the subjects of her reports and readily recalls names of people—children, in particular— who’ve touched her with their stories.
Today, Kimberly makes it all look easy. But lest you think it’s truly a cinch, here’s a glimpse into her day: She arrives at the station by 4 a.m., and moments later, she’s tapping away at her computer as she preps stories for the 5 a.m. newscast. On the day that I shadowed Kimberly, I was awed by her poise and graciousness and by the newsroom’s calm—even as news broke regarding a local high school lockdown. Kimberly did a series of live reports between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., when News4 broke for the Today show. Then, she slipped on some sneakers for a brisk half-mile walk to Starbuck’s, where she had her morning’s first and only latte. Kimberly made quick time back to the station, prepped more news stories and delivered a live report at 11 a.m. That day, she wrapped up at noon, but she’s often on air again when she hosts NBC4’s Daily Connection, and on those days, she concludes her workday by 3 p.m. Oh, and on weekends, she’s the co-anchor for News4 Today and she sleeps in until 4 a.m.
Kimberly’s schedule and pace are impressive, but what’s most remarkable is the balance she’s managed to find. She considers her early mornings a blessing, as they permit her to spend afternoons with Sloane, a budding ballerina and violinist. Kimberly makes a point to “date” her husband, Tyler, even though their schedules sometimes require days without seeing one another, which keeps them “madly in love.” Kimberly adds, “we both buy in to this: no matter what, our marriage is forever.” All the while, Kimberly nurtures relationships with longtime girlfriends. Indeed, when I asked one of her closest friends to describe Kimberly, she paused, suggested that she didn’t know where to start, and then noted, “She’s amazing, really.” Perhaps what’s amazing is watching a woman fulfill a dream and getting the feeling that her story doesn’t end there.
Leigh Macdonald is an attorney and former law professor, but nowadays, she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Nice Shoes, A Great Bag, and No Drama. Leigh is a staunch advocate for real beauty and personal style, and she lives in Leesburg, VA, with her husband and two children. leigh@NiceShoesNoDrama.com