September 2, 2013

2013 40 Under Forty: Denise Kapulka

Kapulka

Title: Sales and Marketing Manager, Knight's Airport Limousine

Company location: Shrewsbury

Residence: Worcester

Favorite movie: "For the Love of the Game," with Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston

Favorite book: "Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul"

Career highlights: After a surgery, my chosen profession of a world-class chef couldn't happen. So I made lemonade out of lemons and was hired by Knight's Airport Limousine as a telephone agent in 1999. I was promoted to sales and marketing manager in 2006. I have been with the company for 14 years now, and in September 2012 I was recognized as one of the "Women Living Their Dreams in Central Mass."

Community involvement: I am on the board of directors for both Destination Worcester and the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce. I am a co-founder and chair of Corridor Nine's Business Forward Females women's networking group, and an ambassador for both the Corridor Nine and Worcester chambers. I am the vice president and a director of the Central Mass. Ataxia Foundation, and an event coordinator for the Ride for John annual walk and roll through the National Ataxia Foundation. I am also a volunteer committee member for the Worcester Sheriff's Department's annual Toys for Tots drive, a volunteer for the National Brain Tumor Societies' Boston Brain Tumor Ride, and a volunteer for the Changing Outlooks Committee for Auburn Youth and Family Services.

Biggest success: Recently, I worked on a project with Sen. Michael Moore, Rep. Paul Frost, and my good friend John Mauro on a resolution to make Sept. 25 National Ataxia Day. In 2012, we became the fifth state to obtain this recognition. Ataxia is a lack of muscle coordination that affects speech, eye movements, the ability to swallow, walking and other voluntary movements. It's not a well-known disease and there is no cure.

Biggest challenge: Being a single mom and learning how to balance my career, my son and my volunteer activities. Learning to be successful in my career but not missing out on watching my child grow up is a challenge, but an extremely rewarding one.

Mentors: My parents. My dad has shown me the importance of hard work. He's the hardest worker I know. My mom has always offered me advice, guidance and motivated me to be the best I can be. They have both shown me, through example, the importance of family as well as having a successful career. I am thankful for all I have learned from them.

Hidden talents: I'm an amazing chef. Besides my responsibilities at Knight's Airport Limousine, I'm co-owner of Simply Delicious Catering and Management Company, where I plan, organize and coordinate events.

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