Life Bio

KIMYON ZARI (formerly Kim Lewis)

a Springfield, Massachusetts native, began her career as a passionate dancer, and by age 10, she entered a dance contest at Robin’s Den in Chicopee, MA.  Growing up as a teenager, Zari’s hometown penned her as the favorite and most powerful vocalist in New England.  She entered and won several 1st place awards from American International College, the Shriner’s Pageant, and other vocal competitions for young talent in Springfield, MA.  Eventually, organizations and businesses pursued Zari to host numerous events and/or to perform as guest of honor.  Zari’s voice training was short.  Her vocal teacher felt she already had a golden voice.

 

While performing at the Quality Inn for the Urban League, she met and teamed up with producer, Lou Hansen (deceased), guitarist, Doug Wimbush, and Skip McDonald to record her first single, Fantasize, on the 3C Sugar Hill label.  Fantasize was recognized in Billboard as a highly recommended single pick.  Zari recorded a few more singles and hired her voice out to other artists while traveling and performing across the country.  She joined the band New Star and began to travel abroad.  Zari performed with New Star for a few years catapulting the band into high demand before deciding to go solo. 

 

With an interest in theater, Zari auditioned for her first play and won the part of the girl in yellow in Ntozake Shange’s, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Wasn’t Enough.  Her first acting experience captivated her heart.  She continued to audition for and secure the lead roles of 7 more productions including Dr. Warner in Love Come Soon, written by 19 year old Jamilah, performed at Smith College; Cinderella, in Another Cinderella Story, produced by Mustard Seed Theater; Reba (the mother) in Before It Hits Home, produced by Jelupa Productions, and The Maid in To Kill a Mockingbird at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield.

 

Zari’s incredible ability to make her layered talents work to her advantage is brilliant.  She took to radio at 90.7 FM, STCC, where she connected with the community with genuine passion.  With multilit telephone lines, the audience asked questions, shared their stories, or expressed love for ‘that voice’.  Destination Radio was a program ahead of its time.  Zari promoted continuous development to the community by creating a culture of opportunity and setting new standards of excellence using people’s experiences as springboards for new achievements. The following quote by Dr. Maya Angelou changed her life: I want all of my senses engaged in this life”.  Says Zari, “Life is supposed to be lived with passion, and we have the ability to control a portion of our lives through the thinking that we engage in.  This is the foundation of my work; change our thinking and we will change our lives”.

 

She soon collaborated with Patriennah Acoste-Pelle of Noelle Elaine Media, Inc., consultant for Black Enterprise and began a business dialogue that took the Pioneer Valley by storm.  Zari created The New Age Black Business Zone, a business etiquette series for Black Business Owners.  A feature to her Destination Radio series of empowerment messages, she interviewed contributing writers, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and celebrity guests who shared their rags to riches stories as well as business and financial discussions and other significant and relevant issues America faces every day.  She started her first small business at the suggestion of an In the Spirit article by Susan L. Taylor, formerly of Essence Magazine, and created small seminars and workshops.  This action lead to full three-day conferences, Celebrating Ourselves: Soul, Mind & Body focused on healing, developing, and raising our consciousness.  Community is important to Zari and she truly believes that when you are involved in life, life embraces you with love. 

 

Zari, inundated with calls to speak throughout the Eastern Region presented to four sold out audiences at the American Cancer Society’s Day of Health and Beauty, her self-created seminar, The Body Beautiful.  Fun and informative, she encouraged participants to take action by strengthening their health through commitment rather than compliance.  She used skits, music, statistics, and invited audience participation.  Some of Zari’s clients included:  American Cancer Society, Massachusetts Career Development Institute, Professional Women’s Group, Dress for Success Program, City of Springfield AHEC/Reach Program, Somers Correctional Facility, Advantics Incorporated, Chamber of Commerce Reaching Goals, United States Air Force, Calhoun Street Mentor Program, NAACP, and the Urban League of Springfield, MA, to name a few. 

 

A natural in advertising and marketing, Zari undertook the task of working with Pastor Howard John Wesley of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, MA.  Her job was to write the television commercials, moderate the radio and TV interviews, and assist the pastor on positioning his professional image.  Due to her marketing efforts in conjunction with other professionals, this Easter event at Symphony Hall, there was no room at the INN.  The event completely sold out.   

 

In 1997, Zari attended Maria Dowd’s African American Women on Tour (AAWOT) conferences from state to state.  AAWOT brought Zari a fresh awareness of life that her soul longed for.  Meeting 20 women from around the country helped Zari to think about how she was living and introduced her to diverse opportunities to create a better life.  Shortly thereafter, Zari attended The Female Clergy under the tutelage of Pastor Catherine Joshua-Adonais and was licensed in 2002 (ordained in 2005).  After a 5 year meditation period, Zari changed her name legally crediting the African American Women on Tour Women’s Retreat, for opening her eyes to the importance of your name.

 

In 2003, she moved to North Carolina.  Says Zari, “For two years, I was dying inside.  At 42 years of age and 165 pounds of solid muscle, my arteries and chest wall, lined with disease and inflammation, was killing me softly.  Her doctor told her she had the worst case of heart disease he’d ever seen in a woman her age.  It was a wakeup call Zari will always remember. 

 

In November of 2003, Zari endured a triple bypass surgery coupled with lupus that took her out of the work force indefinitely.  On a quest for deeper meaning in her life, Zari started a grassroots online newsletter in November 2006.  In July 2007, she enrolled at IPEC School of Coaching and started her coaching practice simultaneously.  While studying, she began connecting with various online communities to see how she could align her values with others.  Zari served as the official online coach for Black Business Space and wrote for both Ezine Articles and Success.com.  You can read about Zari’s life in various magazines such as Today’s Charlotte Woman, ClickPress, The Hartford Inquirer, The Enquirer-Journal, Monroe,NC ArriveNet, Pride Magazine, Unity First, and Healthquest. 

 

Honors and Awards

  

Women Unlimited Magazine honored Zari with the Woman of Distinction Award, and AHEC/Reach Program honored her with the Spirit of Life and Community Award. Ambassador for Life Potential and the American Heart and Stroke Association, honored Zari with the Lifestyle Change Award, and the American Cancer Society awarded her with a Certificate of Appreciation for her volunteer involvement. 

 

Now Zari is sanding and polishing her coaching skills to create the most infectious coaching practice in her time.  With all that she’s done, Zari’s life is just beginning and her voice is loud and clear.  She thanks the Almighty God, maker of the Universe, and creator of her life, her children, and her authentic family and friends, for their love and support that strengthens her, enabling her to give more and enjoy life.     

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