United States Air Force
Kimberly Olson, Colonel, United States Air Force retired, is the former CEO/president of Grace After Fire. This Texas based nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping women veterans help themselves by providing the means for women to gain knowledge, insight and self-renewal. The team at Grace guides women veterans through peer to peer outreach as they re-enter their families, communities and the workforce. She also serves as a trustee on the Weatherford Independent School System, School Board, which was recognized as the Texas Outstanding Board of the Year, in 2009. Her educational experience included working as the director of human resources for the Dallas Independent School System, the 12th largest school district in Texas. Known for her global perspective, Olson has been the keynote speaker throughout the country and appeared on C-Span and other international and local television and radio shows.
Her first published book, Iraq and Back, Inside the War to Win the Peace, explores her journey through the sound and gender barriers of military aviation and the mission to rebuild Iraq. It is a gripping, firsthand account as seen from her unique point of view as a senior officer, pilot, wife and mother. She served twenty-five years in the Air Force and was part of the first generation of female military pilots. A command pilot, with nearly 4,000 hours of flying time, she was one of the first females to command an air refueling squadron. She served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Air Staff and was deployed to the combat zones of Iraq and Bosnia.
Recognized as a leader and trail blazer she was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, received the Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government, and the Federally Employed Women Distinguished Leadership Award.
A graduate from the Ohio State University with a bachelors degree in education. She earned three masters degrees, a fellowship at Seminar XXI Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed the Superintendents Academy with the Broad Center for the Management of School System.
After more than two decades of serving her nation, she makes her home in Mineral Wells, Texas with her husband at their "4-K River Ranch" on the Brazos River.