Kaye Schmitz, from St. Augustine, FL, began her career as a Systems Engineer for the IBM Corporation. During her fifteen years with IBM, Kaye held several marketing positions and finished her career there as an Executive Client Relationship Representative, counting among her clients such industry giants as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Winn-Dixie Stores, and Vistakon, maker of the Acuvue contact lenses. For her final seven years with IBM, Kaye volunteered for United Way of Northeast Florida and when the position of Vice President of Marketing came open, she was lucky enough to get it. At United Way, Kaye was able to bring some innovative techniques and creative processes to the organization. At the end of five years, she left United Way and formed her own consulting company, KDS Communications.
A writer and editor throughout the bulk of her other careers, Kaye also does project coordination, grant writing, meeting facilitation, and benchmarking, all of which, she says, were critical skills necessary to enable her to become the Executive Director of the RealSense Prosperity Campaign, an initiative of United Way of Northeast Florida. Kaye was the initial 'point person' for the RealSense campaign and implemented it from an idea on paper. Since its inception in 2003, the dollar amount of Earned Income Tax Credit brought back into Northeast Florida through the RealSense volunteer tax preparers has grown by more than 760%. Kaye credits this increase to incredible synergy among the partners in addition to United Way that include the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the IRS, the City of Jacksonville, the National Disability Institute, local and national banking organizations, the non-profit community, the higher education community, and all of the other organizations from every sector of the community that share her passion for the effort. She is married to Michael, the perfect man and is the mother of two grown children and four grandchildren, all of whom, fortunately, live close to her in Florida.