Kim Thompson is a 53-year-old inspirational woman from New Zealand. She has been living in Dubai for 20 years. You are not familiar with her name, but if you are a coffee aficionado, you probably know the brand she founded: RAW Coffee Company.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR CAREER, WHERE DID THE ADVENTURE START?
I founded Raw Coffee Company in 2007. We import specialty grade organic and fair trade certified Arabica coffee beans and roast these locally here in Dubai. We supply this freshly roasted coffee to cafes and restaurants. We now roast 10 ton of coffee per month, have 30 employee’s, consult for new start-ups and train barista staff. We were placed in the 2015 Dubai Top100 SME businesses.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FOLLOW THIS CAREER PATH?
I had run a small cafe here in Dubai for two years and recognized a gap in the market for local freshly roasted coffee. Everything was being imported from overseas. I have three daughters, and they were growing up, and I had time to put into a new business start-up. I am also a risk taker and looking back, was hopelessly naive about the details involved in opening and operating a small business, so the learning curve was huge.
TELL US ABOUT AN ACCOLADE OF YOU’VE ACHIEVED THAT YOU MOST PROUD OF? I am most proud of the team of people that work with me. We have won numerous UAE awards for coffee competitions and also internationally. The dedication and application of the Raw staff is the key to our companies success. I had not realized when I started the company the importance of training and empowering your staff and the flow on effect of this on the quality of your product and the experience the customers receive. So while I know our coffee is good, that on its own is not the foundation for the company to grow or be successful, it is the people.
WHAT KIND OF WOMEN OF YOUR CHILDHOOD INSPIRED YOU?
Growing up in New Zealand the women that inspired me when I was young were the creative roll models were authors and film directors. My favorite is Jane Campion, but also Keri Hulme, Janet Frame, and Ngaio Marsh.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO FOR SHAKING OFF THE STRESS AFTER A BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE?
I love yoga, it is so good for my head and just remembering to breathe and stretch. I also enjoy a good long walk along the tracks at the beach, listening to good music.
COULD YOU TELL US WHAT " INFLUENTE WOMEN" MEANS FOR YOU?
For me, the description of an influential woman is someone who inspires other woman and hopefully encourages them to be brave and who recognize and support other women and their initiatives. Women who have emerged from humble backgrounds or made the most of the opportunities their life presents to them. I respect women who have strong ethical beliefs and who use their skills and influence to motivate and mentor their families and communities.