Speaker Feature: Jodi Kovitz

Jodi is the newly appointed CEO of AceTech Ontario, which is a non-profit member-based community organization for technology leaders to engage in meaningful discussions, mentoring, peer guidance, exploration of ideas, brainstorming of strategies, and sharing of real-world experiences and results. She is the Founder of Just Say Hello, which is her passion project. Jodi believes that adopting a “Just Say Hello” mindset, and showing up to build meaningful relationships with courage, authenticity, and generosity can transform your success in life and business. She is part of the executive committee of SickKids Innovators and active volunteer fundraiser for the SickKids Foundation and was recently appointed to the board of a to be announced national innovation initiative, the Optimal Living Lab.

Learn more about Jodi:

What is the role that conversation plays in your life?

Conversation is everything to me. My relationships are my most valuable and valued asset. Authentic meaningful relationships are only built through the art of conversation, with more listening than talking. It is so easy in this distracted, too fast paced world for us to forget to take the time (and invest the energy) in the conversation essential to the types of relationships we need to be happy, and successful in our lives and careers.

How would your friends describe you in 3 words or less?

Inspiring, generous and fun!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time/what are your hobbies?

I love spending time with my glorious eight year old daughter, Lily, doing anything and everything.

When I am not with her, or working you will find me recharging by batteries taking long walks in nature, spinning at Rocket Cycle, doing hot yoga or getting up North as much as I can. I love to travel. Some recent trips include Italy, Bermuda, New York, Mexico and Arizona. I plan to take my daughter back to the Galapagos next year so she can enjoy it as much as I did, and the Seychelles is on my bucket list.

I am passionate about cooking – I am working my way through Oh She Glows (a latest favourite is this amazing lentil soup).

I also spend much of my time raising money for Sick Kids Foundation – we are about to launch a $1.3B campaign to rebuild the hospital, take the Sick Kids brand to local hospital and around the world, and fund the research world leading doctors are doing out of Toronto. I am developing the tech strategy with an amazing group of people. I feel blessed to do this work.

What is your personal philosophy?

Dream it, plan it, go get it – with passion, focus & commitment and generosity in spirit and action – always.

What is something you can’t live without?

Other than my daughter: a big cozy cashmere scarf that travels with me, my gold S’well bottle purchased in Vancouver (which reminds me of two of my best friends and grandmother that live there), and a black lined Moleskine journal with a purple pen.

What is your favourite TED/TEDx talk and why?

Angela Lee Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is one of my favourite Ted talks (though it is very difficult for me to pick just one).

I love Duckworth’s simple yet profound idea and I found her research inspiring and invigorating. The word “Grit” speaks to me: it is core to who I am, and I attribute all of my success thus far to the unique combination of passion and perseverance.

I remember when I started my first company, handheld cards, at 16 years old it was my absolute love for and belief in what I had created, combined with my tenacity that got me my first customer. I knocked on ten doors before one person said yes. Pride in that first small win drove my continued commitment, and I kept going, small steps, one day at a time. A year later, I had 25 customers and a small staff.

I fundamentally believe that the people who are gritty, achieve their dreams. And while big ideas matter, a focussed plan and zealous execution (which can only be driven by passion), matters more.

What are you most proud of?

I will always be most proud of raising a curious, compassionate and hugely empathic child. She inspires and amazes me every day through her kindness and angelic energy, more than anything she accomplishes. She was very sick (and almost died) when she was two years old. I looked at her one day when we were in the hospital and realized I was not living my purpose in any way, personally or professionally at that time: which was first and foremost, to nourish Lily mind, body, soul every single day. I looked into her little blue eyes, and promised her that I would. And I have. That makes me proud.

Professionally, I feel very lucky to be the CEO of AceTech Ontario – the preeminent organization for over 200 tech execs in Ontario to learn, grow and engage. It is an inspiring community. I am proud of the relationships I am building with its’ members, and of my fabulous team that is working hard to take our organization to the next level, amazing and delighting our members through every touch.

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