Kim Bowsher and her family have a philosophy: “You can’t know where this yes is going to take you, but you say yes and it starts to line up.” Saying yes to opportunities and challenges has made Kim a force in Utah business and a key player in Ogden’s future. Not bad for a Seattle transplant who knew no one when she moved to Utah in 2011.
When she couldn’t find a company doing the kinds of projects she wanted, Kim started her own (kbENT). When she met with other Ogden business owners about local issues, she decided to do something about them. At 26 years old, she went to the mayor’s office to present a solution. That plan would eventually turn into the Ogden Downtown Alliance (ODA). For several years, Kim has led the nonprofit ODA while still running her marketing agency. Both are thriving.
Kim talked about ODA’s impact since its formation: “In 2016 we took over the management of Farmers Market Ogden. For that first year, we more than doubled the number of vendors. The attendance was record-breaking. The next year we outperformed ourselves again. We had a $2.6 million economic impact in the summer market alone. We’ve also won best in state for community development every year that we’ve been in existence.”
Kim insists she owes her success to the environment and people around her: “I have worked really hard and inserted myself in a lot of ways and been stubborn. That’s who I am as a person. But even so, if I were to translate those efforts and that personality even back to my hometown of Seattle, there’s no way I would have been in the mayor’s office at 26 making a pitch and being heard. There’s no way that I could have rallied the people around us that are here. I think a lot of times I get credit, but there’s a whole team of people and mentors here. I can’t imagine doing that in another town. I feel really lucky and really blessed that this is my path.”
She is also inspired by her family: “My mom was hardworking. She had her own business, and I’ve always been super proud of her for that. I have a lot of pride in my kids seeing the work that I do, whether it’s the Downtown Alliance or my marketing work. I love that they know that their mom works hard and here’s the result of that.”
People often ask Kim how she got here, especially at her age. She says, “Just keep on moving forward, keep pushing for what is important to you and make as many relationships as you can. Sometimes it’s doing really gross dirty work, like hauling trash at the market. My husband and I are where we are because we were willing to show up when it was not clean and not pretty and you cry and sweat and bang your head against the wall, but it’s worth it if you can see it through. Anyone can be in that ‘Oh wow, how’d she get there?’ situation. All of us are capable of getting there.”