06 Feb Getting to know the wonderful Kim Wethmar
We sit down with Kim Wethmar, CEO for TravelEdge to find out a little more about her career and life journey.
We a super excited to have Kim speaking at our A Force For Good Event for International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2019. We can’t wait to see Kim’s workshop session on learning the secrets to turning a business around.
Tell us a little about yourself, who you are? and what you do?
I’m a very determined person… fortunately, as I’ve experienced more of life (I think that’s a nice way of saying ‘getting older’), I’ve come to understand that relentless determination isn’t the only answer or way to live.
I’m passionate about people, about their growth, development, and happiness… I love sharing journeys with people to help them realise the potential they have hidden within themselves, or believe in them before they believe in themselves and help them grow and achieve new heights they previously thought impossible…
Tell us about your childhood, where did you grow up, what was your childhood dreams? And where did you go to study?
I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa in a very loving family with 2 sisters. Fond memories of our annual family holiday in the caravan park in Gonubie, East London, included heaps of windsurfing, beach baseball and friends, freedom, and fun! I went to an Afrikaans school… in those days, my father believed that the strict Afrikaaner education was more appropriate for his 3 daughters… we spoke English at home, and Afrikaans at school, and this was my first introduction to cultural nuances…
What drove you to your career?
Great Question! During my last year in high school, my mum took me to a guidance councillor to assess my skills… and help me determine my future… before doing the assessment, I vividly remember him asking me what I’d like to do as a career… I said, “Lawyer” straight away… now, this was well before the days of the Netflix show ‘Suits’ had made this professional glamourous… after finishing the assessment, he evaluated the scores, and said in a loud and proud voice, that my skills and aptitude were perfectly suited to become… a lawyer… yeh right!!
I was pretty clear that I wanted to move out of home and be independent, and that became my guiding principal when I started researching career opportunities. I discovered a brand new Travel and Tourism degree, only being offered at the University of Pretoria.. .this was perfect! Travel was inspiring… the campus was 2 hours from home.. and the rest, as they say…. is history!
What mistakes did you make and did you fear anything?
I used to fear making mistakes… what if people thought I didn’t have all the answers.. what if I couldn’t fix the problem..?
Thankfully I now understand that making mistakes actually increases learning..
What’s the new buzz phrase these days? “Fail Fast”… mmmm.. still doesn’t come completely naturally to a Virgo who likes to get things right the first time… always… but hey… that’s part of life…
Not making tough decisions early enough is something that I’m still working on..
What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome in your career or life so far? And what did you learn?
Losing my little sister to a horrific drink-driving accident probably counts as the biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome in life… not only from my perspective but also the significant impact it had on my family… it’s been 20 years since that dreadful night, and not a day goes by that we don’t celebrate her life, or have a candle burning in her memory when we’re all together… or wonder what life would have been like for her… or for us…
I’ve learnt that life happens… and that time is precious and needs to be treasured… relationships are important to invest in, and I think that whilst an awful experience to go through, I’m a much more understanding person now because of it.
How do you know when you love your career and what you do?
When it doesn’t feel like it’s a struggle… doing what you love, and getting inspiration each day from things that happen around you… seeing people develop and grow is something that really inspires me every day…
What is your proudest career moment so far?
I’m living it right now!!… having worked really hard, and diligently for the last few years and helping to turn a business around, into the company it is today… where people want to work and be a part of the dream and vision I’ve created… I’m super proud!
How has this changed your life?
I take my role really seriously… my brand and what I say and do is always seen by many around me… I’m more mindful of how I approach life, how I react in challenging situations because of the fact that I know people look up to me…
What do more business need to do differently? And what change would you like to see the industry embrace?
My view is that we need to go back to caring for our people… really caring.. not just lip service… do we really know what’s happening in people’s lives outside of work.. how are we supporting them to be their very best versions of themselves?
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“This too shall pass”…. When life throws it’s challenges at you… relentlessly.. and one doesn’t know which way is up or down… being able to pause in the midst of the storm, gain perspective and realise that nothing lasts forever…
What is your ultimate life goal?
To make sure that my life meant something… that people who came into contact with me have been inspired …
What’s on your inspiration board right now?
A 3 week Road Trip in the USA in August19 with my gorgeous husband…
What daily tasks would you encourage others to embrace?
10 minutes of reading… listening to TED talks … quality time with your family… make the time for important things!
What is your top 5 advise (tips)?
Listen with the aim to understand… not just to respond, be kind, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well… make it happen!
What life quote do you live by?
Make it Happen!
What’s one thing outside of work that your passionate about? Or your hobby?
Family is really important to me… the connections I have with my hubby, parents, sister, and nieces are very precious! Contributing and investing in their lives brings joy to my heart!
We look forward to hearing Kim speak on 8th March 2019 at A Force For Good Event on International Women’s Day.
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