Kimbra Brookstein and the Value of Mentorship

Why is STEM diversity so important? For Kimbra Brookstein, the Global Leader Tech Women @ Intuit and San Diego Squared mentor, it can be summed up in one word: innovation.


A huge aspect of increasing diversity and a sense of belonging in STEM is mentorship- we see that firsthand with the SD2 Fellows program. Our mentors are current STEM professionals, paired with a local high school student from an underrepresented community to help them learn about career options, create a plan for their future, and build their professional network through monthly meetings and regular communication. Whether it’s giving a mentee a tour of your office, helping them understand college applications, or just lending an ear and some advice, mentors make lasting changes to the lives and futures of their students.


Someone who understands the power and importance of mentorships is Kimbra Brookstein.  She saw her mentee, Shukriya, earn a full-ride scholarship to college while also creating and maintaining a worldwide mentorship network with her full-time job at Intuit.

A Career of Impact

With a career path that’s anything but linear, Kimbra has a background in many different industries that eventually led her to a dream job in technology. She’s an award-winning leader and advocate, working to make STEM a more inclusive industry and showing us that there isn’t only one path to success.


She’s created game-changing programming that helps women and other communities gain a sense of belonging in their careers, launched a global mentorship program, and continues to give back her time to advocate for equity and diversity.


Sales and Marketing

After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a degree in communications, Kimbra began her professional career in sales and marketing. Working at companies such as Rolling Stone Magazine and The National Captioning Institute, as well as creating original content for iconic brands like Infiniti, Ford, and Coca-Cola with the Digital Broadcasting Group, she gained ample experience in program management.


After working in Los Angeles for over seven years, Kimbra decided to move back home to San Diego, where she grew up.


Discovering Tech

Leaving her job as an account executive back in LA, Kimbra wasn’t sure what she wanted to do in San Diego. Over a year after making the move, she landed a job with Dev Bootcamp as a community marketing manager, where she was a founding member of their San Diego campus.


Dev Bootcamp, which was an 18-week coding boot camp for career changers, showed her the limitless potential that the tech industry has to offer. She grew familiar with the San Diego tech community while working to attract more women and underrepresented groups into engineering through the boot camp, focusing on getting involved internally and volunteering her time within the field. She quickly gained a passion for providing pathways for underrepresented groups to make their way into tech.


Through her community marketing manager position, Kimbra began to build relationships with the corporate partners that Dev Bootcamp worked with. One of those partners, Intuit, soon had the perfect opportunity for her: a program manager role on the Tech Women @ Intuit team (TWI).


Making Waves at Intuit

Kimbra has now been at Intuit for nearly seven years, working her way up to being the global leader of TWI and staff program manager, DEI in Tech on Intuit’s core Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. She creates and implements strategic programming around the country to help attract, engage, and develop women and underrepresented groups in the tech ecosystem, on top of mentoring others who may just be getting started in their careers.


In 2020, Kimbra created the TWI Mentorship program, which in the first four years has impacted nearly 2,000 employees. The program uses a third-party matching system that takes into account participants’ goals, skills, and locations, creating partnerships that have similar values, who then meet monthly for six months. After those six months, the mentors and mentees are encouraged to stay in contact, but also to switch pairs to continue building their “personal board of directors.”


Kimbra has been instrumental in running a wide portfolio of programs that contributed to Intuit becoming a powerhouse for inclusive workplace culture via the mentorship program she led. Programs like hers have been shown to increase the number of diverse women in leadership roles, helping women to build the relationships that help them continue to grow within the industry.


“When we think of a formal structured mentorship program or pairing,” Kimbra said in an interview with Intuit, “it does not have to be that. It can be casual. There’s no right or wrong way to invest in yourself or others.”


She’s honed in on her determination to forge pathways for underrepresented groups to discover a sense of belonging in tech by expanding her programs within Intuit to an array of different communities, including people of different underrepresented races and genders.



Her work for supporting diversity and belonging has earned her well-deserved recognition across different outlets. On top of being a keynote speaker and moderator for many engagements and being featured in multiple publications, Kimbra has been honored with:

  • Women In Tech ERG Leader of the Year award winner in 2023
  • Individual In Technology Award winner in 2021
  • Being a Top Woman of Influence Technology by the San Diego Business Journal for four years straight, and a Leader of Influence in Technology in 2024


Kimbra’s work is appreciated not only by major companies but also by the people she works with to make a difference.


“Kimbra is a force,” Fran Hauser, an author and keynote speaker who has worked with Kimbra said, “In her role with Tech Women @ Intuit, she’s leading the conversation around women’s leadership and fulfillment. She’s also been instrumental in expanding the initiative beyond women, to all underrepresented groups in tech.”


Bringing Her Love of Mentorship to SD2

Kimbra has been involved with San Diego Squared since its inception. The space for her to help mentor and guide the next generation of tech leaders was a natural decision for her– and she’s been able to see the results of that mentorship in real time.


Connecting Over Shared Passions

Kimbra met H. Puentes, who would become SD2 Co-Founder, President & CEO, when they both sat on a diversity panel together over eight years ago. They bonded over their work and ambitions for diversity within STEM, supporting each other ever since.


Wherever H.’s and Kimbra’s careers took them, they were always cheering each other on. When H. launched San Diego Squared, she jumped at the opportunity to get involved. She organized a virtual site visit for one of the first cohorts of Fellows, where they were able to see Intuit and get a feel for what a career in tech looked like, became a mentor for a high school student, and has been a consistent supporter of SD2’s mission ever since.


Kimbra and Shukriya

In the fall of 2022, Kimbra took the leap to become a mentor with SD2. She was partnered with Shukriya Osman, a senior in high school at the time, and the pair quickly formed a valuable connection.


Throughout their yearlong mentorship, they would meet once a month, going over plans, opportunities, and goals, while trying out new restaurants and experiences around San Diego. They attended networking events together, bonded over their shared experiences, and introduced Shukriya to other professionals- Kimba even helped her set up her LinkedIn profile.


Kimbra’s proudest moment at SD2 was getting to witness Shukriya receive all of her college acceptance letters- including a full ride to the University of San Diego. She was able to provide lots of guidance as Shukriya sorted through everything to make a decision, helping her brainstorm questions to ask, weigh the benefits of each program, and shared her own experiences going through the same process.


At the conclusion of their formal mentorship, Kimbra left her mentee with lifelong advice about the importance of building and maintaining relationships:


“The people you develop relationships with have the potential to be an asset to you in the future. Not only can you learn from their experiences, you build a network of allies and advocates that can help you reach your full potential. If you build meaningful and authentic relationships, they will end up lifting you to new heights throughout your career.”


The Future is Diverse

While she’s already accomplished a lot, Kimbra is nowhere near done yet. She hopes to continue to develop global programs in support of women and underrepresented groups in tech to provide a pathway for belonging, on top of keeping up with Shukriya, who is now a freshman at USD.


Keep up with Kimbra on LinkedIn, and learn more about Inuit’s Tech Women @ Intuit here.


Are you thinking about becoming an SD2 mentor? Kimbra’s advice is to say yes.


“Reverse mentorship is a natural outcome, and you always learn something new about yourself from whoever you are paired with. Not only is the program manageable in terms of time commitment, but you get to see how impressive, curious, and smart the next generation is! I loved seeing the growth of my mentee from start to finish of the program as well. It’s special to build a connection and see the direct impact you can have on someone”


Learn more about the opportunities that being a Squared Mentor can provide here.