Erika Zimmet

Woman to watch: Erika Zimmet

Arlene Hisiger,March 10, 2014

Four years ago, Erika Zimmet took the plunge and left a secure position to open her own business. The Zimmet Group, which provides marketing and learning services to other businesses, took over a space formerly occupied by a yoga studio and a church.


Four years ago, Erika Zimmet took the plunge and left a secure position to open her own business. The Zimmet Group is a boutique firm that provides businesses' marketing and learning divisions with strategic consulting, planning and delivery of programs designed to inspire employees to achieve differentiation and improved performance.

"Getting outside my own fears and starting this company has been incredibly fulfilling. Those crossroads times, when you have an uneasy feeling in your stomach, provide you with incredible opportunities," Zimmet said. "Making the leap was scary, but professionally, it has been an amazing choice."

As the company's creative director, she lightheartedly attributes her company's success to the combined good vibe inherited from her office space's two former occupants, a church and a yoga studio. Securing clients such as Xerox, Bausch & Lomb and Carestream indicate that professional acumen is also very much at work.

Born in California, Zimmet moved to Rochester from Maplewood, New Jersey to study illustration and graphic design at RIT. At the time, she had no intentions of staying. But a job at a small design studio and a move to the city made her appreciate Rochester more. Every time she'd contemplate moving, something wonderful would happen to keep her here. One of those wonderful things was meeting her husband, Dave, who has not only been a constant source of personal and professional support but has also taken on the primary parenting role for their daughter in order to allow her to grow the business.

"I think things happen for a reason," Zimmet said. "Having started this business and weathered its ups and downs, any time I get frustrated I remind myself that all these experiences put you in a place you're supposed to be. I am a firm believer in things always working out in the end.

"Running this business has confirmed my belief that you have to tread lightly in this world. You have to be upfront, straightforward, say what you have to say in order to get stuff done. But, you must also be kind, considerate and ethical," Zimmet said.

When she was younger, Zimmet was not always able to "find her voice." Now, experience and the unwavering professional support, from male and female mentors, has enabled her to communicate with greater confidence.

For others considering the entrepreneurial track, she advises: "Trust your gut, don't always play it safe. If it doesn't work out, shake it off and try something else tomorrow. "Be sure to surround yourself with people you can trust, who have wider experience than you do," she added. "And, really take the time to listen to what they have to share." 
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