This article is a guest post that originally appeared on the New Orleans Junior Journalism Program website. It has been reprinted with permission. The author, Darreonna Davis is a senior at International High School.
Kim Boyle is a fine example of local black woman excellence in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born and raised in the Gentilly area by her school teacher mom and postal worker father, Boyle has risen to become a Princeton University and University of Virginia School of Law alumni and a partner attorney for Phelps Dunbar, LLP. Although she has been mentored and guided by several women, her mother is the most influential woman in her life, having been a strong, intelligent, dependable, and driven role model for her and her brother. As far as her legal career goes, she looks up to Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, who is the first African American Chief Justice in the Louisiana Supreme Court and the first woman to serve on the Civil District Court of New Orleans.
Having these influences, it is no wonder why Boyle has become such a trailblazer in the community herself. Being the first African-American president for the New Orleans Bar Association and the first African-American woman to be president for the Louisiana Bar Association and Co-Chair of the NO/AIDS Task Force, Boyle has walked into several rooms where African-American women were not the majority and became the face of the initiative. Boyle’s goal is to “pay it forward and pay it back.” Boyle tries to mentor and work with local youth to give them a positive image of successful black people and guidance to their next step and stage in life because she thinks “it’s important for associations to better reflect the demographics of the people they actually serve.” She finds it “bluntly imperative for us to try to kind of help bring along those that are younger than ourselves and bring them forward.” One person under her wing whom she is particularly proud of is her niece, Tiffany Boyle. She ran for office with a motive similar to her aunt’s motives for being affiliated with so many initiatives in New Orleans, to give back and improve the community in some way. Tiffany Boyle now serves as the Commissioner of Revenue for Newport News, Virginia and, like her aunt, is constantly breaking down barriers and owning her well-deserved seat at the table.
Although Kim Boyle’s time on these boards has run out, her work in the community has not run dry. You can now find Boyle active in education, as she serves on boards for Tulane University and Dillard University. She also serves on the board of Touro Infirmary and as a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. Her attraction to and passion for litigation work has not run dry, as she still stands strong as a constitutional law, labor and employment, and civil rights lawyer. Reprising a role she held in 2013, she is very excited to be on the committee for the Women’s Final Four of 2019. Her love for sports came from her father and, in college, she developed a respect for student-athletes and their ability to balance practicing over 40 hours a week with their educational responsibilities. She loves and admires the commitment, dedication, and passion these young ladies have when playing the game they love. “A lot of times, women in our society have felt you have to kind of hang back and not be as competitive and aggressive as men,” says Boyle. Boyle finds it fantastic that these women are defying that idea. Boyle finds inspiration in passionate, determined young women, and she inspires other young women to assert their seat at any table and make their presence memorable and respected on any boards.