The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

23. Inclusion: How to go out of your way and move the dial in business and life with Jodi Kovitz, founder of #movethedial

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Despite all the buzz about diversity and inclusion, few companies make it a true investment priority. We need to start bringing intention, rather than just good intentions to the process.

 

The fact that critical decisions are being made without the perspective of half of the population is particularly concerning in tech because of the ever-increasing role that machines in general and AI in particular play in our lives.

 

Jodi Kovitz, a lawyer, turned tech executive, founded #movethedial, an organization to advance the participation and leadership of women in tech. In this episode, we talk about her entrepreneurial upbringing, how she navigated her early career, and the nudge she finally received to start her own company, and global movement.

 

In the wake of COVID-19, Jodi made the difficult decision to pause operations at #movethedial. In doing so, the aim is to preserve the company and support the movement in the long term. We are all deeply optimistic that #movethedial 2.0 will emerge as a strong, and resilient organization.

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcastfrom the Pierre L Morrisse at Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School.In this series, I be entrepreneur and Ivy Faculty member Eric Janssen, willanchor the session. Jody Covitz, thank you so much for coming to hangout and so excited to be here with you. I appreciate you making thetime. I know you've got incredible demands on your time, but I'm reallyappreciate you making the trip in from Toronto. Thank you well, joyful and Ivybeing my Alma Mater, it's really actually very meaningful for me to beback and love the work that you're doing and love what you're teaching your students. So happy to be part of it. Awesome. So I think three bigthings I wanted to cover today, but the first one is a littlebit of your backstory and then getting into how did you actually make the leapto start and move the dial? But if we go way, way back, I want to hear about handheld cards. Okay, I'm going to tell you. So handout cards was my first business and I started it when Iwas sixteen years old and the vision was to create beautiful art that would begreeting cards and I am passionate about art and I love to use my handsand I really wanted to come up with something that filled what I saw asa unique need at the time in the market to create something that was bespoke. And I lived very close to a greeting cards store and that's how theidea came to me. So I was very lucky. My parents were verysupportive of my curiosities and my mother, you know, she let me downto the Japanese paper store and took me to all these wholesalers so I couldbuy all the different pieces. And between sixteen and when I started my undergraduatedegree at Western, and I actually started at here on before I came toIvy, you know, I sold the store that sold the cards around campusand I really did learn about how to build relationships from that Card Company,and I'll come back to that a little bit later when we talk about talkabout my approach to building relationships. But for me, the significance of handheldcars and even being here at ivy today, I believe that that entrepreneurial story ofhaving a vision, dreaming a little dream. It was a very small, sort of very specific product that I created, but then actualizing it andbeing able to have speak to the experience of growing the company. I hadpeople who worked for me and my residency, even on the floor of my room, we had a little sort of assembly line and using sort of thatstory of growing the revenue and building those clients and that and those revenue revenuesover time to get into ivy and that that I think that the entrepreneurial spiritthat I had is what enabled me to distinguish my application. So that wasjoyful. That's awesome. That's great. And did your parents, like,where did it start? Did your parents knowed you to try something out,or did you just on your own say that hey, like no, I'mnot going to deliver seer's cattle dogs, I'm going to actually do something onmy own. Like who started this thing? Who nudged you? Came from meto start something on my own. And I also I did have ajob at the same time. I started working in retail at spoarding life,making five dollars and fifteen cents an hour, and I'm really glad I had thatexperience. But I realized early on that autonomy was something that I valued, and so I think part of the impetus for creating my own company wasif I create my own thing that I'm really passionate about, maybe I canmake money as opposed to having to like clock in and clock out and havea Mr sub for lunch every Saturday when I have a fifteen minute lunch break. So I think that's where it came from. But I think the eventhe fact that I would think about it came very much from how I wasraised. And you know, all my parents played a role in that,but in particular, you know, my mom really encouraged all of us,my siblings and I, who, interestingly, are also all ivy grads. Wehave all went to ivy for our undergraduate degrees, was to be curiousand encouraged our curiosity and to pursue many different passions and enabled and support itthat. So you know, for example, I played several musical instruments and mysister played hockey and my brother, you know, also was into music. You know, from music to to art and you know all these differentthings that and I think that mindset of you can do anything you put yourmind to is part of what enabled me to even have an entrepreneurial mindset ofthe first place. We're going deep within the first few minutes, but Ihave to ask the question. So you have a daughter now, I do. I've got a few children as well. Are you intentional about trying to dothat with with her as well? I other things that you do whereyou're like maybe, maybe, try this out? Are you trying to directher? How do how do you encourage her? It's a great a greatquestion, and I'm very mindful actually and intentional in my parenting, and Iyou know whether that's because of how I was raised or sort of life circumstance. Of I had a moment when lily was really young that informed a lotof my journey where, you know, she was quite ill and I almostlost her, and so that really woke me up to being a very committed, an intentional parent around sort of the energy that I bring to her andwhat I role model for her. So...

I feel very grateful actually that thathappened. But because of that and sort of the intentionality I bring to howI try to parent her, I spend up a lot of time listening toher and when I hear a curiosity in her. I really do try veryhard to lean into that curiosity and to show up and enable her to pursueit herself. However, I can so give an example. She loves tocook. She's just always been interested in baking and she started to watch cookingshows on Netflix and and I said to her, would you like to takea cooking lesson and she said yes, I would and as a matter offact, you know, last night I ate pad tie that she made.That was like delicious, probably the best time pad I've ever had. Butshe's been having private cooking lessons and it's not to say that that's easy forme to do. Their expensive, but you know, I'm choosing to allocateresources there to enable that her to develop that skill set, curiosity confidence,because not necessarily that she'll open a restaurant as a Chad meet. Maybe shewill, but watching her sort of be curious and interested and passionate and understandthat if she invests time, energy, commitment and grit to it, shecan actually make a thing is really important to me. And she plays,you know, multiple instruments, guitar, piano, now trumpet and composing.My mom did that. She really diversified the exposure that I had to differentactivities and I think that meaningfully impacted my my confidence in believing that I couldbuild a company. And so that is how I'm sort of enabling her entrepreneurialspirit. Interesting. So two interesting things I want to come back to.The first one blew my mind that at some point my kids will be cookingfor me. So yeah, and it's something to look forward to. It'sgreat and if they're good at it and you get them lessons, it's awayreally happy. Secondly, there's this phrase that comes to mind, like pullingthe thread, and it seems like you, if you're listening, you can spotsomething early in them and say, oh, that seems like there's someinterest in that thing. Let's pull the thread and supported and see if wecan help nurturate a little bit. So That's interesting. Absolutely and and youknow, understanding that just because they're little humans doesn't mean that they don't havea very strong point of view of who they are. Another example you knowwe had we just had our summit move the dial all of the company Inow own and founded, which I'll get into later, hosted a summit forTwenty eight hundred people this year. That was, you know, recently lastyear she spoke at our first summit on the stage about sick kids and herexperience there. And this year she said, mum, can I speak and herchoir was actually performing as part of the art sort of immersive experience andI hadn't planned on her speaking because I don't want to be, you know, giving her too many opportunities and not forcing her. I'd ever want toforce her to do those things. And I said, well, you're noton the agenda. You're going to sing with your question. said, Ireally want to speak. It's really important to me. So I had achoice in that moment, you know, sort of be firm on the programmingand sort of, you know, not listen to her or listen to hercuriosity in her interest to pursue public speaking to a crowd of three thousand people. At Age ten, she wrote her own speech. She talked about whenshe wrote the speech, you know, incredibly inspiring things around you know,astronauts that recently took the first space walk that were women and hoping that theydon't we don't talk about their gender anymore in the future, and that shewanted to take over move the DOS, like that's a news to me,you know. But she was so confident and articulate and memorized her speech andprepared for it, and that was as a result of a listening to whatshe wanted to do. But be just the Osmosis of role modeling and whatI'm doing, even though in moments where it's difficult and takes me away fromher, which is as a parent. I'm sure you've had those moments aswell, is sometimes difficult understanding the impact of role modeling for our kids andbeing true to who you are so that they can, you know, findbits of that that resonate for them and follow, you know, follow theirown their own path. So, anyway, that's my answer. I'm parenting andI see, I see parallels between that and teaching, you know,like I still knew ish coming back to teach it IV, but I definitelysee parallels. Like I'll see, you'll see threads that you might be interestedin. A student, student says something about never thought about being an entrepreneur, but this class kind of, you know, open my mind a littlebit and you can either say interesting, good for you, like that's great, or like, let's sit down sometime. Let's talk about like what do youmean? What was interesting about it? What? What could you do nextthat might actually feel that fire a little bit. So I think there'sinteresting parallels between parenting and and teacher. Yeah, sure. So, despitethe fact that you were entrepreneur at sixteen and you're entreprene now, there werethere was a piece in the middle where you you didn't start your own thingright to the school. So what did you do after you graduated? Isummered at the Boston Consulting Group and I did the thing that many ivy studentsdo. It's like I chose a path. It was the consulting path. Iwas super proud of myself that I got the job. There were sixof us that got that summer role. Think I was the only woman identifiedperson. And then when I got there, you know, I hated it.Sorry, but that's true. And it was, you know, thefirm was amazing. It was an incredible opporttunity to be there, great culture, but it was being, you know,...

...in the spreadsheet, doing the analysis, which was not what I call my superpower. Right, we allhave things that I think skills that we can develop. Certainly in my timeat Ivy. I sharpened my analysis, you know modeling sister skills, whichwas never suit sort of my strong point growing out. I wasn't sort ofI never saw myself as very good at math and I, you know,sharpened my saw enough to get the summer job and get through the case studies, but it really was hard for me. So it was almost like squishing asquare into a circle for me to do that and I had an incurwas so fortunate that an incredible mentor. Her name was Mary Ellen Murray andshe was a very strong, inspiring human who in fact was going through breastcancer treatment at the time and would come to work completely bald, not evenwearing a wig, and just proud of herself, and that was a reallyimportant role model experience for me to see what it was to sort of beconfident. And she took an interest in me and she saw that during theday I was doing my job and at night I was doing my side Hustle, which is in fact the first social movement I built while I was atIvy, which we can talk about later, but I built this investment challenge andshe saw that I was so passionate about the entrepreneurial little venture, whichwas a nonprofit sort of social movement game that I was building for the students, versus the actual work that I would have to do in order to besuccessful at BCG for many, many years before I would ever get to bedoing selling or anything entrepreneurial. And she took me out for lunch, I'llnever forget it, to a restaurant called canoe that overlooked Toronto, and shelooked at me and she said, you need to follow your heart and youneed to be, you know, listening to where your passion lays. AndI wish I had. And if I had done that then I may neverhave I've ended up with breast cancer. So I can't watch you conform yourselfjust to do what you should do, quote unquote, because you're at IVor because you got the opportunity. I really encourage you to think much moreout of the box for yourself your you really have an entrepreneurial spirit and youneed to Nurish, nurture it. So I listened to her and I wentto I just spent my last semester at Ivy and Milan on exchange at PAcony, which was a life highlight. I could talk about that forever,but that was just truly a life highlight for me and I think I derivea lot of my ability to hustle and have my confidence as an entrepreneur,in my ability to figure out anything from having lived in Milan, in fact, where, you know, English was not the first language, which youwouldn't know if you haven't lived there, and I had to learn Italian andfigure it out and that. So that was huge part of my life.But then, you know, when I graduated from IV, I came backand I got a job at work brain, and work brain the CEO as aguy named David Asset. Of course you, I'm sure you're quite familiarwith him, given that just seeing your partner, you know has worked thereand has really driven the company becoming what it is today with him, andI was very fortunate to work with David. I learned a ton from him.Global Mindset. How do you build a thing with a vision of excellence? How do you just grit so much that, like, your mindset is, yes, we can always no matter what, no matter when it's hard, and at the same time, there was no women on the leadership team. That I admired or looked up to, and it wasn't overt in that momentthat I was leaving work brain because there was no women. I didn'tknow that then, twenty something years ago, but I did meet an awesome womanwho I could relate to, who I'd been introduced to for the purposeof a mentorship relationship. Her name was pat is Pat Kreyefsky. She's stilla close mentor today, and we were supposed to have coffee for her tomaybe give me some entering. By the end she was offering me a joband I had said yes on the spot. You know, walking away from allmy pre IPO equity, which other time I didn't know, is quitefoolish. But you know, I in my heart, I now know thatit's because I think we all need role models that we can relate to.And even though David and the whole team at work brain were incredible people tome and taught me a lot, and I still deeply cherish my relationship withDavid and others that I worked with that work brain, I needed to belearning from someone ultimately that I could see myself in. So I worked atScotia Bank then for a couple of years in succession planning for the sea sweetteam down to director. It was a very small job on a highly strategicteam. So I actually was doing data entry, really data entry, forall the succession plans and leadership development plans. But I loved it because, aswe were talking just before we started the podcast, I'm a voracious consumerof best, best in class leaders perspectives, different leadership competencies. I read allkinds of books on this and it was like doing a little, youknow, MBA in leadership by working at Scotia Bank for those few years.I then decided to go to law school because I had always wanted to dofurther education and I didn't really add that time see the the necessity to comeback to ivy and do a one year MBA. A lot of my friendsdid. I'm sure I would have gotten a lot out of it, butI thought I could get a lot out of going to law school and learninghow to think critically and then I could...

...always hang a shingle as a lawyerif I ever needed to. My mother had been divorced when I was quitelittle and I always wanted to be able to be financially independent. So Iwent to law school never thinking I would practice. I thought it was agood backup plan and then I'd go back to business and I, you know, loved and excelled in my business law course. You know, I remember, I'll never forget. I got the prize in Business Association, like thetop place in the class, and it was natural for me therefore to goback into business or go into business law. But I fell in love with familylaw. Don't ask me, and I'm you know, I thought itwas interesting intellectually the law was changing. I was fascinated by assisted reproduction andsort of the law that was changing in that area. And I also thelaw entrepreneurial spirit and me sort of thought, well, if I'm going to practiceand hang a shingle or like practice in a larger law firm, Ican probably use my selling ability in my entrepreneurial spirit to build a practice early. So that's what I chose to do. I could have been a corporate lawyer, but then I had the opportunity to become a family lawyer and Ichose it and I actually was extremely entrepreneurial in my approach to the practice.I had a business plan. They laughed at me the partners laughed at me. I'll never forget as initially at Turk and mains when I when I articledand worked there, because I went to ask for two thousand dollars to supportmy business development plan and of course I wanted to take their like. Wehave never seen a first year associates ever happen audacity to do this, butwe can't say no. Several years later I was sending my business around,to plan around to all the partners and and sharing it and you know,some of them saying, you know what, we're sorry, we didn't believe inyou. But they were very supportive and enabled me in the particularly thesenior lawyer that took a bet on me, as names Lauren Wolfson. I'll beforever grateful to him for his mentorship and belief in me. You know, he supported me building my own practice, but he also taught me absolute excellencein communication and that skill that I spent six years learning how to draft. He would he would take a red pen seven times to a document andliterally cut it to shreds. But the fact that he took the time,when he's a guy that builds fifteen hundred an hour, to teach me sothat I would learn how to articulate a value prop in a concise way,so that I would understand how to sell at that time the judge or theclient on what I was trying to attain, how to be thoughtful around composing,you know, and an argument, which you know now that I spenda lot of my time selling a vision. You know, it's been extremely helpful. So I did that for six years. What happened was, andI did build quite in a creative practice. What happened, though, is mydaughter got extremely sick. I spent two years in and out of sickkids with her. I realized, is in one of those moments, thatI actually had lost myself while I was becoming a lawyer. So I hadalways done community work, I had always worked out my entire life. Itwas very important to me physical fitness, develop personal development, friends, family, and all of a sudden I was just a lawyer and a mom whowould run home, put my kid to bed, run back to the office, worked till two in the morning. Like I really was a bit ofa mess and in that moment with Lily, you know, had this big wakeup call where I was like, Oh, I could lose the onlything that matters to me. I do not like how I'm showing up inthe world and not you know, my ex husband is a wonderful human andhe's a wonderful father and the relationship wasn't the right relationship. Notice that hadto change, and all the things at the same time, and so thatmoment is sort of what I would call the precursor to building a life ofpassion and purpose that I'm currently living. Wow, there's a there's a lotof fill in the blank right, like from from graduation to and like knowingthat you were entrepreneurial, to finally making the full committed leap. And Ifeel, having read your book and knowing about the story, I think actuallymaking that full committed leap is part of what has made move the dial sosuccessful today. But it took you all of those lived experiences to get tothe point where you were like, yes, I'm going to fully commit and jumpin move the dial fully, a hundred percent. And and you know, it was stitched together over many years of those lived experiences. Once Idecided to leave the practice of law, I realized I needed to transition,and this is, you know, I share this from the perspective that ifsomebody's listening that wants to leave a discipline and move to another discipline, whatI learned is you don't have to put so much pressure on yourself to makethe the perfect move. Initially I went to Oh sir for five years thatwere a great gift to me, gift in the relationships, gift in whatI learned, and there was an end to what I learned and experience there, even though I knew that doing strategic business development at a law firm wasn'tnecessarily my career, but it was a really important transition for me and areally important, you know, on the job education experience, without which Idon't think I would be where I am.

But I sometimes, when I'm coachingpeople, and I'm sure you've had this experience, to people put somuch pressure on themselves if they want to leave a particular discipline like eyebanking orconsulting or you know, whatever it is law, to get the next movecorrect. It's actually it's not a linear journey. And so when I wasat Osler and I did do strategic business development for five years and I movedup and you know, they recognized my potential and kept, you know,investing in me and supporting me. I took an IVY executive course actually thattransformed my life, with a teacher named Dennis shackle yeah, and he reallysaw me. And so this comes to the next point you're asking me aroundhow you, you know, make that full go, all in or thatfull leap. Having people that see you and help you see yourself and believein yourself along the way is absolutely critical. And at each moment where I've leanedinto the pursuit of the next goal, it's always been as a result ofsomebody seeing me. I mean even colleen were head, who saw meat Osler and said to me, I mean I would never forget it.She very early in our time, to that you work like a horse andI believe in you and I will invest in you, and I and shedid. She was hard on me in the most positive way and she pushedme, pushed me, push me beyond my comfort zone. And then whenI met Dennis and he saw me and you know, he invited us todo a speech in that course that he taught persuasion and influence. It literallywas life changing for anybody listening take Dennis's class if he can, and hesaid, you know, you got to do a speech and it's should belike I have a dream like that big, and that is when I wrote myspeech. Dream it, planet, go get it, which is achapter in my book and much I'll talk about, you know, when Ihave the opportunity to talk to anyone who will listen about my story and themindset of you know, anything that you can dream you can do, andI gave examples and they'll never forget. You know, the class gave mea standing ovation when I did that talk and it was in that moment thatI realized, wow, I want to have this impact on people, Iwant to speak, I want to share my vision and I want to buildsomething, and I wrote it on a que card. He made a dothat and influenced by him and inspired by him and giving myself the opportunity toinvest in myself for those three days became the beginning of the journey that isnow move the dial and and how it's manifested in my ethos, which ismy book, and all the all the things that we're building. So wasn'tI'm going off script, but grabbing or a covers made head. What madehim? You said that he saw you. So what did he do? Whatdid how did he make you feel? What did he say when you saythat he saw you? So the first thing is that he made usdo the disc analysis before we arrived and I remember being so annoyed that hewas making has do that because I was busy. I was like the lastwork before day one. What is this? Yeah, I know, although I'mkind of nerdy like that and I typically do do homework before I've started. That in great ten. Very nerdy that way. But Anyway, Idid it and when I walked in, I'll never forget, I was latebecause I had a very important presentation that I had been scheduled to deliver thatmorning of the first day and I just couldn't miss it and I had lethim know in advance I would be late. So the class was going and Icame in an hour late and he made a whole feel about me whenI got in. This is jody. I think I was an eye andI was like the only I. I don't know. I think it wasan eye. I have to check, just to be fair, exactly whatit was, but whatever the mix of traits. He was like, Inever see this, this is jody, she has these traits. Welcome Jodi, she's going to give us so much by being here. And I waskind of embarrassed that he was doing that at first, but as the coursewent on, I actually saw that he got to know each of the studentsand what their unique strengths were and he would invite each of us to participatevery uniquely in a way that would be in our own superpower and in ourown comfort zone, because he had done the personality test and had spent thetime preparing and caring enough about each of us. And, you know,he called me out to give me opportunities. He you know, really pushed andinspired me when he saw that I was really enjoying the exercise around thespeech and then I did it in my small group and he had observed it, and then he encouraged me to do it in the big group and youknow, I just I just felt like he really saw my potential and hesaid it to me and he signed the book that he gave me with aspecial message KRP D M, and I think he just I don't know whatit was in him, but he saw something in me that I couldn't evenyet see inside myself. And interestingly, one of the people that I metin that chorus, Chrisle Young. You know, we had a very specialconnection. were very different humans. He's a very analytical, thoughtful, methodical, gentle leader and he kept leading the group through all the exercises and histeam would always win because he would lead from the side in the back.And and now we work together. He's with he works at move the dialand he's on my leadership team and we've...

...recently reached out to Dennis to comedo a leadership up, a whole team day for my team, basically persuasionand influence for move the dial, because he's had such a huge impact onmy life and on Christ's life and really changed the trajectory of my life.That's awesome. I wanted to go into that because I think we'll come backto things like that. Just reading your book. I want to get yourperspective on, you know, how how we can do better or be betterat moving the dial. But part of what I gathered it was like,you know, it's not it's not an ambiguous movement that's suddenly going to happenit's individuals helping individuals. So I want to call that out because it soundslike that's what Dennis did for you nice and earlier. Totally. Yeah,NEAT. So let's get actually into so you made the leap, in yourown words. What is move the dial? What are you up to? Somove the dial is a global movement and organization working to advance the participationand leadership of all women in Tech. People often say, you know,why? Why? Tech? There's so, you know, so many different industriesthat still really need our help. And for me it was very natural, having started in my career in tech twenty years ago and sort of seeingthat then and then I came back to tech twenty years later. So Iwas at Osler for five years and then I got the phone call to become, to apply for a role as the CEO of a nonprofit in the textbase called. It was then called Acetech Ontario, now called peer scale,sort of like YPO for Textios. Your listeners will probably be more familiar withHYPO. It's basically a peer to peer networking group for CEOS of software asa service businesses and heads of their functions. And I walked back into the room. You know, walk into the room for the first time to sharemy vision with a hundred thirty leaders and they were all men except for forand I was overwhelmed because I was surprised by this lack of diversity. Andso, for me, the reason why we need to deal with and worktogether to actively close the gender gap in the industry is because everything is techeven here at Ivy, everything that you do is technology enable today. Sowhether you're delivering education services, financial services, calling a taxi, getting your fooddelivered, everything is tech enabled. And if we don't have all ofthe humans, including women, identified folks and all the different types of womenwith different lived experiences at our design, leadership and governance tables, we willend up with building solutions that don't reflect the actual needs of the population.So for me, that's the why I'm really past. You know, inmy own mind, my Rais on detri being equality. Like for me,that's table stakes. We're heading into two thousand and twenty. All humans shouldhave equal human rights, period. False doop, but that is not enough. Nor is it that it's better for business and we get better results byhaving women at our board room. Dealt like we're clear on that. Ithink we've been talking about that for the last twenty years. For me,it is this is urgent because we are currently building technology products. We arebuilding autonomous vehicles without all the perspectives at the design table, which means wewill not value all lives the same when we build algorithms that teach those carshow to make decisions over this life for that life, which means that,you know, we're building solutions that don't factor in the different ways that differentkinds of humans need to be served. So that's my why. And itwas just such a massive gender gap when I got back and I saw itin my new role and then kept seeing it, that I got inspired tocreate, you know, initially just a first event. It was really justlet's have a conversation, but in a really positive way, which is myethos. So let's just show awesome women that happened to be leaders and sortof put this on the table. And that was in two thousand and seventeenand that little event, you know, given where we were at as asociety and the hunger for it in the market at that point, has nowturned into global movement. We've touched over fiftyzero people in the last two years. I have a team of twenty two staff. It's my full time Gig, you know, and there we are. That's yeah, it's been amazing tosee it grow from the sidelines. So congrats to the I know it'searly in the journey, still just getting started, just getting started. SoI hear you. And I was one of the leaders in a technology companythat probably, unknowingly, until someone called it out, realize that I didn'thave a diverse team. So, you know, I'm competing for talent ina really competitive market. I need to hire quickly. I have an allsay I have an all guy team today. Where do people even start? Youknow, I can't afford a chief diversity officer. I know this isimportant, but where do I start? So I think for me it reallystarts with mindset. You have to step into the mindset of it really mattersto ensure that we have diversity of lived experiences and perspective and thought on ourteam because we're going to do a better...

...job and have a better product asa result. Even even on an even and especially on a sales team,particularly, as you know, building teams that reflect the population becomes increasingly importantto your clients. If you're outselling with an all male, all white salesteam when that is not reflect the reality of your clients, that is notgoing to bode well in terms of your opportunity. So for me, itstarts with mindset and making the decision that we are going to be intentional,not just have good intentions. And so what that means is if you,as a leader of a sales team, you don't know how to run asale, you know a recruiting effort that will a attract different types of candidatesbe will be intentional, understanding all sorts of issues, from how the jobdescription is written to who is on the panels, whether we have been biasedtrained in terms of preparing for interviews and how to approach interviews, and whatis the process? Where are you looking for your candidates? And even ifyou're using a recruiter, is that recruiter by extension of you, you know, being extremely intentional and thoughtful around bringing in all sorts of candidates and youknow, I really understand the lived experience. I've lived it, the need tohire fast and how that, especially in a scaling technology company, canreally feel like it needs to trump hiring thoughtfully early enough in the game,because the challenge is not being intentional. Begets problem that then, if youend up with an extremely monogamous group, it's very hard to entice or attractanyone who wants to be part of that group. As an only and Icertainly, as a white person of many privileges, don't understand that. It'slived experience. But I have, you know, and I have done alot of listening so that I can start to understand from others who are teachingme, that when a team looks all the same, it's very hard forsomebody who looks different or has a different lived experience to want to join theteam because they're not sure if they'll be valued on the team or feel thatthey belong. So you know, there is a very comprehensive list of tacticsthat any leader who's looking to intend inntionally mindfully build a much more diverse teamcan use. But I would suggest that it really starts with mindset, understandingwhat you don't know, as I did very early on in my process.I really did not know how to do this. I'm still learning, Ialways will be. And you know, the best thing you can do iswork with an expert who does know how to do it to help you developa thoughtful strategy, invest in that strategy make sure that you you know,step by step, implement the changes that you need to in order to ultimatelyprocure a much more inclusive hiring process that will result in a much more robustteam that reflects the population. You go through a great example in your bookthat I just wanted to call out because I think I was guilty of.I put out a job application and I would want to attract female candidates,but I didn't think about how I was writing the job application and so I'dsay, well, look at my candidate pool, like how can I haveonly I've got a hundred applicainst two of them are female. Of course I'mgoing to interview them both, but like they're just not applying, and Ithink you you calling calling it out in the book. I actually this morningran through one of the old job applications that I or job descriptions that Iwrote up, and ran it through one of the EXTA tools available online andit, you know, the bolded headline rate of the top heavily masculine.You know, I was using star. Yeah, I was using all ofthe terms that the articles call out. So that's one tool that I foundI didn't even know existed. It's a great one. Are there other mindsetbeing one of the things, folks. On the next one, you saidthere are a few tools or resources. So what are the few that youcan mean? I I just would encourage people to sort of understand there isa ton of software. There are different organizations that are out there that canhelp you run your job descriptions through, that can help you get your biasesout of your hiring process and you know, typically I don't love to like singleout any particular technology, but the type of technology that we're looking foris technology that takes the buyas out of the job descriptions and and I wouldstrongly encourage I mean it's something that I do and I invest in, andI did it even very early on in our life cycle as a company,is I hired somebody to coach me on how to get this right that knowswhat they're doing and we work with an organization that does inclusive design femininity allthe time for everything that we do, from hiring to our bias training toour event production to make short to a designing our parental policy, which isa sixmonth paid leave. So you want to attract, you know, womenthink of strategies like that. How can you act? You know, doyou have a chest feeding room available that has a fridge in a private areato chest feed so that when people come...

...back? You know, all thesekinds of it is weaving together a thoughtful strategy with all the pieces. Itis not simply changing only your job descriptions, and it might require in some caseswaiting, waiting, like I had to wait to hire one of myroles. I in in the end ended up using someone on a consulting basis. Harder to do with the sales team, but you know when you can't doit for every role. But really giving yourself the time and pushing onthe recruiters to go back and and actually another another tactic that I learned throughmy my process of being educated, was you have to actively reach out toand build trust with communities that you may not be used to hiring from ifyou want to actually attract people from those communities. So posting, for example, on the black executive networks job board actively versus just putting it on Linkedin, because why would somebody who's a member of the black professionals network think youactually want to hire a person of color unless you are actively reaching out anddemonstrating your interest and commitment and a willingness to take the time to, youknow, interview and meet those folks. So I think what I've learned isit's not an easy solution. It's extremely nuanced and being going into the mindsetthen means committing to investing time, energy, money resource to really thoughtfully design thehiring process, from job description all the way to interview slates and panelsto perhaps the amount of time and where you post the jobs and which recruitedyou use to get you to the result that you would be looking for andthen, by the way, really being committed if you if you have alargely homo homogeneous team and then you bring someone onto the team that looks differentor has a different lived experience, it will even then take quite a bitof time to build trust with that human and have that person then become sortof a champion and and ally to other people who might bring additional diverse perspectives, because they actually believe you that that they want, that they are wantedon the team. That is a process that takes a lot of time.It is not something that I've seen talked about as much as it should beand what it takes to to really build authentic trust. So who's doing wedon't have to call IT companies if you don't want to, but I'd loveto know what is what is great look like like? What is a reallygood diversity and inclusion strategy? Tactics, if you want to call it?Specific examples great, but what is great look like? You know, forme, and I talked about it quite a lot, I see sales foras a North Star, I think in the reason why I say that,and certainly you know, there's lots of partners that we work with at movethe dial who I think are getting doing a really good job of this aswell, who have extremely diverse teams meaningfully, you know, in increasing the relevanceof their product. But I'll talk about sales for us because I thinkfor me, what they did is set a very bold vision quite some timeago now around what equality means and they equality as a core value, butalso putting their money where their mouths are. So, Mark Manny off, theCEO, you know, it was brought to his attention several number ofyears ago that there was a pay equity problem and you know, he didn'twant to believe it. Of course, who would? He's a very purposedriven person. But when he went into it and he dug through the thedifferent Geo's and the different world descriptions, he saw it and they he,you know, tone from the top, made a commitment to invest in fixingit. Not like over ten years, not it just in like a littleannual report. He was like no, we're fixing this now, and itcost millions of dollars. And then he's right of the ship many times because, you it's not like a one hit wonder. Did he fixed it byjust like bumping the salaries of wow right away. Three million over Nice,yes, over night, and and got it done. And then he's hadto do it a couple times because every time they have an acquisition or youknow time, the creepy creeps back in. So for me, you know,and they do a lot of other incredible work and they have a veryfulsome equality team led by Tony Prophet, who I believe really walks the walk. It's a nuance strategy. There's lots of pieces to it, but forme I use that example as an north star because it really was about aself awareness that there was a problem, a willingness to fix it and whatI call, you know, going all in. And all in doesn't meanjust we talk about it and we have some good intentions, but we're notprepared to invest in it. All in means we fix it, we invest, we measure, we fix it again, we spend money. This is importantas a strategic business priority and as a core value to us as abusiness. So, you know, another example when you look, as youknow, all the different organizations that we work with who are investing in thiswork, and even particularly those who know they don't have it right and they'renot at the end of what perfect looks like, but they say like,we are in with you, we want to learn together with the community,we want to fuel this work. It's really important. You know, TD'sgreat example. They believed in our vision, they invested in it tremendously to makeit happen. And it's not to say that they think that they're evenat the end of what, you know,...

...great looks like, but they arereally working hard at it and going all in with humans and dollars andmeasurement and reflection to work very hard to get it right, and you cansee it now in their technology organization how much more the women identified people feelthey belong, feel that they're valued and want to stay and grow at thebank. It's it's really interesting to observe that. It's interesting to see bigcompanies like that kind of bring you along for their journey. Yeah, soI was just on the CIBC website and saw some of the work that thecommitments that Victor don't it made really early on in his tenure CEO, anda stat that I found. They've done a ton of work, kind ofamazing work. But what I found was really interesting was they have ninety twopercent of our staff believe that we have an inclusive culture, and I thoughtthat's interesting because you'd want like you'd want to publish a stat that was likeacross the board, everybody believes that we have it, but I think byshowing that, I mean eight percent of a company that's really big, isa lot of people that actually still don't believe it, but then publicly puttingthat out there that like we're not there yet, but here's where we're atis really cool. I love that. I think the transparency is critical andI think there are another great example. I mean victor. I talked abouthim in the book as well as a leader that I deeply admire, becausevictor really made a very meaningful commitment. Not only you know, I meanI think now they've evolved their inclusion strategy to really be very fulsome and Ithink that's part of the journey of humans and companies is that we always evolveour strategies. But a few years ago, you know, when gender diversity wasas a focus, still really requiring, you know, extreme attention. Imean it still does, it probably will for a long time, butvictor really went all in on that and he, you know, by hisinvolvement with catalyst and on the board and other organizations and being such a strongmale champion and ally of gender diversity. I really think move the dial incorporate Canada actually, by way of example, and for me that was incredibly inspiringand CIBC was one of, if not the first, organization who believedin my work, who funded it. You know, they just nominated mefor the w cent award. They brought me, with my family to thelike they really mean it when they say it, and I think that comesfrom his ethos, as well as the team around and beside him that reallyhave manifested the there as well. And you know, I think there's others. You look at BEMO, you know they're investing three billion dollars in womenentrepreneurs like that is a massive statement. Like similarly, and one of thethings I deeply admire about how they think about it in all these financial organizationsis that they're working together as an ecosystem. I think that's a really critical point, is that, you know, sort of say, how do weget this right? This is for all of us, because in order toactually build and more you know, include equitable and inclusive future, specifically inthe innovation and technology space, it really does take all of us and thoseorganizations that recognize it's less about our individual brands or individual talent strategies, whichare important or in bottom lines, it is also about society and what weall have that the power to do when we all work together. I wantto switch gears from corporate to let's call it education and schools. So isthere anything, if you done any work with or noticed anything that you thinkschools could be doing better on the DNI front? So one when you askthat question, which is a really fantastic question, what immediately comes to mindfor me is how important it is to inspire curiosity in a very democratic,democratized way, starting when our kids are very young. And I think oneof the things that's happening right now is that our public education system and ourprivate education system are so disparate and the the experience and exposure that kids arehaving to stem and entrepreneurial sort of skills and mindset are so disparate that we'renot doing our youth of and our future leaders a service. So for me, you know that I think we have a massive opportunity to really start whenwe think at the how our schools are funded and what our approach is toensuring that young children and as they're going out through the school system, haveaccess to not only stem programming and learning how to code, but also beingtaught the skills that we require for our future. That is really about beingable to have curiosity, solve the world's big problems and be able to sortof become, you know, have an entrepreneurial spirit, if not breed onlyentrepreneurs and I you know, for me that is the the something that I'mthinking deeply about and and what move the dout will be working towards in twothousand and twenty, delivering programming that will augment and enable much more democratized accessto that sort of role, modeling and and exposure. I think about Imean a lot of the things that you talked about for tech are also applicableor could be applicable to schools. Think about the way that you attract candidates, profile candidates, interview candidates, the way that you reward, incentivize orcall out, call in behaviors that are...

...acceptable or not in programs. Absolutely. I mean I don't know enough about sort of the current admissions process,for example, at IV, to even know how you approach it, andI'm sure there's been a ton of thought and care given to it. Idefinitely think, you know, all of us as schools can be on thatjourney to learn how to we bring people in to enable true diversity of thoughtin our classrooms as much as we wanted our companies. So I want toyour book. I devoured it. You can see all the dog eared pagesand you know some scribbles. I thought it was great. Is it?Is it available? So it will be soon. Okay, you can signup on my website, jody covitzcom, to be notified right when it's outand if you want to add tag, move the dial and follow jody coFitz on Instagram. I'll be I'll be happy to be giving the three peoplethat do that a copy of the book. So go ahead and and follow usand and, let us know, go out of it with Hashtag.Go Out of your way and they'll be three winners that I will send thebook to in a little giveaway. But it is currently in production for amass market and we'll be out soon. Great. I think we will bebetter off to get it out there far and wide. So that's great.A few things that came out of it for me. So one I wantto say there was a particular part where that talks about sort of meeting peoplewhere they are, and sometimes I think we can be I'm not going togeneralize it me I can be afraid. I'll be afraid to say something orspeak up about something for fear of seeing the wrong thing, and I thinkyou're one of your call oats in the book was to meet people where theyare and not not be super judgmental or come down too hard if someone saysthe wrong thing. I thought that was really interesting. Thank you. Ihave to give credit to many pioneers in the in this diversity and inclusion andequity space. There's a many people who came away before me who talked aboutthis philosophy of calling in versus calling out. I really believe in that philosophy.So credit to those that have been doing that work for quite some timeand I really affirmed that approach and my own lived experience is that that approachcan be so much more effective in enabling us all to feel like we canbe part of solving the problem. If we if we, you know,are too quick to judge, attack shame, it's very easy to lose people.and not everybody agrees with this and I'm very respectful that. There isa really important role for calling people out, and I particularly for Hute people whohave been, you know, at this work for a very long timeand or have experienced significant amounts of discrimination over the course of their lives.They those humans might feel very differently given their own journeys, and I deeplyrespect that and I'm learning to understand it. I've just noticed in terms of myown approach to building a movement where we really need all people, evenif they're not as far along on the inclusion journey as I might be nowafter doing this for a few work and others might be ahead of me who'vebeen at this a long time and or might have PhDs in this work.There's still a place for people who are interested and curious about learning and Iinvite all of those people to come in and to join us and meet meetthem where they are to the best of our ability. That's great. Solast one before we wrap up here. So you've been at moved it outfor how long now since you start? Let's cut while before you formally startedit, but like actually made the leap to do it full time. Howmany years? January, two thousand and eighteen sothing about nineteen months or moneyments? Yeah, so twenty seven. Yeah, you're when months, almost two years, almost two years to years. How has your thinking changed over thelast two years from where you were at two years ago to where you're attoday? If it all wow, so many parts of my thinking of changedin what area in terms of sort of as an entrepreneur or like in myoverall inclusion work, or let's go full circle back to an entrepreneur. Okay, so you know now that I've sort of started to build a thing thatI had a vision around. I have such a deep appreciation for and respecteven deeper. I mean I always did in my head, but it wasn'tsort of I couldn't feel it in my body before I had done it.For entrepreneurs that have built things, small things, big things, but particularlythose who have built really big things. When your goal is to build areally big global thing and then you look at people who have done it,it is not for the faint of heart and it requires an immense amount offocus, grit, momentum, positivity, wells and wells and wells of courage, and it's really the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Sowhen I look at you know, I saw that you have shootdog on yourbookshelf, like I love that book. I admire so much what you know, people who have built companies that's big as Nike, or you look atDisney and what that is as a brand,...

...you know, or spin master.I was, you know, fortunate to host an event. It's beenmaster a few weeks ago and you look at Earth, body coming out ofIvy to, you know, multibillion dollar global company. I have such adeep appreciation and respect for entrepreneurs, but I also know that, you know, it is possible if you are fueled by passion, if you are buildinga thing, not just because there's a market opportunity, because for me,that is one of the greatest lessons I've learned. If move the dial wasjust there's a need and an opportunity in the market to build a global movementaround tech, because we need that. We would never be where we aretoday. You have to really care about what you are building, because it'sjust too hard not to, you know. So it has taken being fueled bypassion. It has taken really, you know, being able to translatethe dream to a very executable plan that is just a bit further than attainable, you know, and not audacious enough to reach for it. But alsoit takes dogged execution and that that is extremely difficult but attainable. That issort of what I have learned. Sort of reflecting two years in. Inever, you know, I could never have imagined building a thing that's gottenthis big this fast. At the same time, you know we did it, I did it, and the team around me, you know, that'sthe last piece. I was say, your team is everything. This wouldnone of this would exist without the people that have believed in me and thevision and mostly the team that's on the ground, behind the scenes that don'tget the glory of celebrating. You know how impressive it is that we've donethis. It's really been because of them and because of an intense focus onthe leadership of them that has enabled this to happen. Yeah, well,as someone who has been partially not as big as these global organizations, butas someone who's knows what it is to build a company, you're doing amazingwork. Thank it's amazing to see the work the in for eighteen month likethat's not a long you know, two years is not a long time tocome as far as you have. So to accomplish everything that you and yourteam have in such a frankly, a short time is is amazing. It'sa very admirable. You've done an awesome job. Thank you. Yeah,I appreciate that. Is there anything? We've got a big listenership now soa lot of people are listening on these podcasts. Is there anything that thisthe IV community or the listeners can do for move the dollar for you?Well, thank you. I appreciate that question and that's so thoughtful. We'lljoin us. I mean, first of all, sign up at move theDOLLCOM to be part of the movement. We have tons of exciting programming comingout. We do lots of highly curated events from something we called dial movingdinners where we gather people to really help them around the spirit of generosity tohelp one another. We do very large scale events that people can sponsor,attend participate as speakers. We have tons of steam speakers in the Ivy community. So if you have a great story to share, we have a storiesplatform that's global storytelling. So doesn't matter where you are in the world,we sure be back in Japan and London this year and across the US.Share you know. Reach out to me just to remove the DILLCOM and youcan connect with us in order to to join us, and I just reallyencourage you. Outside of move the dial itself as an organization, and ofcourse we welcome sponsorship and community members, but outside of move the doubt self. My key message is we all have a role to play in order toensure that the future reflects the population, and it really does come down tovery tiny actions that each of us can do. So ask yourself, ifyou're listening today, the question of what can I do tomorrow and or oncea week to move the dial for someone else? And what that means isto literally go out of my way to create a small opportunity, to invitesomeone to a meeting, offer someone some advice and coaching, create an emailintroduction that might be transformative for that person, use a little relationship capital. Sometimesit's two minutes, but it's that choice to act, because the dolldoesn't just move. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you coming in and makingthe time and thank you for spending a little bit of time and sharing someof what you've done with us. We appreciate it my pleasure. Thanks forhaving me. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure thatyou never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast playeror visit IV dot se a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much forlistening. Until next time,.

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