Jodi Kovitz

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CAREERS IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY - Melissa Vekil

As founder and CEO of #movethe­dial, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that aims to in­crease the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in the tech in­dus­try, Jodi Kovitz is a dy­namic force in Canada’s tech scene. Since its in­cep­tion two years ago, #movethe­dial has scaled rapidly into a global move­ment and a com­mu­nity of thou­sands.

But Kovitz’ jour­ney to success in­volved many twists and turns. Seven years into a suc­cess­ful law ca­reer, she re­al­ized she wasn’t mak­ing the kind of im­pact she wanted to. “I felt like I’d lost my way,” she says. “I for­got my sense of pur­pose.”

Armed with an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit (Kovitz started her first com­pany at age 16), her in­fa­mous “Just Say Hello” phi­los­o­phy, and guid­ance from in­spir­ing men­tors, she carved a brand new path. Kovitz cred­its her success to dis­ci­pline, hard work, and the nu­mer­ous men­tors in her life. “My life has been a se­ries of mo­ments of lis­ten­ing to peo­ple who truly be­lieve in my success,” she says.

Af­ter five years as Busi­ness Growth and In­no­va­tion Lead at Osler, Kovitz made her jump into Canada’s tech scene as the CEO of AceTech On­tario (now Peer­scale), a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion con­nect­ing CEOs and lead­ers of tech scale­ups. It was there she fully re­al­ized the sec­tor’s prob­lem­atic gen­der gap and felt in­spired to cre­ate change.

We spoke to Jodi Kovitz about a ca­reer in tech and why fe­male em­pow­er­ment is the key to the fu­ture of Canada’s dig­i­tal econ­omy.

Me­di­a­planet What drew you to a ca­reer in tech­nol­ogy?

Jodi Kovitz There were a few dis­tinct mo­ments. In late 2017, I had the op­por­tu­nity to speak in front of 130 tech lead­ers. I looked around and re­al­ized that only about three per­cent of the lead­ers in the room were women. It was a stark dif­fer­ence from my ex­pe­ri­ence in the le­gal in­dus­try, where I was sur­rounded by pow­er­ful fe­male lead­ers. Stand­ing in that room was a wake-up call for me to af­fect change and it’s what in­spired me to start #movethe­dial.

MP What are some of the chal­lenges fac­ing the in­dus­try?

JK De­spite be­ing one of the fastest-mov­ing and fastest-grow­ing in­dus­tries, the tech sec­tor still has a long way to go in clos­ing the gen­der gap. Women com­prise 13 per­cent of the av­er­age tech com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tive team, while 53 per­cent of tech com­pa­nies have no fe­male ex­ec­u­tives.If Canada wants to lead the way in in­no­va­tion, we can’t let women sit on the side­lines — we have too much to gain with a more in­clu­sive and di­verse tech sec­tor.

MP What lies ahead for #movethe­dial?

JK We re­cently re­leased our first re­port on gen­der equal­ity in the Cana­dian tech ecosys­tem called Where’s The Dial

Now?, in part­ner­ship with PwC and MaRs. This re­port tells us that though the gen­der gap is still wide, there are ef­fec­tive ways we can move the dial for the women and girls in our lives. We’re also ex­cited about our up­com­ing #movethe­dial Global Sum­mit on Novem­ber 7, 2018.

MP What ad­vice do you have for young girls and women?

JK Seek out men­tors that will sup­port and guide you, take the time to cre­ate mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships, and build your net­work! Also, don’t be afraid to step into the un­known or take risks that move you out­side of your com­fort zone.

My life has been a se­ries of mo­ments of lis­ten­ing to peo­ple who truly be­lieve in my success.”


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