Kimberly Veich – Mentor

I’ve spent about half my life engaged in a variety of community and internationally based projects that have expanded my knowledge in many areas. My biggest influences in my career have been from Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International. I was introduced to her work at the age of 14 and was blown away by her devotion and execution for helping women in war torn countries re-build their lives. Moreover, the book, Half the Sky, written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn back in 2008, opened my eyes to the effective ways contributing to social change in regards to the issues stemming from Gender Inequality. Several years ago, I was further exposed to advocacy work while working alongside senior gender advisor, Karen Craggs at Plan Canada’s Gender Unit in 2012. I have witnessed first hand how the importance of promoting gender equality when it comes to international development on a Global scale and ending Global Poverty.

I have an academic social sciences background in Psychology, Gender Studies and International Development. Beyond the classroom, I’ve gained most of my knowledge and experience throughout my travels. I would say that my most insightful and life-altering years were spent in Sub-Saharan Africa. I’ve spent time living, studying and working on and off between 2009-2012 (With SOS Children’s Village, The Commission of Gender Equality, & MOSAIC) in Botswana and South Africa; and have travelled other regions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The children I worked with at SOS literally changed my life and I was able to see in myself how much I cared for these kids and how badly I wanted to see them succeed in life.

Back in February 2013, I returned to a part-time career in modeling which has given me the opportunity to travel and to broaden my knowledge within the fashion industry. I am extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to travel, and now invest whatever I can into this social enterprise. I’ve designed my most recent lifestyle by finding purpose in anywhere I go. Choosing a particular destination is often determined by something that moves or inspires me. When I moved to Asia 3.5 years ago, I began a field study on the issue of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation in Cambodia (working with Somaly Mam’s organization, AFESIP), I was welcomed by the organization, became committed to the the cause and find myself today continuing to support them.

For three years, SouthEast Asia was home. I had chosen to create a base for myself in Bangkok, Thailand where I was modeling and continued to develop COMPASS Collective. Through COMPASS, I intend on revolutionizing the fashion industry to become more socially responsible. I will also continue working towards reaching gender equality by raising awareness of the plight of women and girls globally and provide knowledge as to how we can advance them through sustainable solutions such as education and economic opportunities.

One’s passion has the ability to ignite a fire deep within the soul. Once ignited, we are able to satisfy an insatiable appetite for life and lead us to exploring our life’s purpose. From an early age, I had discovered a passion in working with women and children, which has lead me to advocate for Gender Equality. Through the concept of global ‘equality’ through a gendered lens, I intend on creating awareness to issues that affect vulnerable women and children worldwide. My focus through my academic and experiential field work over the last decade of my life has led me to the inception of COMPASS Collective. I have also always found a love for the art of fashion and how beautifully stories can be illustrated through editorial images. Instinctively, I designed this idea with the realization that their is a specific market that can bridge the fashion industry and social/cultural awareness to world issues – especially when it comes to issues stemming from gender inequality.

All it takes is a vision and an indestructible ambition to make a dream come to life. The creative mind has the ability to transform a thought into a work of art that you can see, emote and feel. In my experience, a work of art takes time to evolve and an immense amount of passion in order physically create what has been mentally constructed. COMPASS was designed with the premise to inspire and widen perspectives within and across cultures. As a collective, I foresee those within the fashion industry to come together to create beautiful and inspiring stories that will have transformative effects.

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