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How They Did It-Series Social Media Storytelling

How Grenadian Kim Thomas Is Making The Shift from Registered Nurse to Toronto’s Event Planner

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My name is Kim Thomas. I am Grenadian; I immigrated to Canada 27 years ago to live with my mother. I grew up with my grandmother because my mom had left us with her to come to Canada to work so that we would have a better life. It was a bitter-sweet day when I left Grenada, though excited to see “the big world” as it was commonly referred to, I was very sad to leave my home.

When I arrived in Canada, I immediately realized life here was not as it seemed. We shared a home with my step dad and his children. I was not aware of the living situation and life my mom was living; my mom didn’t share that with me. Looking back I understand why she kept certain details from me now that I am a mother myself, we do whatever necessary to protect our children from getting hurt. I liked my step brothers but wasn’t too happy with my step-sister, she was very bossy towards me. As for my stepdad, he was not nice at all. I contemplated running away several times. The relationship between my mother and me was awful; we fought constantly. I was very unhappy and sad most of the time. Eventually, we moved out due to strain relationships; our blended family was not working. Being the oldest of 4 children, I was responsible for taking care of my siblings while my mom, who was now a single mother worked. Life was not always great for us, but we stayed together as a family.

Growing up I was always a very shy girl and stayed to myself; I didn’t have a lot of friends. My high school years is forgettable. I was made fun of due to my accent. Therefore, I felt very insecure. I loved drama and dance. However, I didn’t participate in school activities because I was too afraid to speak up. The day I graduated from high school, I felt a huge sense of relief, I was finally free.

My college years were awesome; I was now an adult making my own decisions. I met some very confident, intelligent women in my nursing program at George Brown College. They were very supportive of me and mentored me throughout my entire college years. I am very grateful to have met them especially Evangia. She has been and remains a good friend. She always speaks positively to me and has been a shoulder to lean on both in my professional and personal life.

I am a registered nurse, I graduated 20 years ago from George Brown College and had been practicing nursing since then. Life experiences and the knowledge I’ve gained through nursing have made me the confident woman I am today.
I am a mother of 3 boys 18, 12 and 8. I am married to Danny Thomas, my life partner and the love of my life. We’ve been, married for almost 21 years. The reason I work so hard is for my family. I want my boys to know hard work and dedication does pay off. They have to work hard and stay focus to be successful.

 

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My inspiration to become an Event Manager was solely from personal experiences as an attendee of special events. Most events seem to lack in leadership and lateness seems to be the norm. I was invited to a wedding a couple of years ago; it was the worst I’ve experienced as of yet. Everything seemed disorganized, a total mess. I get that the bride is traditionally late but not three plus hours. The venue was way too small to accommodate the guests; guests were squeezed onto other tables, which was very uncomfortable. That was a summer event, and the venue was not equipped with AC either, so one can imagine how uncomfortable the entire situation was. I felt bad for the bride and groom and wondered what type of assistance or if they had any assistance in planning their wedding.

I’ve also witnessed other major social and cultural events which always seem to be poorly organized. It’s such a disappointment being present at such special events where there is clearly a lack of leadership hence my decision to get into the Event Planning business. I am hoping to bridge that gap by leading a great team of professionals to improve relationships with organizers and vendors especially in the black community by putting on excellent, well-organized entertained events. Once that gap is eliminated we will see a change in relationships between ourselves and other ethnic groups, and we will finally get the respect we deserve.

I am the owner/Event Manager of Kim’s Special Event Planning Services. We are a full-service event planning business specializing in the planning and execution of weddings, wedding anniversaries and birthdays. We take care of all the details our team of professionals will take of all the details leading up to and including the day of your event. We plan and execute your vision leaving you stress-free with memories to last a lifetime.

One of my biggest obstacles is getting my family to see my vision. My mom questioned my reasons for wanting to get into this new business venture since I “already have a good job” therefore, whenever I bring up the topic I feel ridiculed. Some would make sarcastic remarks which made me feel like a fool for even saying anything. I’ve been thinking about getting into this business for a few years, but the negative feedback left me questioning my decision. I also wanted a career change but didn’t feel I could commit to taking a university degree at this point in my life. I figured this would be best now because it’s very flexible, I can work my full-time job while in the start-up phase of my business.

I was able to overcome my fears after a very candid talk with a colleague at work, she advised me to follow my dream but keep it to myself until I feel comfortable enough to share it, I did, and here I am now. I feel confident enough to carry on with something I’m very passionate about and willing to put in the work so that I can be a successful business owner in this new venture.
In July of 2017, I had an opportunity to show my leadership and management skills in my new profession. I made a proposal to my niece who was getting married that year to allow me to help her in planning her event. So my sisters in law and I took care of major details, including wedding gown shopping, venue, caterers, floral arrangements, decorating and design of the venue. In return, I was allowed to use photos of the event on my business website kimsepservices.ca. I also helped with planning my sister’s wedding in October of 2017. Overall it was a great experience. However, my sister was definitely a real-life bridezilla. I liked the challenge, seeing the final presentation is very rewarding. My family seems to be more accepting of my vision now that they have seen me actually do the work as an event planner. Having their support means everything to me.

My advice to young entrepreneurs is to do their research, connect with a mentor for guidance and to have patience and faith and everything will work out in their favor.

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