Q10 – Kimala Bennett, CEO of The Limners and Bards Ltd (The LAB)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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Successful female entrepreneurs are always passionate about what they do because they tend to create businesses around the things they enjoy.

This week's Q10 features Kimala Bennett, CEO of The Limners and Bards Limited (The LAB).

Turning her passion into a reality, she has managed to move what was initially a music video production company into the first advertising agency and film production company to list on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

As she aspires to be the best wife, mother, daughter and sister, Kimala continues to push the limits and constraints of the narrative of a successful woman, contending there's more than meets the eyes.

Q10. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
BENNETT: I define success as when preparation meets opportunity. I am big on ensuring that you're always prepared for when that opportunity comes. For me, I always wanted to be a film director so I knew that I had to prepare for when that big break came, whether it meant practicing or doing things that were not so great so that when big opportunities come, I can seize it.

Q10. What's the best advice you've been given in business?
BENNETT: Be firm and fair. It came from my mentor Andrea Coy, CEO of Grace Foods International at GraceKennedy Ltd. [Be] firm in the decision that you're making but fair to the employees and to the organisation. I want to inspire my team and ensure that there is a clear vision and core values that govern the company. I am big on collaboration and ensuring that everyone understands that this is in fact their company, I just happen to lead.

Q10.  If you were to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
BENNETT: Instinctively you'd want to say your phone, but how are you going to charge it? So, it would have to be a notebook; I always have a notebook where I write down my ideas, goals, plans, dreams, journaling, reflecting. So it's a big part of who I am and what has really allowed me to focus and reflect. Then, I also think the other would probably be a book about something that I am interested in.

Q10. What is your favourite 90's jam?
BENNETT: K-Ci and JoJo All My life. You know, in the 90's you probably were or wanted to be loved, but even now when I hear it, it just makes you feel good. I know it word for word and it's actually on my playlist in my car right now. My fiancé Adrian put it on a thumb drive for me because he knows it's one of my favourite songs.

Q10. What is one quote/mantra that you live by?
BENNETT: Dream. Plan. Do. I'm a big dreamer, but without putting a strategy in place then that just remains a dream. If you don't get your hands dirty and actually doing it and recognizing that even if you fail the first time, you're failing forward because you learned so much from what you have done in the past.

Q10. What are you watching right now?
BENNETT: Billions on Netflix. I find that when you watch shows at different stages of your life, they mean different things. I tried to get into it before and I couldn't and now I'm watching it and it's about investment banking, [high finance and power politics]. But in general I'm a chick flicks kind of girl, where I know exactly what's going to happen, how it's going to end — the cornier the better. For me, in all other shows, the technical hat goes on, I'm looking and I'm saying 'oh, how are they setting up that character?', 'oh, he's always in a dark shot', 'oh, it's a low angle', so Pretty Woman and The Devil Wears Prada, I can watch that over and over again.

Q10. If you weren't the CEO of The Lab, then what would you be doing?
BENNETT: I'd probably be a psychologist or a teacher. I studied psychology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and I wanted to become an Organisational Psychologist, but I do intend to teach. I love teaching and imparting knowledge, but not in a traditional sense, but in a more engaging manner, and I want to be teaching at the high school level. I think at that age, [children] are fearless and their ideas are endless, they have no limits because they haven't failed that much or gone through much so their ideas are just way out there. We need that sometimes because then we try to figure out how can we make this idea work, and even if it's that far out, bringing it in still makes it a good idea.

Q10. What songs best describe your work ethic?
BENNETT: Chino Never Change (From Mawning). That song is very special to me because when Melissa and I started the company that was our theme song. Within the DNA of The Lab, Chino is still very much grounded in it because it's about the work and we love what we do and we have a good time doing it.

Q10. If you could go back and give your 21-year-old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say?
BENNETT: *sings Bob Marley's Don't Worry 'Bout A Thing* I think one of the things you learn as you go through life is that worrying is really a waste of time and it is about seeing everything that you have gone through as a lesson and as another step of preparing you for what it is that you're about to embark on. I used to be a worrier by nature but not as much anymore because the more you experience you look at disappointments and setback differently because here I have now an opportunity to pivot and make it that much better. Sometimes it's preventing you from destruction and you don't know because in that moment you're disappointed.

Q10. What's one thing you want people to know about you?
BENNETT: I want them to know that I'm very dedicated to whatever it is that I'm putting my mind to and I'm focused. I'm not limited by what is happening now, I dream extremely big and I honestly truly believe that I am building an empire; and I will work with Oprah one day.  Dream. Plan.  Do.

— Abbion Robinson

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