Kim Montgomery, Restaurant Owner
Republished with permission from Be The Next Her an Evio Community Partner
Kim is the owner of Montgomery’s Restaurant in Toronto.
What is your morning routine?
Being woken up by two eager pre-schoolers, wrangling the children to daycare, getting coffee, and going to the restaurant. Repeat.
Tell us about your career path.
I began my career began as a PR coordinator in the CityTV promotions department. I learned from a powerhouse team of strong female industry leaders who taught me about community relations, sponsorships and promotions, and the importance of a high-functioning office dynamic.
From there, life steered me towards event logistics, marketing and promotions, and venue management. I worked with amazing teams of people in some of Toronto’s cultural staples, like CiRCA Nightclub, 99 Sudbury, Pride Toronto, and Canadian Music Week to name a few. Through all of the corporate functions, media launches, weddings, music festivals, fundraisers, galas and special occasions, I’ve worked with so many awesome people and organizations. I’m so inspired by the arts and culture in this city.
I’ve always been “hustlin’ side gigs” as well, doing part-time or contract work in various industries. Some examples include part-time marketing campaigns, unpaid internships, promo gigs, catering events, and serving and bartending in restaurants. I truly believe I gained practical knowledge and experience in each role, which I’ve applied to my business skill set.
What challenges do you or women face in your industry?
I feel like women are forced to downplay how important their work is, how profound their experience and knowledge base is, and how strong they must be to keep up with the sexist double standards and unrealistic expectations at all ages.
To the people who say there aren’t enough visible female leaders in restaurants and hospitality, I think that’s bullshit. There are thousands of intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, charismatic and educated women working throughout Toronto’s service industries. Instead of focusing on what people THINK are deficiencies, let’s highlight and uplift the multitude of women who have already established chefs, managers, bartenders, event producers, curators and business owners. There’s a long list of some serious women who continually impact and influence Toronto’s arts, culture, and hospitality scenes and directly benefit the local economy.
What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?
You should never think you’re too good to change a garbage can. At some point in your life, someone’s got to take out the trash.
Also, I highly recommend learning how to use all the tools in a standard toolbox – especially a drill. It’s extremely useful to be able to build or repair something on the fly without having to ask or pay for someone else to do it.
How do you separate work life from your personal life?
Juggling a young family and a new restaurant has been extremely challenging. I’m exhausted, I look like crap, and many times a month I feel emotionally wiped out. Working with my husband Guy means there is no separation between work and life. We’re still trying to figure out how to maintain some levels of balance or sanity.
But despite how difficult and stressful this path can be, I know we are following our dreams, and that in itself is extremely motivating. We’re so appreciative of all of the opportunities that aligned to get us here today. We knew since the start it would be trying and would require a lot of hard work, patience, understanding, and most importantly, big slices of humble pie. But at least I can share this journey with my best friend. And even if we get stressed out, it’s nice to get a hug from a loved one whenever you need it most.
What inspires you?
My family. From the work ethic I learned from my mother – a single mom of two kids, and now a hard working grandmother – to my children, who consistently open my eyes to what’s ACTUALLY important in this world. When things get tough or emotional, I just have to look at them and I’m reminded that life is great. We are so lucky everyday to be blessed with what we have.