Finding purpose through publishing

Kimi Johnson, founder and CEO of Purpose Pals Publishing. Photo courtesy: Johnson

Often you hear women say that when they sit in the chair at a salon, they tend to open up and share vulnerable moments with their stylist as if it were a counseling session instead of a hair appointment.

Moments like these are what inspired Kimi Johnson, a Tallahassee native and founder and CEO of Purpose Pals Publishing, to launch Purpose Driven Women Magazine. Its goal is to encourage and support women in lifestyle, fashion, health and faith, by sharing the stories of women based on what they have encountered on their life journey.

“When you are identifying or discovering your purpose, you find out that a lot of the things were already on the inside of you,” Johnson said. “I have over eight years in the training industry and creating curriculums for trainers to utilize is where I learned how to do the page layout and design. I would sit down and start designing a magazine, and it was just like I knew I had it in me. I had the intuitive nature to just do it.”

Johnson added to her repertoire and innate skill set in journalism, magazine design and publishing by taking classes, gaining mentors and reading books to gain additional knowledge — which served as a springboard for her present success.

Just before the release of the first issue, Johnson suffered the loss of her mother, whom she described as her “biggest cheerleader.” In her grief, Johnson was hesitant to move forward with her dreams of launching her first magazine. However, with some encouraging words from her husband, she was able to push through and accomplish her goals.

“My husband looked at me, and he said to me, ‘Your mother wouldn’t want this for you, you can’t give up,’ and I knew that was true,” Johnson said. “Because of the pain I was experiencing, I wanted to give up. But in the back of my mind, I know my mom worked so hard to give me different opportunities, and she always encouraged me and spoke life into me. If I give up, I’m letting her down.”

In being able to find her strength at that moment, Johnson not only launched Purpose Driven Women Magazine, but decided to push herself one step further. Soon, Purpose Driven Women Magazine expanded into the full-blown publishing company, Purpose Pals Publishing, that it is today.

Through Purpose Pals Publishing, other women, like Shanta Moore, have also found the courage to share their vulnerable moments in an effort to promote healing. Before ever meeting Johnson, Moore was on her own journey of healing through the writing of her manuscript. Three years after finishing her story, she met Johnson, who published her book entitled “Destiny, It’s In the Grain.”

“This manuscript is contributing to the healing of the nation,” Moore said. “We’re in the position we’re in because we’re hurt people, hurting people. [Johnson] said, ‘I’m willing to help you,’ not knowing on the flip side of her telling me that she would have her own epiphany, and it would be her own time to transition. A transition from Purpose Driven Women Magazine to Purpose Pals Publishing. I became the first author that she published.”

Johnson credits her success not only to herself for overcoming challenges and taking initiative to learn new skill sets, but to her mentors who she said encouraged and inspired her in her roughest moments.

“She’s like a sponge,” Cindy Bigbie, her mentor, said. “She’s very open to learning and definitely has a lot of guts because she’s willing to take chances and kind of venture into the places that most people won’t. I just have seen her grow more and more into that by not wanting to settle in her career dreams even with the challenges thrown at her.”

Bigbie, who met Johnson not long after the loss of her mother, said that their meeting was “divinely ordained” and that she doesn’t see herself as a mentor because she learned just as much from Johnson as Johnson did from her.

“She’s one of the brightest, most passionate women that I know and the fact that she’s stepping into her power and helping others do the same is very inspiring,” Bigbie said. “I can’t imagine that there’s anything more purposeful, thus the name of the work that she’s doing. She’s in complete alignment with herself and that’s a very unusual thing to find in someone.”