Kimothy is an award winning journalist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and Ottawa local. She has it all, a career she is passionate about, a family she loves, and a voice to inspire women of all generations. We had the opportunity to chat with Kimothy and as her some questions. Here’s what she had to say:
You worked for 25 years as a journalist for CTV. In fact, your news broadcast was one of the most successful local weekend newscasts in our generation. What kinds of challenges did you have to overcome to achieve such success?
“Most of my early challenges were sparked because I was too young and inexperienced to truly know how to build effective teams. At 24, I was one of the youngest anchor/producers in the entire network. I just figured if you had enough people you could get the job done. I didn’t know anything about supervising individuals, or getting the right people into the right positions. Most very talented people have really visible strengths. But, they are pretty good at hiding their weaknesses. So, as a supervisor or mentor, it takes some real work to understand the specific skills of each individual. You need to allow that person to feel safe in order to help feed their real passion and allow them to thrive on your team. It also helps if you buy them ice cream periodically.
I dismiss entirely the attitude that you can’t work with people you care about. In fact, I work ONLY with people I care about in my own business. I also authentically care about my clients and I feel bonded to my partners and associates. I need to trust people in order to partner with them. I need to trust they will do their best for me, and in turn I will do my best for them. Generally I find people work a heck of a lot harder for you if you’re kind to them. “
Talk about your biggest failure and how has it shaped your success?
“I was generally an A to B+ student at the Carleton University School of Journalism. Then, I failed (less than a B-) second year television. Yes, television! Ironically, it is the profession that provided my financial security for 25 years including 2 documentaries since leaving CTV. My professor said that perhaps I should find another “calling”. While I ended up getting an A on my supplement exam it always stayed with me that your life can change direction because someone else has decided you’re not very good at something. So….I decided not to listen to all of those people. Many people didn’t think I could do it. Despite having three jobs I got into the prestigious program as, perhaps, the very last person on the list. And in the end only 75 people graduated of the more than 300 people who entered. I was one of those who graduated. I wasn’t smarter than all of the scholarship kids or those who studied night and day. What I did have was perseverance and resilience. I did not give up. You could argue I was just stubborn. My parents would not argue against you.
When I left television in 2014 I applied that exact formula to my new company, Ottawa Media Group, with my business partner Eric Collard and 21 associates. We do consulting on everything from media relations/production to event management and fundraising. People seemed to think I just read out loud for a living. They didn’t know I ran the newsroom two days a week or that I knew about management and strategy. Now we have dozens of prominent clients and many worthwhile causes. We are proving that if you want to be good in business you need to do good things in your community. “
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“I wish I had not wasted as many days, weeks, months, years and decades worrying about how I looked. Most of the time I was one of the 91 per cent of women who, according to a recent documentary, hate their bodies. What an unbelievable waste of time. My body has taken me up 12 mountains, including Mt. Kilimanjaro. It helped me start triathlons at 40 years old. I took me to Hera Mission’s Asembo Bay in Kenya to work on a community centre, named after my charity Amazing People. And, it helped me twice build schools in Nicaragua for SchoolBOX. My body made a baby human who is now 19 years old. “
Dear Younger Self: Someone else’s version of perfection is a ridiculous waste of time. I can assure you that you are not perfect, so why bother pretending that you are.
If you have daughters or young women in your life, what changes would you like to see in today’s society before they enter the working world?
“I dream of a day that your gender, your race, your religion and who you love are not considered factors, whatsoever, in your ability to do a job. I want my two daughters to look at Fortune 500 companies, where the vast majority of CEOs are men, and know that that’s just not good enough. I want them to feel entitled to the job if they are the most qualified and to not feel they need to “ask” for equality. I want them to know that their gender has absolutely no bearing on their ability to achieve their goals. I want them to understand that if Canada has not achieved full equality yet we have not yet earned the right to hold ourselves up as examples to other countries of how things should be done. I just don’t think we are there yet.”
Are there any words of wisdom that you would like to impart on today’s millennials?
“Slow down! Your time on this Earth is not just about your career while living on this planet. It’s about your LIFE. And it is usually shorter than you would like. I have friends and family members who have been handed surprising and devastating health challenges. You cannot take for granted that there will be time to live out your dreams somewhere down the road, so move up your “must dos” on the priority list. That said, I don’t recommend driving an RV over the Alps….I tried it. It’s very frightening. You need to find the balance between moving forward to celebrate humanity and enjoying the precise moment you are in.”
Do you have a passion project you’re currently working on? Tell us a little about it.
I am Chair of an incredible group called “Amazing People”. We host fun events to honour amazing people in Ottawa and we have raised more than $200,000 for three organizations, SchoolBOX, Hera Mission and Project North. In October we are announcing a major new event in partnership with Ottawa Race Weekend 2017. So far, our charity group Amazing People has built several schools in Nicaragua and a community centre in Kenya, and now we’re also going to be helping aboriginal, Metis and Inuit children.
We are also helping amazing people in a number of other ways. For example, right now we’re supporting the boy known as Ottawa’s Butterfly Child Jonathan Pitre. He has the worst disease anyone has ever heard of… his skin doesn’t stay on his body. It’s as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. His mom really needs some financial assistance to help pay for living expenses in the United States during his stem cell transplant. It is his last hope. So, we’ve started a fundraiser!
Kimothy will be joining us on August 25th at 6pm as WiL presents
Thirsty Thursdays at the Heart & Crown.