Kathleen Nabangxang, Managing Partner and Director of Sales at Vancouver Key to the City [www.vancitykey.com], shares how it is possible to succeed and kick butts as an entrepreneur despite facing daily mental health challenges.
In this special interview, Kathleen reveals how struggling with mental wellbeing didn't stop her living her dream to be an entrepreneur.
What’s a little secret about you that very few people know, until now that is?
“My biggest secret I would say is that no matter how many meetings or phone calls I have to do… I still get a little nervous every single time!”
People may think that after 3 years of experience in my business, I must be very confident in what I do but I often feel the exact opposite. I know it is not something I can shake off easily and anytime soon, but I am working on it everyday and I keep on improving.
How has your mental health affected your career journey and what can you do to not let it stop you from living your entrepreneur dream?
My mental illnesses played a huge factor in my career. I was always scared of the belief that it wouldn’t be possible for me to be an entrepreneur while also dealing with daily crisis.
I've overcome this belief by building up a new level of confidence I never had before. How? Learning more about myself, my strengths, learning that I CAN run my own business and be an inspiration for others to fight for their dreams too.
“The key is to be patient and never give up on yourself!”
How did VanCityKey come about and what was crucial to making it happen?
This business idea is originally from Toronto, and Vancouver was the first sister city.
I saw an Instagram post of a friend using the Key. I thought it was such an amazing idea that I reached out to the CEO of the company. When I presented my pitch and told him how passionate I was to help him expand the business faster and realise his dream, which became mine too.
What made it happen was determination. It took some convincing and some months but I persevered and he eventually put his faith in me. We agreed I’d take on the second city (Vancouver) and we are currently expanding to Montreal and looking to Boston for next year 2020.
I had left my life in Toronto to move to Vancouver for a fresh start, and this opportunity came at the perfect time. It was my calling.
“I saw an opportunity and I jumped on it and never looked back!”
Your determination is inspiring and it certainly paid off. Tell us more about the Key?
Vancouver Key is a gold Key that unlocks VIP access to the best businesses in Vancouver, Toronto and (more recently) Montreal. These businesses fall into different categories, including restaurants, clubs, spas, show venues and more. Key holders can simply flash or tap their Key at any of our partnered locations and receive complimentary VIP perks.
Perks include complimentary food at restaurants, VIP line by pass at clubs, complimentary upgrades at spas and hotels, and exclusive pricing to ticketed events like Cirque Du Soleil.
Our clientele have active lifestyles, they are foodies, business travellers and LOYAL!
We have nearly 100 of the best “Perk Partners businesses” and new ones are revealed monthly as we continue to add more in all areas. From 2020, the VanCityKey can be used in Toronto and Montreal to access a further 300+ VIP benefits as well.
If you live or often find yourselves in any of these great cities, go to our website (www.vancitykey.com), purchase and activate your Key. It’s that simple!
Have you had mentors or coaches supporting you on your journey and/or who support you now?
Surrounding yourself with people who want to see you win is very important.
My CEO is my main mentor and I have him to thank. He was the first person who saw an opportunity in me. He gave me my first real shot at something important for me.
I always wanted to own my own business, become an entrepreneur, and to be living my dream still feels surreal.
Another person I look up to everyday is my boyfriend. He has been supporting me with the Key since day one. He's dedicated to helping me succeed in a way I never thought possible.
Having these two special people guiding me along my journey, is the most blessed outcome I could have.
Mental Health and Entrepreneurship, what in your experience helped you believe that it was possible to succeed?
To be honest, I’ve been through tougher situations. I’ve been beaten down to the ground and had nothing but myself to pick me back up. You’ve got three choices in life: Give up, Give in or Give it all you’ve got.
“You can be a Bossbabe and kick butt!”
Thank you Kathleen for openly sharing your inspirational journey to living your entrepreneur dream with us.
Founder of Gr8fool Limited.
Francesca is a Freedom Coach with a mission to help everyone find freedom and happiness. After 22 years of office life and the last 16 in the legal & corporate secretarial sector, Francesca took a big leap of faith and swapped her successful career for exploring new horizons. She went volunteering in Nepal, solo travelling in Asia, riding her Harley from London to Italy (and back!), walking 930km along the Camino de Santiago then launched her own life coaching business. She recently also completed a solo vanlife adventure, touring Europe in a campervan for one year. All the while, she continues to serve as a Freedom Coach, to share her passion for freedom, gratitude, foolishness and positivity, through writing and speaking, and to manage her rented properties in London. You can follow her stories and updates on www.gr8fool.com and