Kim Miyama ‒ Humber’s event planner extraordinaire
Ironically, professional event planner and Humber graduate Kim Miyama never planned on running her own business.
“I never thought I would be an entrepreneur or start my own company, but it just sort of happened,” she said.
The busy 31-year-old launched her business that bears her name in 2012.
For the past five years she has stayed under the radar, building her business and planning events, but has recently shifted her focus to building a brand and people are taking notice.
She has a wide portfolio of events ranging from small VIP corporate dinners to high-end weddings. Most of her business coming from repeat clients and referrals.
“There are so many planners in the industry. What makes me different? I listen to clients and make sure their event is about them…it’s never about me.”
Kim completed a diploma in Hotel/Restaurant Management followed by a post-graduate diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Administration in 2006.
“Some of the business skills I learned at Humber really helped me,” she said. “Things that I never thought I would need back when I was a student, like basic accounting or how to write a business plan, became really useful when I decided to start my own business.”
Internship leads to introductions
She’s also quick to stress her Humber internship helped get her started.
That led to stints working for a catering company for large-scale sporting events like the Rogers Cup and the Men's Canadian Open.
Looking for her next challenge, she landed a position with the Distillery District in Toronto, beating out over 400 candidates.
And did she ever hustle, working 450 events a year (200 corporate, 250 weddings.)
For almost four years she helped build the Distillery District’s event department and was named the Distillery District’s Senior Planner. She impressed her bosses so much, they offered her another promotion.
From business plans to travel plans
But Kim took a good look in the mirror and decided she needed a break.
She traded her business card for a backpack and traveled across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia for a year for what she called her little “Eat, Pray, Love” trip.
When she returned, she had a different outlook on life and wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. But clearly she had made a good impression, as she had job offers as soon as she was back on Canadian soil.
As enticing as the offers were, she wasn’t ready to jump right back into it. She took her time and was selective about the contracts she worked on.
Word got around that she was reliable, creative and flexible. Referral after referral, Kim was starting to build a great list of clients and an extensive portfolio.
Eventually, it was clear that running her own business was possible.
Well-being before business
While business is booming, she’s trying to keep things balanced.
“I never wanted to be the planner that did 100 weddings a year,” she said. “I want to keep it small and niche.”
“My biggest focus is to have a healthy work-life balance which is something I still struggle with because running your own business, you are on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“So I tend to work a lot,” she admitted. “My brain never really shuts off from strategizing a rebrand for my company to website updates to sourcing cool new venues for my clients – my day never really ends.”
“The best thing is seeing it all come together,” she continued. “When the client walks in and you see their reaction and they say you’ve exceeded their expectations, that’s the best part.”
Interested in interns
Looking ahead, Kim dreams of expanding the team and hopes to expand internationally. The sky is the limit. In the more immediate future, she would love to show Humber interns or volunteers the ropes.
While Humber’s classes gives you the skills, there’s nothing like the real thing.
“You can’t teach what you learn onsite at an event,” she said. “You have to learn how to deal with things that come up on the fly, it’s crisis management. It’s not something you can teach someone, you just need to learn how to roll with the punches.”