“Since I was five years old and getting an allowance, I have always given back.”
Business owner and entrepreneur, Nikki Pett, is no stranger to giving back in York Region. She attributes the habit to the amazing example of some very special people. Nikki was born in Pointe-Claire, Québec after her parents and two older sisters came to Canada from Scotland. Early in life, Nikki found herself growing up with a single parent who was left to raise three girls on her own without any support.
“My mom did not know anyone when she moved to Québec, but one of the church families came alongside us when they realized how dire our situation was.”
Mr. and Mrs. Weaver were magnanimous in assisting with their basic needs, and went above and beyond by preparing her mother for a job interview so she could become self-sufficient. Nikki and her family grew near and dear to this family, calling them Grandma and Grandad Weaver. When Nikki’s mother got a job and moved to Toronto, Mr. Weaver asked one of his three sons, Malcolm—who was living in Toronto at the time—to check up on the girls and make sure they were taken care of. Malcolm eventually married their mother and became Nikki’s step-dad, bringing the family even closer. This extraordinary family’s generosity modeled Nikki’s upbringing; from an early age her mother had taught her to give back.
Nikki’s portrait was taken overlooking beautiful Lake Simcoe. She now lives in Georgina with her husband where she has contributed to local causes such as the Georgina Food Bank, Jersey Public School in Keswick, and Jericho Youth Camp/Sutton Families Christmas. Her business, Sigma Promotions in Aurora, supplies promotional items and tangible goods to go along with events, and offers creative marketing strategies too. As well, her company creates Executive Door Openers for organizations where traditional marketing avenues have been unsuccessful.
In addition, Sigma Promotions contribute towards the Promotional Products Professionals of Canada Scholarship (PPPC Scholarship) for those within the marketing and promotions industry. This opens an opportunity for people who can’t afford the education component, and provides funds for their schooling in marketing specifically. Nikki has also supported the Rebecca Run for fifteen years by providing volunteer t-shirts for the annual event.
Since the inception of Sigma Promotions in 2002, Nikki has incorporated a philanthropic element into their business plan. Together with her team, other causes have benefited from their charitable spirit. These include 360 Kids & Birthday Angels, Peter Monk Cardiac Centre, Character Community, ALS Canada, Southlake Hospital, Women’s Centre of York Region, Belinda’s Place, Sandgate Shelter, Inn from the Cold, and more. Nikki and her team love giving back as a business, and in 2016 they added volunteer commitment as part of this initiative.
Nikki chooses to support those who give back too:
“When comparing apples to apples, I would absolutely choose to work with an organization that gives back. What it communicates is that it’s not all about profit—which is the way we operate at Sigma Promotions. People come before profit, and other organizations that really get this attract the right kind of people to work with. It puts them in a different light.”
Before Nikki was able to help financially, she chose to volunteer her time, such as teaching computer lessons for about a year at Cedarvale Lodge Retirement and Care Community in Keswick. More recently, she volunteers as a coach for the Future Possibilities Program where she witnesses firsthand the value of this course in kids’ lives. As a coach, she encourages kids to give back in varying degrees to help make their communities a better place.
“It has been the most incredible experience for me to see an 11-year-old who is concerned about what many young adults do not care about. These kids just blew me out of the water with their insight—it was absolutely inspiring.”
Her dream for the future is to build up her business in order to create a foundation to provide teaching and training in St. Lucia. Nikki aims to use her skills as a trainer and speaker to make a difference, to inspire and motivate others, and to leave a legacy of hope.