Kathleen Kemp is the current Manager of the Entrepreneurship Hub, and has been for almost two years, which means she oversees all activities and coordinates these activities with what’s happening across the university. “My favourite part about working at the Entrepreneurship Hub is that our team has a lot of ability to be creative,” she says. “We get to practice what we preach and be entrepreneurial ourselves.”
Kathleen graduated from University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Business in 2015, where she herself was a student entrepreneur that benefited immensely from the Entrepreneurship Hub. Kathleen loves that she now participates in a lot of the services that she had access to as a student, and is able to optimize these services for students that use them. “We deliver and develop programs that best suit the needs of the campus,” she explains.
When asked about the eHub’s purpose, Kathleen wants to put emphasis on the fact that “the Entrepreneurship Hub is not just for people who start businesses. Entrepreneurial skills are applicable no matter what career you pursue — these skills are relevant no matter where you go in life. It’s not just about starting the next Facebook or Shopify, but also about skills for going into the workforce in the future.”
As manager, Kathleen is often in an authoritative position — but I wanted to get to know her on a more personal level. I decided to ask some fun questions to help get to know the Entrepreneurship Hub’s manager a little better:
How would you describe yourself in three words?
“Kind, empathetic, and thoughtful.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I wanted to be a teacher until I was 18, specifically a Grade 12 Calculus teacher. I’m a big math girl. I always wanted to teach and be in the classroom, and I was very involved with young people at risk when I was younger, so I wanted to be in the classroom to help at-risk kids learn. Unfortunately a lot of young people are told in the school system that they can’t do something, and I think my broader ambition was to be a guidance counselor, and to help young people map out their path to success. A lot of my job now is helping students and the campus community navigate their path, specifically with entrepreneurship, so I think there are still a lot of things I wanted to get out of teaching that I am still able to do through my work at uOttawa.”
What’s one thing nobody would expect about you?
“What I’ve learnt about myself through this quarantine is that I don’t have a lot of hobbies, I spend a lot of my day at work and a lot of my home life at school or outside with my dog. I’m actually a full-time masters candidate on top of working full time. I did recently pick up sewing, and I’m working on a quilt right now. It was something that I did when I was very young with my mother. I bought some fabric during quarantine and I’ve been slowly chipping away at a small quilt that’s likely big enough for my thirty-pound dog, but that’ll be pretty much it.”
What do you like to do outside of work?
“I really like being outside. I like to go on a lot of walks, and I just got a bike so I’ve been doing more bike riding lately. I like yoga, softball, hiking, and I really like to bake and cook. I’ve been doing a whole lot of baking now that we’re at home.”
What’s your favourite band and/or song?
“I like a lot of different bands. I’ve been listening to a lot of Khaled and Post Malone these days while writing my thesis. My all-time favourite artist would probably be John Mayer circa 2011. I really enjoy anything by him.”
What’s your advice for budding entrepreneurs?
“You need to just do it. Especially if you’re a student, there’s no better time to start a business than when you are associated with the University because we provide you with a safe environment to fail. I would love for all students to start businesses and be successful but that rarely happens with the first business you start. You need to try different things, explore different opportunities, and fail while you can. The University really wants to see you succeed, which makes it the most ideal environment to be in — there are so many things in place to help you be successful.”
“There’s a misconception that entrepreneurship is only about business. In reality,” she says, “entrepreneurs come in all different shapes, sizes, and stages of life.”
*This feature was published as a part of the Entrepreneurship Hub’s Nice to Meet You Series, 2020.