Stop the Press! Stars of 2013

I am very proud and honoured to have been named ‘Business person of the Year 2013’ from the Tamworth Herald. It’s fantastic to receive such an accolade and have all my hard work recognised. Of course it wouldn’t be possible without the support of my team, networks, family and friends!

Here is the story taken from the Tamworth Herald

HERALD STARS OF 2013: Business Person of the Year Kimberley-Jane Leary

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LAUNCHING your own business in a time of austerity is a gamble for even then most experienced business person.

But when university graduate Kimberley-Jane Leary set out to land her dream job, she found that work was hard to come by.

So she did the next best thing and set up her own business. And Kimberley-Jane: Design was born.

Since then, the 27-year-old has experienced major success and won her two prestigious awards. And the company’s reputation is growing across the world.

It’s far from where she had once expected to be, but as Kimberley told the Herald’s Inside Business earlier this year, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I had so many different ideas about what I wanted to be when I was in the sixth form, such as interior designer and fashion buyer,” she said. “I graduated from Loughborough in 2008 just as the markets crashed and that changed my whole outlook.”

It was securing a job at Tamworth’s Forensic Pathways Ltd in a sales and marketing which changing the whole course of Kimberley’s career.

As part of the job, the former Rawlett School pupil was designing company newsletters and adverts and was then encouraged to redesign the firm’s website.

“It became apparent that graphic design may have been the better route,” Kimberley said.

As well as rebuilding the Forensic Pathways website to enable its products to be bought online, Kimberley started designing flyers for friends and family during the evenings and at weekends, and would even design websites for pretend companies to hone her skills in web-building software.

And with Forensic Pathways founder Deb Leary OBE – who has won numerous awards as a female entrepreneur and was the Herald’s Business Person of the Year in 2011 – as a mentor, Kimberley was destined for greatness.

“Deb encouraged me to take the big step and go it alone,” she said.

In 2012 Kimberley-Jane: Design was created, offering web and design services. Quickly Kimberley secured her first major contract which would keep the business running for the first six months. She’s since secured contracts with some 50 to 70 clients, including the Tamworth branch of McDonald’s and Philip Barnes accountants, which has meant moving to bigger premises in Birmingham.

And, in recognition of her success, Kimberley-Jane: Design was voted Promotions Business of the Year and highly commended for Business of the Year at the 2013 Business Networking Awards for Tamworth, Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield, in only her second year of trading.

It’s this determination to succeed that has made Kimberley our 2013 Business Person of the Year.

“It’s a complete shock. It’s amazing,” she said on hearing the news. “I feel so honoured, it’s fantastic.”