Victoria Sopik and Jennifer Nashmi
Co-founders, Kids and Company
Winners, Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, CENTRAL
When Victoria Sopik and Jennifer Nashmi cofounded Kids & Company in 2002, their aim was to disrupt the traditional way childcare had been offered by launching as an emergency back-up centre. Their success came after a crucial pivot, however: rather than working directly with parents they began to partner with organizations, positioning corporate-sponsored childcare as a unique employee benefit that could assist with recruiting and retention, as well as reduce unexpected absences. With an emphasis on flexible part-time as well as emergency or planned back-up childcare, Kids & Company continues to expand in size and services.
My first job ever was…
V – Working at McDonald’s!
J – I cleaned cottages and waitressed at a resort in Muskoka.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because…
V – I wanted to be my own boss.
J – I’m a creative person (especially for an Accountant) and like the ability to create a business vision and see it take shape.
My proudest accomplishment is…
V – My children.
J – Three beautiful, smart, independent, capable daughters.
My boldest move to date was…
V – Having 8 children!
J – Leaving a good, stable, well-paying job to start Kids & Company with my business partner.
I surprise people when I tell them…
V – That I am a grandmother to 5 beautiful grandbabies!
J – I’m an avid knitter.
“Never look back after making a decision.”
My best advice to people looking to grow their business is…
V – Not to overthink things.
J – Make a decision and don’t second guess yourself. Then don’t give up until you make it happen!
My best advice from a mentor was…
V – To never look back after making a decision.
J – Be careful who you take money from. Know your partners well.
If I could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, it would be…
V – Gertrude Bell. She was the first women to receive First Degree Honours at Oxford University, pioneering diplomat, intelligent officer, mountaineer, archaeologist, linguist, author, museum founder and adviser to kings. A courageous woman far ahead of her time who refused to bow to societal expectations and limitations.
J – My grandmother. I miss her. She was a strong, kind woman.
I would tell my 20-year old self…
V – That the years and days fly by, try to live in the moment as much as possible!
J – Enjoy life’s small moments more.
My biggest setback was…
V – Constantly having small problems to deal with.
J – My mindset is that I constantly realign myself so I have no big setbacks, just new goals.
I overcame it by…
V – Never looking back after making a decision.
J – Being confident in myself.
The last book I read was…
V – The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine.
J – Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
I stay inspired by…
V – Spending time with my grandchildren on a daily basis.
J – My business partner Victoria. We do our best to prop each other up.
The future excites me because…
V – Things are changing and evolving each and every day.
J – It’s constantly changing and there are a million things I want to try.
Success to me means…
V – Having the respect of my children.
J – Having the love and respect of my friends and family.