Not many people can say that at the age of 14 they were travelling around the world — as a professional model, Kimberley Pontbriand was afforded this opportunity that would later pay for her university studies. While studying, Kim worked as the Director of Marketing for Clinique Invisia in Montreal, where she was responsible for rebranding the company, designing the website, and building all sales materials. Today, Kim is the Chief Brand Officer at ergonofis, and manages the look and feel of the brand. We sat down with her and talk about her professional journey and her top tips for success.
My first job was… As a waitress in a small restaurant at 14 years old. I was eager to start working and fortunate enough to live in a small town where everybody pretty much knew everybody, which is probably why the owner felt comfortable to hire me at such a young age.
My proudest accomplishment is… Our startup ergonofis. Starting and scaling a business from scratch without investors is quite an accomplishment for me!
My boldest move to date was…Quitting my day job to start a business. I’m typically very calculated and so this was a very bold and risky move for me.
My biggest setback was…Being in my late 20s, I’m one of the lucky ones who hasn’t yet had a major setback in life. However, as an entrepreneur, life is never only a joyride. I sometimes overthink certain situations, I tend to work too much and ignore my personal life from time to time, and I sometimes feel lost. I remember one particular period when I felt completely lost, I didn’t know why I was working so hard and I didn’t know what I really wanted to do with my life.
I overcame it by…Taking a few days off to reconnect with myself. During this time, I asked myself crucial questions to figure out what I wanted out of my life, what my objectives were, and what my purpose was. It turns out that it was all right in front of me this entire time. I just needed to take care of myself. I came back stronger and more motivated than ever!
The best part of my day is…My morning routine. I love waking up early, around 5:30 AM, I workout, and I fast until 11:00 AM. I also love going to the office before everybody else. It allows me to really focus on creative projects without being bothered by phone calls, meetings, and whatnot.
The most challenging part of my day is…Meetings! I’m involved in so many parts of the company that my schedule is always filled with them (and we really don’t have that many compared to bigger companies!). Personally, it’s challenging to take a step back and not be involved with every single detail of the business because I’m so passionate about what we’re building and I want to make sure our branding transpires in everything we do.
Becoming a professional model at 14 taught me…How to think strategically about branding and it helped me develop my eye for design. I was inspired by so many great designers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with!
“I’m constantly evolving and discovering new passions. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be more interested in psychology then branding, who knows! And I want to give myself the freedom to change while I discover myself along the way.”
One book every woman should read is… Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Vab Edwards I can’t describe the book any better than the actual description of the book: As a human behaviour hacker, Vanessa created a research lab to study the hidden forces that drive us. This is the first comprehensive, science-backed, real-life manual on how to captivate anyone—and a completely new approach to building connections.
My biggest hope for my daughter is…That she finds her passion.
My greatest advice from a mentor was…Your career path isn’t going to be linear. I’ve never mapped out my career or felt the need to define what my long-term career should look like. I’m constantly evolving and discovering new passions. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be more interested in psychology then branding, who knows! And I want to give myself the freedom to change while I discover myself along the way.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… My business partner Samuel Finn (I know it a little cheesy but it’s true!). I never defined myself as an entrepreneur and he’s the pure definition of it. We’re fortunate to have different strengths. For instance, he’s really good in negotiations, finance, and everything business-related. On my end, I’m good at branding, and really anything that requires creative work. I also pride myself on being more human! We would never be where we are today If it wasn’t from him and our successful partnership.
I surprise people when I tell them…That I’m really shy and that it requires a lot of effort to get passed my shyness every day as I interact with people.
The future excites me because…There are so many great opportunities in front of us and I’m fortunate to work with the greatest team. I’m very grateful for all that’s happened, and everything that’s coming our way.