Journalist & Humanitarian Kimothy Walker’s Inspiring Legacy

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Kimothy Walker is a truly inspiring public figure and has been very committed to contributing positively to the Ottawa community and beyond.

A CTV Ottawa news anchor for 25 years, she left in March of 2014 to pursue her humanitarian goals. Referring to her former job as “the best job ever”, retirement has not stymied Walker’s desire to be engaged in philanthropy. Through the CTV Amazing People Gala, which Walker is involved with, she helps raise funds to provide scholarships to teenagers in Ottawa and then they go to Kenya and Nicaragua to build schools. The gala has raised one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and built sixty-seven schools.

Each year, the gala also celebrates 50 people in Ottawa, who do incredible things that nobody knows about. So, we shine a light on what they do. The veteran media personality comes from a family that is passionate about education.

My father believed in education and he joined the military to get an education. The most important thing that my grandmother owned in the whole world was the fact that she finished grade 8”.

Walker pays tuition for a 15 year old girl, Queen, to go to school.

“My hope is that education changes everything.”

Journalist Kimothy Walker says her job at CTV Ottawa was "the best job ever"- (Photo supplied by Kimothy Walker)

Journalist Kimothy Walker says her job at CTV Ottawa was “the best job ever”- (Photo supplied by Kimothy Walker)

How the legacy Started…working with CTV Ottawa

While studying at Carleton University, Walker walked into the CTV newsroom and offered to do anything – copywriting, photocopying, research, anything that could get her into the industry. That initiative paid off. She was offered a job as an election researcher.

“I did that for 3 or 4 months and I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to work in a television newsroom. I loved the environment; I loved everything about the speed of news. I was captivated and I thought, I wanna do this for the rest of my life and for 25 years, it was the best job ever. Ever!”

After 25 years, she thought, “No, now I wanna get more into making the world a better place.

Career Highlights

Some of them were really fun and some were really heart-breaking. I did silly things that brought me great joy. I was on a warship. I interviewed superstars. I went to the top of mountain Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania and reported live from the top of the mountain. I went to the Philippines. I had a great time.

Kimothy Walker on Mount Kilimanjaro during a visit to Tanzania & Kenya-  (Photo supplied by Kimothy Walker)

Kimothy Walker on Mount Kilimanjaro during a visit to Tanzania & Kenya- (Photo supplied by Kimothy Walker)

But, it was the work in Kenya that I thought, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life and I don’t think that I want to be a traditional reporter anymore. I need to do something bigger. I was in Kenya, in a village South of Kisumu, holding orphans in a really challenged village and my charity (Amazing People) had raised the money to give them a school. The AIDS epidemic had destroyed the middle generation, so there were grandmothers and there were babies but there was no middle generation. I did that project and I said, “Okay, this is the most important thing I will ever do in journalism, so now I need to move on”.

Child Abuse Advocacy and Receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

When I was 9, I was sexually assaulted by my friend’s older brother. I went on a sleepover and in the middle of the night when I was sleeping, I was sexually assaulted. I woke up to this. When my daughter was 9, the same age that I was when it happened, I realized that if I don’t speak out, nobody will. I’m the person that should speak out. And so I decided at that point, to speak out here in Ottawa about child sexual abuse. So, I spoke out but what I didn’t know was that it was gonna go nationwide. Canada AM got on board; The National news got on board. Everybody felt that this was a topic that needed to be discussed.

I was really excited that instead of being afraid of talking about something so uncomfortable publicly, that the community had been open to having a discussion. So, I went on for the next 10 years to talk about this publicly and I did some work with children who had been sexually assaulted. And then, a group in Ottawa nominated me for the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Really surprising and said that they were honouring me for being the voice of children who had no voice. I was so touched by that. Kyra (Kimothy’s daughter) was there that day and it was a great example to her that you need to speak out when there is injustice.

Journalist Kimothy Walker and daughter Kyra- (Photo supplied by Kimothy Walker)

Journalist Kimothy Walker and daughter Kyra- (Photo supplied by Kimothy Walker)

Maintaining work-life balance

(Laughs) That’s a great question. So, I started my own company Ottawa Media Group with 18 people who are all experts in their field. I have my own office (in her home), I built it. I wanted to be in my own environment.

“I’ve also gone back to the things that bring me joy. I mountain climb, I run, I swim in lakes, I love to be outside in the woods. My husband and I recently biked 50 kilometers and then we climbed Gatineau Park and those are the things that make me really happy.”

I am a gluten-free eater and I tend to eat really healthy. I drink a lot of coffee though (laughs). But, I am doing things now that I really believe fill me with joy but are good for Ottawa. I really believe that that’s gonna pay off eventually in something productive and creative.

Advice to Aspiring Young-Fem Leaders

Education and passion.
In addition, Walker shares some words of wisdom from her own interview with the very affluent Zita Cobb. The veteran journalist says she asked Cobb – “What advice do you give?”…

… you need to see where your path emerges and then you need to follow it”. She said a lot of women make the mistake of having [sic] 5-year plan or they do some kind of strategic analysis but they are not listening to what they wanna do. You need to find what makes you happy and then you’ll never work because it won’t feel like work. It’ll feel like this is what brings you joy and happiness.

Finding my place and international development makes me happy and how to blend business and international development.

Connect with Walker via her business website (www.ottawamediagroup.com), Twitter@KimothyWalker

Chiamaka is a Nigerian-born teenage entrepreneur and media consultant who is passionate about social justice and helping people achieve their true potential. She is also the author of Blurred Creations http://blurredcreations.wordpress.com