Kim Foley of Smartphone Video Production Academy: “Belonging and being part of a community is very important to me”

I am located in Washington, DC area, a unique city during this volatile time. I chose to limit negative TV news and I schedule time to turn off the computer and safely get outside, walk, play tennis and see friends. I also practice transcendental meditation and find it to be the most helpful way for […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

I am located in Washington, DC area, a unique city during this volatile time. I chose to limit negative TV news and I schedule time to turn off the computer and safely get outside, walk, play tennis and see friends. I also practice transcendental meditation and find it to be the most helpful way for me to reboot, refresh, and recharge.

Author, Speaker, Media Coach and Award-Winning Video Producer, Kim Foley is the President of Kim Foley, LLC and the Founder of Smartphone Video Production Academy. With a passion for helping businesses maximize their credibility, she helps people manage the way they are perceived on-screen and fine-tune their presentations skills for virtual meetings, video presentations or television appearances.

Born in Naples, Italy, to Irish American parents, Kim Foley grew up in Hawaii, Louisiana, and the Nation’s Capital. An only child, growing up at with a father in the military, she learned at an early age the importance of adapting to new situations and creating connections with people.

When television personalities want to look their best they turn to Kim Foley. Ms. Foley has helped industry leaders, journalists, celebrities, politicians, and public figures look their best on and off camera. When Covid hit, the Award-winning TV producer, media trainer, and television stylist began consulting with professionals about how to enhance their credibility and on-camera skills while working virtually. With over 25 years of experience, Kim Foley gets to the core of technical challenges with sound, lighting, framing, and maximizing internet connections, presentation skills, important body language cues, how to polish their image with wardrobe and grooming techniques for on-camera video conferencing, how to create optimal backgrounds and etiquette best practices for virtual meetings.

In order to create a valuable resource for her clients, Kim Foley released Virtual Meetings With Power and Presence: The Ultimate Guide To Online Meetings, an actionable book of techniques, complete with full color illustrations, to help people look and sound better in virtual meetings. Virtual Meetings with Power and Presence is available in print and eBook on Amazon.

Kim Foley is known for her highly effective Credibility Training Programs for organizations. Her seminars have helped participants enhance their credibility, improve their verbal and non-verbal communication skills and boost productivity. Her seminar clients have included Fortune 500 companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Rockwell International, and American Express. Her program, “Credibility in the Courtroom” for litigation attorneys has been presented for the National Association of Criminals Defense Lawyers.

As the Founder of Smartphone Video Production Academy, Kim Foley has a passion for helping businesses join the video revolution. She has developed an innovative training program that teaches organizations how to use the advances in smartphone technology to create and edit professional quality video. Her clients include ExxonMobil, The Jewish Federation, KPMG and Nestle as well as government agencies and nonprofits. Ms. Foley is also a speaker for conferences.

Ms. Foley has consulted with the Children’s National Medical Center on the psychological impact of disfigurement. Her use of aesthetic makeup for rehabilitation has set new standards in helping children adjust to living with permanent disfigurement. For this work, she was cited in the book “Mega-Trends for Women” and featured in “Family Circle” magazine, and was presented with the “Women Who Make a Difference” award.

As a video producer, she has won a Telly Award and has produced hundreds of videos for corporations, associations, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs nationwide. As an accomplished abstract artist, she has shown her work in juried exhibitions nationally. Her favorite pastimes are tennis and exploring the culinary arts.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I am a military brat who was born in Italy and grew up in Hawaii, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and a few other places. Being an only child, moving around and adapting to new schools and friends definitely affected the person I am today. I think moving so much and adapting to new environments taught me empathy towards others and how to make friends. I love to connect with people deeply and authentically.

Belonging and being part of a community is very important to me. In addition, my experiences have helped me understand the nuances of communication and image in various cultures. I grew up being an observer. My curiosity led me to study how individuals perceive one another, and to explore how others’ perception of you can affect your potential.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of the most powerful memories I have of my mother is something she would say to me when I felt overwhelmed: “How do you move a mountain? The unexpected answer was: A teaspoon at a time.” Those words of wisdom have served me well in my business and personal life. We all have moments when we are overwhelmed — maybe even paralyzed — by the task at hand. By breaking down the situation before us into smaller bite-sized pieces, we are able to get started and reduce our anxiety. I make lists for each “mountain,” which helps me prioritize activities and accomplish my tasks, one teaspoon at a time.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

There are two books that deeply affected me when I read them years ago. Thinking Big and Think and Grow Rich. These two books were clearly not written for women, and I felt like I had stumbled upon a way to learn about the male psyche as it applied to power and confidence. These books helped me to rethink my limiting beliefs. More recently, the book Blink really clarified and supported what I have found to be true in media: Optics matter.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

Before the pandemic, I had my own company, and I was sharing my time between video production, media training, and television styling for highly visible individuals and TV networks. My clients were politicians, leaders of industry, TV personalities, and sports figures. I was also traveling and training nationally, as I taught corporate and government organizations how to create and edit professional quality video with a smartphone. In addition, I coached clients in media training — teaching people how to be credible on-camera, master body language cues, read teleprompter, use voice inflection, and choose the most appropriate wardrobe and make-up for their media appearances.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

First, I cried, because it wasn’t immediately clear to me how I would be able to work with my clients without being with them in person. I was overwhelmed at having to learn the technology of all the various virtual platforms. I was initially stumped, but then determined to figure out how I could use my expertise and media skills to help my clients enhance their credibility in every online meeting.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

The first time I went virtual, I had an amazing Aha moment: virtual meetings needed the same skills and techniques as being on video — framing, lighting, good audio, the right body language, wardrobe and makeup! It blew my mind when I realized that my entire life of acquiring these different skill sets would come together and help me pivot my business to something valuable for every business and individual who was trying to lead, inspire, entertain or inform!

How are things going with this new initiative?

My plans were turned upside down as I explored how I could be a change agent to help companies up their game to maximize their virtual presence. Three months into pivoting my business, my services were in demand, and I had learned so much from my clients’ challenges, that I felt compelled to write the book Virtual Meetings with Power and Presence. This has led more people to learn about all the services I offer, and has given individuals and companies a valuable resource. Now, I am expanding my coaching and creating digital courses to address the needs of anyone working virtually. The pandemic radically changed the course of my business, however, I am grateful for all the new ways I have been able to contribute to the success of entrepreneurs and organizations.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Prior to the pandemic, Judy Schramm, founder of ProResource, heard me speak at a class I was giving at Microsoft. Although we had never met, when COVID-19 hit, she reached out to me and offered to sponsor Virtual Meetings with Power and Presence webinars. I was thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to, once again, learn something new, step out of my comfort zone, and help people worldwide build their credibility online.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

I work with many highly visible individuals. Confidentiality is paramount, since many people do not want it known that they have a consultant helping them with their image. This means that very few people will give permission for me to take before-and-after shots. I was walking in my neighborhood and had a stranger stop me; he said that he had seen me in a webinar and asked if I was the Kim Foley who presented webinar about virtual meetings. After I affirmed who I was, the man said that he was a journalist, and explained how bad he thought he looked in all of his meetings. We decide to meet online for a consultation. He was so blown away with the results that he allowed me to use the before-and-after screenshots in my book and social media.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Stay in your lane.

What is the best use of your time? You are not the best person to run every aspect of your business. Decide what you are best at, and delegate or find people who can help you with the other aspects of running your business. I recently decided to let go of designing my branding materials because it was taking too much of my time that should have been used to produce video, train clients and create webinars. Even though I enjoyed the creative aspect of designing, I was not nearly as good or efficient as a professional graphic designer.

2. Create a brainstorming group.

I recently had some important business options to consider, and was torn about the potential outcomes. After contacting my brainstorming group, I received three different ways I could proceed that I had not thought of, completely changing the course of business.

3. Schedule your priorities.

Put important personal activities such as exercise and meditation on your schedule. As an entrepreneur, it often feels like there are never enough hours in a day to get everything accomplished. Make your mental and physical health a priority. Personal care and rejuvenation can easily get bumped if they do not have a time allotment in your calendar.

4. Prioritize digital file management.

Learn how to label and use folders. Being able to quickly find any document you need alleviates a lot of frustration and saves time. In addition, curating your contact list is essential. Everyone you meet is potentially a valuable contact. Make a contact card for everyone you meet, with notes on how you met and their company and position. You never know when someone you’ve met through someone else or at a networking event could turn out to be a pivotal connection. I regret that I didn’t master this earlier, and I wish I had known the importance and value of this when I first started my own business.

5. Get your ego out of your branding.

Is your ego stopping you from being on video or even turning on your camera in virtual meetings? Usually, people do this because they either don’t like the way they look, or they’re not confident about their presentations skills and they’re afraid of looking foolish. I call this ego sabotage, and my job is to fix that. Get help bringing your personal best to any on-camera opportunity. When you avoid showing up visually you will undermine your best intentions. Instead, fall in love with who you have created so that you can come across with power and confidence. It’s all about how you make others feel and what you can do for them.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I am located in Washington, DC area, a unique city during this volatile time. I chose to limit negative TV news and I schedule time to turn off the computer and safely get outside, walk, play tennis and see friends. I also practice transcendental meditation and find it to be the most helpful way for me to reboot, refresh, and recharge.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Respect for science. I would like to create “planet-changing awareness” that focuses on how we all share this home called Earth. By understanding that we have the power to positively affect each other’s life experiences, many more individuals may begin to take responsibility for their actions and hold their government accountable to affect long term change.

When we make a commitment to conservation and recycling, we can greatly affect climate change, weather catastrophes, and stop the extinction of many plants and animals. We should all be invested in finding ways to help our fellow travelers on this planet have access to food, medicine, and a safe place to live in peace.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Since much of what I do affects the subliminal aspects of how people are perceived virtually or on camera, I would love to have a conversation with Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Blink and other excellent books.

How can our readers follow you online?

I can be found at, and kimfoley on LinkedIn or @kimfoleyvideo on all other platforms.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Top 11 Thought Leaders Thriving in 2021

by Courtney James

Kim Carruthers: “Spend time with family and friends”

by Ben Ari
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Social Impact Heroes: Cassandra Foley and Julia Chiango of Philly Phairytale provide free prom dresses to young women who cannot afford one

by Yitzi Weiner
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.