Meet Katie Wilhelm, 34, owner and designer at katiewilhelm.ca and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2021 recipients
A SINGLE MOTHER and solo entrepreneur, Katie Wilhelm launched her marketing and design studio, katiewilhelm.ca, in 2018 with a particular focus on arts, culture, community building and education. A champion for the Indigenous community, she continuously looks to inspire others help shape a more colourful future for London and has played an integral role in shaping entrepreneurial support programs, such as contributing to the recently launched Elevate Entrepreneurship project and founding Nokee Kwe’s Nanda educational program, which delivers free digital skills training program with a focus on Indigenous women in the London area.
What would you call your biggest business achievement, and why?
The success of my current practice, which I started as a solo parent with a toddler. Last year, I far exceeded my business goals and financial projections. Even more notably, I have built my personal brand to the point where leaders that I respect have trusted me as their first choice for art, design and marketing consultation.
Who, or what, has had the biggest influence on your business life?
My biggest influences in business are my family ― past, present and future. My family encourages me to follow my passions and has supported me during challenging times. I was adopted into my family as an older teenager during a difficult and pivotal stage in my life. I found structure and unconditional love, which will influence me for the rest of my life. I am also influenced by my Indigenous family, which spans back thousands of years. This background inspires me to work with Indigenous principles and toward a more equitable future.
Story Continues Below
How have the last two years changed you and the way you approach your work?
The last two years have changed my process by prioritizing an Indigenous lens in my work.
You’re temporarily stuck on a desert island — what’s the one thing you want with you?
If marooned on a desert island, the one thing I am bringing is something to start a fire with, like a flint. I’d like to be marooned with a friend to enjoy the peace and quiet with.
What books have you read recently that stuck with you?
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
What about the best thing you’ve watched?