On her way to becoming president of Glynn Griffing and Associates, Kim Griffing Porter had a musical career. After earning degrees in music from Ole Miss and Boston University, she won a competition as a soprano and traveled the world with a youth orchestra and choir.
“I had an opportunity to sing and travel all over the world, but I didn’t want to live out of a suitcase,” she says of her decision to return home to Jackson. “It wasn’t hard to give it up because I wanted to settle down and have a family. I needed a job and my dad made me the receptionist.”
She joined her dad’s firm in 1993 and learned the business of providing clients with professional employee benefits administration and insurance options. The company was established in 1968 and is one of the larger independent third party administrators in Mississippi, servicing accounts nationwide. Through the years Porter became more involved in the decision making, then a licensed agent and administrator, followed by vice president and financial officer, and one year ago became president.
“I’ve had one full year as president and haven’t sunk the ship yet,” she said. “I am most pleased when I can walk away from a job with the client satisfied with the results of the work performed. Our mission statement is important to us and describes what our company is about.”
As the company celebrates its 25th anniversary, the mission continues, which is to be a leader in the industry, providing superior products and excellent customer service.
“What we do means a lot to people. Employee benefits are so important to employees and employers. It gives them peace of mind,” Porter said. “That’s what I love about what we do. I must stay calm and reassure them if they don’t understand.”
Porter manages an office of 13 employees but is still hands on during the open enrollment period in the fall. “Being able to help employers look at what they’ll save with the cafeteria plan, and having employees see their paychecks increase is rewarding for me,” she said. “We have the opportunity to explain the plan, and seeing relief on their faces is priceless.”
At this point Porter can’t think of herself doing anything other than what she’s doing. Music remains a big part of her life; it runs deep in her roots. Her grandfather, Heinrich Roth, brought his business of making stringed instruments to the U.S., and her mother’s cousin still makes them in Germany.
Porter finds time to listen to music and to sing in the choir at First Presbyterian Church. She was also soloist in a recent production of the Mississippi Opera. In July she will become president of the Symphony League.
The Junior League of Jackson has been a big part of her community involvement since 1998. She has served on the board of directors and was part of those who helped establish the Mississippi Children’s Museum. She served as an advisor for Mistletoe Marketplace and is currently an advisor to the provisional committee. Next year she will be an advisor to the finance committee and to the board. “I can’t imagine life without doing community things,” she said. “Serving in various roles in the Junior League helped me learn how to run things efficiently.”
In 2011, she was a top ten finalist among the Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Leading Business Women.
The different hats Porter wears include being the wife of Trey Porter, who works with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and mother of Claire, 13, and Madeleine, 14.
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