The best decision I ever made

By Kim Pickett

I was 25 years old with $3,000 to my name when I moved across the country from Oshawa, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia. I moved to a strange city to pursue my dream of owning my own business. It was a scary decision, but not as scary as the thought of working as an employee for the rest of my life. When I would have creative ideas or an alternate and new direction for a project, I would bring it to my boss, but was often unable to have the ideas approved.

These big ideas and visions needed to be taken somewhere where they could become reality. I realized that I could be the one to take those ideas somewhere, and that at heart I was an entrepreneur. I needed to make a change. That change turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I launched KIMBO Design, and then the real journey began.

KIMBO Design didn’t, and still doesn’t, have an in-house HR manager. This created a human resource challenge, and I originally had to hire outside aid. But those external resources consistently let me down, so I turned to books and leadership courses to learn how to make informed HR decisions on my own. I also worked hard to ensure my company was focused on sustainability. I firmly believe that doing things green is no longer optional, it’s a necessity. Over the course of 16 years, I have grown from a freelance designer to having eight full-time employees and an at-capacity office.

Focusing both on my passion and the social impact of my company has allowed me to create a fulfilling life that includes helping others. My father was a huge support and inspiration for me, and he is the reason I’m doing what I do today. His example is a constant reminder of the importance of giving back.

Volunteering is extremely rewarding for me. I support non-profit and community causes like Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Hockey for Alzheimer’s tournament, and Walk for Memories events. We donate pro-bono creative services each year to deserving organizations. I also volunteer on the Board of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) to ensure the graphic design trade in Canada continually develops sustainability best practices. I am a vocal advocate for accessible design, ensuring the needs of the visually impaired are considered while incorporating design strategies into our client work. I mentor female designers to help guide their professional development and growth, I feel that this is really important to do in the design industry, to ensure more women are encouraged to join this field.

I recently made a $3,000 contribution to The LivingRoom Community Art Studio back in my hometown of Oshawa, Ontario. My high school art teacher, Steve Longauer, helps runs this studio and was a great inspiration in my choice to attend art school. It’s amazing to look back and see how far I have come. I hope that my contributions will help and inspire other young female artists and entrepreneurs. With every obstacle I encounter in life, I think about my father’s advice to me. I remember him saying “Kimbee, never give up, keep fighting and stand up for what you believe in. If you fail, practice, and you will eventually get better.”

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About Kim Pickett

Kim Pickett is the creative principal of KIMBO Design Inc., an award-winning design firm. As a creative director, she’s a conceptual and strategic thinker who is well known for producing effective, innovative campaigns executed with a clean and elegant signature style.

The design and business industry frequently recognizes Kim’s talents and entrepreneurial accomplishments. In 2017, Kim received the Tammy Moyer Woman of Worth Award for Business and Prosperity, and Enterprising Women Magazine also selected Kim as one of 2017’s Enterprising Women of the Year, one of only six Canadian recipients. In 2015, PROFIT and Chatelaine ranked Kim No. 86 in the 17th annual W100 list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs. Her design work has been acknowledged by the Western Canadian Marketing Awards, international Green Dot Awards and Summit Awards, and in 2014, Kim was selected as a judge for the package design category at the JUNO Awards. She has been featured in Applied Arts Magazine, Business in Vancouver, Distinctive Women Magazine, and TELUS Talks Business, among others, and was profiled as a “Game Changer” by Arlene Dickinson’s Other award nominations include: RBC’s Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, Business In Vancouver’s Top Forty Under 40, and the YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

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