Talk Boutique is excited to welcome Jodi Kovitz, Founder and CEO of #MoveTheDial to our roster of inspiring speakers.
One-on-One With Jodi
Jodi, your days are very full…How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
It’s true that my days are full, but they are full of joy. I truly love the work that I am doing and am motivated by my team and all of the wonderful partners, champions, and friends that we have, sharing in our commitment to moving the dial for women globally. We are feeling great momentum and I am fuelled by that, and the impact that I know we are already having, every day.
Speaking is still a challenge for a lot of successful people. Have you always enjoyed speaking in front of large audiences?
Public speaking is not something that has always come naturally. It is something that I have worked very hard at. I took an executive course at Ivey four years ago where I had to deliver a three-minute speech. It was called, “Dream it, Plan it, Go Get it.” I got a standing ovation and saw many people in the audience moved to tears. I realized that I wanted to touch more people, and have worked very hard over the last number of years to hone this skill. I love motivating others and sharing what I have learned throughout my career. It is that passion for sharing and community that pushes me forward.
What is the last business book you read?
I am learning a lot from a book I recently read called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown. As entrepreneurs, we are always trying to do more and to grow our business. This book reminds us that the secret to achieving more is to be focused and at times, to take on less. To chose our “yeses” with so much purpose and intent, that our nos are less difficult. I am still working on that.
We’ve made great strides – what’s the greatest challenge women in technology face today?
I think one of the greatest challenges women face in technology is the relative lack of female role models. I firmly believe that women will be what they can see. We need to continue sharing the stories of incredible women who have found success in tech and innovation so that women can see themselves in their shoes and believe they can get there.
Describe a major business or other challenge you experienced throughout your career and how you resolved it. What lessons did you learn in the process?
One day in one of my former roles, I realized that I had made a major mistake in submitting a budget: a $30,000 line item. I was horrified as I am extremely hard working and detail oriented – this is NOT the kind of thing that I would ever typically do. As soon as I realized what happened, I owned the mistake. I apologized profusely and offered to do whatever I could to rectify it. I learned three great lessons: 1) I was moving too fast, doing too many things. That is why I made the mistake. I just had too many things on my plate to do a perfect job at all of them. Hence, why I always am striving to focus on priorities, yet remain true to myself (and desire to be generous). 2) One of my great mentors reacted this way: “It is ok Jodi, don’t worry. I know how unlike you it is, and let’s just learn from it and move on”. Her kindness taught me that unconditional care is just that – we care about people when they make mistakes, we forgive and we move on. I have similarly used this approach when my team have made errors, and I attribute her great leadership to that, and 3) I was very upset and hard on myself. I kept berating myself in my head for the mistake, and it was not helpful to me to do that. My best friend one day said, “Jodi, you are perfect as you are mistakes and all. You made a mistake – it is NOT the end of the world. Stop harming yourself with all of that negative self-talk”. He was right, and I learned the art of self-forgiveness. It has served me well.
How did mentors influence your life? What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
Mentors have had a tremendous impact on my life. Throughout my career, I have had great mentors, and people who have helped to “movethedial” in very meaningful ways. I attribute much of my success to these incredible humans that have invested time, energy and relationship capital in me. From them, I have learned the importance of truly giving back. And inviting others to actively “stand on my shoulders” as I advance in my own career.
What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
Aside from my great fortune professionally, and my joy in respect of my ability to play a leading role giving back in the community through my work with Sick Kids Foundation and numerous Toronto tech initiatives, what I am most proud of is the work I have done in the role as a mother. I was lucky enough to have a moment in my life with Lily that “woke me up” to who I wanted to be as a mother when she was two and very sick. At that moment I realized that I wanted to devote my energy to nourishing her mind, body, and soul every day. That I had not been present enough and was not happy with how I was showing up. I now am very proud of how I show up. Lily is creative, curious, respectful, kind, empathic, and the light of my life. Raising a young girl is the most important job in the world I could have, and I am proud every day of my Lily.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
I would not start over. Life’s journey is not a straight line. Every single step I have taken in my life, every career shift, every relationship, my divorce, all of it has landed me here. And I am so happy and grateful in my life, I would change not one thing.
About Jodi Kovitz
Jodi is the Founder & CEO of #MoveTheDial, a movement founded in January 2017 to advance women in tech. Just Say Hello is her joy project through which she teaches people how to build transformative business relationships. Jodi was recognized in 2017 by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women. Jodi is serving on the SickKids Foundation Capital Campaign Cabinet to raise $1.3B to transform children’s health and conceptualized and is leading the first-ever tech community strategy to raise $25M with a team of 25 tech leaders. She serves on the advisory boards of Brim Financial, Maple Corporation, and Mediseen, Mayor John Tory’s Toronto Innovation Council and the Lazaridis Institute Scale Up Program in Waterloo. She has an LLB from Osgoode and an HBA from Ivey.
Interested in having Jodi speak at your next event? Contact us today and we can help!
If you think Jodi sounds great, you might also be interested in learning about Jill McAbe and Mike Lipkin. Jill is an entrepreneur, facilitator and business and performance expert who coaches other entrepreneurs to maximize operations and build their ideal business. Mike is president of Environics/Lipkin, a global research and motivation company. He is also an international strategic coach, facilitator, and catalyst for high performance.