The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 2 years 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 podcast from 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, will anchor the session. Jody Covitz, thank you so much for coming to hang out and so excited to be here with you. I appreciate you making the time. I know you've got incredible demands on your time, but I'm really appreciate you making the trip in from Toronto. Thank you well, joyful and Ivy being my Alma Mater, it's really actually very meaningful for me to be back 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 big things I wanted to cover today, but the first one is a little bit of your backstory and then getting into how did you actually make the leap to 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 I was sixteen years old and the vision was to create beautiful art that would be greeting cards and I am passionate about art and I love to use my hands and I really wanted to come up with something that filled what I saw as a 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 the idea came to me. So I was very lucky. My parents were very supportive of my curiosities and my mother, you know, she let me down to the Japanese paper store and took me to all these wholesalers so I could buy all the different pieces. And between sixteen and when I started my undergraduate degree at Western, and I actually started at here on before I came to Ivy, you know, I sold the store that sold the cards around campus and 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 talk about my approach to building relationships. But for me, the significance of handheld cars and even being here at ivy today, I believe that that entrepreneurial story of having a vision, dreaming a little dream. It was a very small, sort of very specific product that I created, but then actualizing it and being able to have speak to the experience of growing the company. I had people 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 that story of growing the revenue and building those clients and that and those revenue revenues over time to get into ivy and that that I think that the entrepreneurial spirit that I had is what enabled me to distinguish my application. So that was joyful. 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'm not going to deliver seer's cattle dogs, I'm going to actually do something on my own. Like who started this thing? Who nudged you? Came from me to start something on my own. And I also I did have a job 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 that experience. 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 was if I create my own thing that I'm really passionate about, maybe I can make money as opposed to having to like clock in and clock out and have a 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 even the fact that I would think about it came very much from how I was raised. 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. We have all went to ivy for our undergraduate degrees, was to be curious and encouraged our curiosity and to pursue many different passions and enabled and support it that. So you know, for example, I played several musical instruments and my sister played hockey and my brother, you know, also was into music. You know, from music to to art and you know all these different things that and I think that mindset of you can do anything you put your mind to is part of what enabled me to even have an entrepreneurial mindset of the first place. We're going deep within the first few minutes, but I have 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 do that with with her as well? I other things that you do where you're like maybe, maybe, try this out? Are you trying to direct her? How do how do you encourage her? It's a great a great question, and I'm very mindful actually and intentional in my parenting, and I you 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 lot of my journey where, you know, she was quite ill and I almost lost 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 and what I role model for her. So...

I feel very grateful actually that that happened. But because of that and sort of the intentionality I bring to how I try to parent her, I spend up a lot of time listening to her and when I hear a curiosity in her. I really do try very hard to lean into that curiosity and to show up and enable her to pursue it herself. However, I can so give an example. She loves to cook. She's just always been interested in baking and she started to watch cooking shows on Netflix and and I said to her, would you like to take a cooking lesson and she said yes, I would and as a matter of fact, you know, last night I ate pad tie that she made. That was like delicious, probably the best time pad I've ever had. But she's been having private cooking lessons and it's not to say that that's easy for me to do. Their expensive, but you know, I'm choosing to allocate resources 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 she will, but watching her sort of be curious and interested and passionate and understand that if she invests time, energy, commitment and grit to it, she can 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 different activities and I think that meaningfully impacted my my confidence in believing that I could build a company. And so that is how I'm sort of enabling her entrepreneurial spirit. 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 cooking for me. So yeah, and it's something to look forward to. It's great and if they're good at it and you get them lessons, it's away really happy. Secondly, there's this phrase that comes to mind, like pulling the thread, and it seems like you, if you're listening, you can spot something early in them and say, oh, that seems like there's some interest in that thing. Let's pull the thread and supported and see if we can help nurturate a little bit. So That's interesting. Absolutely and and you know, understanding that just because they're little humans doesn't mean that they don't have a very strong point of view of who they are. Another example you know we had we just had our summit move the dial all of the company I now own and founded, which I'll get into later, hosted a summit for Twenty eight hundred people this year. That was, you know, recently last year she spoke at our first summit on the stage about sick kids and her experience there. And this year she said, mum, can I speak and her choir was actually performing as part of the art sort of immersive experience and I 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 to force her to do those things. And I said, well, you're not on the agenda. You're going to sing with your question. said, I really want to speak. It's really important to me. So I had a choice in that moment, you know, sort of be firm on the programming and sort of, you know, not listen to her or listen to her curiosity 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 when she 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 they don't we don't talk about their gender anymore in the future, and that she wanted 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 and prepared for it, and that was as a result of a listening to what she wanted to do. But be just the Osmosis of role modeling and what I'm doing, even though in moments where it's difficult and takes me away from her, which is as a parent. I'm sure you've had those moments as well, is sometimes difficult understanding the impact of role modeling for our kids and being true to who you are so that they can, you know, find bits of that that resonate for them and follow, you know, follow their own their own path. So, anyway, that's my answer. I'm parenting and I see, I see parallels between that and teaching, you know, like I still knew ish coming back to teach it IV, but I definitely see parallels. Like I'll see, you'll see threads that you might be interested in. A student, student says something about never thought about being an entrepreneur, but this class kind of, you know, open my mind a little bit 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 you mean? What was interesting about it? What? What could you do next that might actually feel that fire a little bit. So I think there's interesting parallels between parenting and and teacher. Yeah, sure. So, despite the fact that you were entrepreneur at sixteen and you're entreprene now, there were there was a piece in the middle where you you didn't start your own thing right to the school. So what did you do after you graduated? I summered at the Boston Consulting Group and I did the thing that many ivy students do. It's like I chose a path. It was the consulting path. I was super proud of myself that I got the job. There were six of us that got that summer role. Think I was the only woman identified person. And then when I got there, you know, I hated it. Sorry, but that's true. And it was, you know, the firm 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 all have things that I think skills that we can develop. Certainly in my time at Ivy. I sharpened my analysis, you know modeling sister skills, which was never suit sort of my strong point growing out. I wasn't sort of I 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 a square into a circle for me to do that and I had an incur was so fortunate that an incredible mentor. Her name was Mary Ellen Murray and she was a very strong, inspiring human who in fact was going through breast cancer treatment at the time and would come to work completely bald, not even wearing a wig, and just proud of herself, and that was a really important role model experience for me to see what it was to sort of be confident. And she took an interest in me and she saw that during the day 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 at Ivy, which we can talk about later, but I built this investment challenge and she saw that I was so passionate about the entrepreneurial little venture, which was 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 be successful at BCG for many, many years before I would ever get to be doing selling or anything entrepreneurial. And she took me out for lunch, I'll never forget it, to a restaurant called canoe that overlooked Toronto, and she looked at me and she said, you need to follow your heart and you need to be, you know, listening to where your passion lays. And I wish I had. And if I had done that then I may never have I've ended up with breast cancer. So I can't watch you conform yourself just to do what you should do, quote unquote, because you're at IV or because you got the opportunity. I really encourage you to think much more out of the box for yourself your you really have an entrepreneurial spirit and you need to Nurish, nurture it. So I listened to her and I went to I just spent my last semester at Ivy and Milan on exchange at PA cony, 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 derive a 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 you wouldn't know if you haven't lived there, and I had to learn Italian and figure it out and that. So that was huge part of my life. But then, you know, when I graduated from IV, I came back and I got a job at work brain, and work brain the CEO as a guy named David Asset. Of course you, I'm sure you're quite familiar with him, given that just seeing your partner, you know has worked there and has really driven the company becoming what it is today with him, and I 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 moment that I was leaving work brain because there was no women. I didn't know that then, twenty something years ago, but I did meet an awesome woman who I could relate to, who I'd been introduced to for the purpose of a mentorship relationship. Her name was pat is Pat Kreyefsky. She's still a close mentor today, and we were supposed to have coffee for her to maybe give me some entering. By the end she was offering me a job and I had said yes on the spot. You know, walking away from all my pre IPO equity, which other time I didn't know, is quite foolish. But you know, I in my heart, I now know that it'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 to me and taught me a lot, and I still deeply cherish my relationship with David and others that I worked with that work brain, I needed to be learning from someone ultimately that I could see myself in. So I worked at Scotia Bank then for a couple of years in succession planning for the sea sweet team down to director. It was a very small job on a highly strategic team. So I actually was doing data entry, really data entry, for all the succession plans and leadership development plans. But I loved it because, as we were talking just before we started the podcast, I'm a voracious consumer of best, best in class leaders perspectives, different leadership competencies. I read all kinds of books on this and it was like doing a little, you know, 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 do further education and I didn't really add that time see the the necessity to come back to ivy and do a one year MBA. A lot of my friends did. I'm sure I would have gotten a lot out of it, but I thought I could get a lot out of going to law school and learning how to think critically and then I could...

...always hang a shingle as a lawyer if I ever needed to. My mother had been divorced when I was quite little and I always wanted to be able to be financially independent. So I went to law school never thinking I would practice. I thought it was a good 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 the top place in the class, and it was natural for me therefore to go back into business or go into business law. But I fell in love with family law. Don't ask me, and I'm you know, I thought it was interesting intellectually the law was changing. I was fascinated by assisted reproduction and sort of the law that was changing in that area. And I also the law entrepreneurial spirit and me sort of thought, well, if I'm going to practice and hang a shingle or like practice in a larger law firm, I can 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 I chose 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 articled and worked there, because I went to ask for two thousand dollars to support my business development plan and of course I wanted to take their like. We have never seen a first year associates ever happen audacity to do this, but we 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 in you. But they were very supportive and enabled me in the particularly the senior lawyer that took a bet on me, as names Lauren Wolfson. I'll be forever 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 excellence in 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 and literally 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 so that 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 the client on what I was trying to attain, how to be thoughtful around composing, you know, and an argument, which you know now that I spend a lot of my time selling a vision. You know, it's been extremely helpful. So I did that for six years. What happened was, and I did build quite in a creative practice. What happened, though, is my daughter got extremely sick. I spent two years in and out of sick kids with her. I realized, is in one of those moments, that I actually had lost myself while I was becoming a lawyer. So I had always done community work, I had always worked out my entire life. It was very important to me physical fitness, develop personal development, friends, family, and all of a sudden I was just a lawyer and a mom who would run home, put my kid to bed, run back to the office, worked till two in the morning. Like I really was a bit of a mess and in that moment with Lily, you know, had this big wake up call where I was like, Oh, I could lose the only thing that matters to me. I do not like how I'm showing up in the world and not you know, my ex husband is a wonderful human and he's a wonderful father and the relationship wasn't the right relationship. Notice that had to change, and all the things at the same time, and so that moment is sort of what I would call the precursor to building a life of passion and purpose that I'm currently living. Wow, there's a there's a lot of fill in the blank right, like from from graduation to and like knowing that you were entrepreneurial, to finally making the full committed leap. And I feel, having read your book and knowing about the story, I think actually making that full committed leap is part of what has made move the dial so successful today. But it took you all of those lived experiences to get to the point where you were like, yes, I'm going to fully commit and jump in move the dial fully, a hundred percent. And and you know, it was stitched together over many years of those lived experiences. Once I decided to leave the practice of law, I realized I needed to transition, and this is, you know, I share this from the perspective that if somebody's listening that wants to leave a discipline and move to another discipline, what I learned is you don't have to put so much pressure on yourself to make the the perfect move. Initially I went to Oh sir for five years that were a great gift to me, gift in the relationships, gift in what I 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't necessarily my career, but it was a really important transition for me and a really important, you know, on the job education experience, without which I don't think I would be where I am.

But I sometimes, when I'm coaching people, and I'm sure you've had this experience, to people put so much pressure on themselves if they want to leave a particular discipline like eyebanking or consulting or you know, whatever it is law, to get the next move correct. It's actually it's not a linear journey. And so when I was at Osler and I did do strategic business development for five years and I moved up and you know, they recognized my potential and kept, you know, investing in me and supporting me. I took an IVY executive course actually that transformed my life, with a teacher named Dennis shackle yeah, and he really saw me. And so this comes to the next point you're asking me around how you, you know, make that full go, all in or that full leap. Having people that see you and help you see yourself and believe in yourself along the way is absolutely critical. And at each moment where I've leaned into the pursuit of the next goal, it's always been as a result of somebody seeing me. I mean even colleen were head, who saw me at 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 and I believe in you and I will invest in you, and I and she did. She was hard on me in the most positive way and she pushed me, pushed me, push me beyond my comfort zone. And then when I met Dennis and he saw me and you know, he invited us to do a speech in that course that he taught persuasion and influence. It literally was life changing for anybody listening take Dennis's class if he can, and he said, you know, you got to do a speech and it's should be like I have a dream like that big, and that is when I wrote my speech. Dream it, planet, go get it, which is a chapter in my book and much I'll talk about, you know, when I have the opportunity to talk to anyone who will listen about my story and the mindset of you know, anything that you can dream you can do, and I gave examples and they'll never forget. You know, the class gave me a standing ovation when I did that talk and it was in that moment that I realized, wow, I want to have this impact on people, I want to speak, I want to share my vision and I want to build something, and I wrote it on a que card. He made a do that and influenced by him and inspired by him and giving myself the opportunity to invest in myself for those three days became the beginning of the journey that is now move the dial and and how it's manifested in my ethos, which is my book, and all the all the things that we're building. So wasn't I'm going off script, but grabbing or a covers made head. What made him? You said that he saw you. So what did he do? What did how did he make you feel? What did he say when you say that he saw you? So the first thing is that he made us do the disc analysis before we arrived and I remember being so annoyed that he was making has do that because I was busy. I was like the last work before day one. What is this? Yeah, I know, although I'm kind of nerdy like that and I typically do do homework before I've started. That in great ten. Very nerdy that way. But Anyway, I did it and when I walked in, I'll never forget, I was late because I had a very important presentation that I had been scheduled to deliver that morning of the first day and I just couldn't miss it and I had let him know in advance I would be late. So the class was going and I came in an hour late and he made a whole feel about me when I got in. This is jody. I think I was an eye and I was like the only I. I don't know. I think it was an eye. I have to check, just to be fair, exactly what it was, but whatever the mix of traits. He was like, I never see this, this is jody, she has these traits. Welcome Jodi, she's going to give us so much by being here. And I was kind of embarrassed that he was doing that at first, but as the course went on, I actually saw that he got to know each of the students and what their unique strengths were and he would invite each of us to participate very uniquely in a way that would be in our own superpower and in our own comfort zone, because he had done the personality test and had spent the time preparing and caring enough about each of us. And, you know, he called me out to give me opportunities. He you know, really pushed and inspired me when he saw that I was really enjoying the exercise around the speech 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 you know, I just I just felt like he really saw my potential and he said it to me and he signed the book that he gave me with a special message KRP D M, and I think he just I don't know what it was in him, but he saw something in me that I couldn't even yet see inside myself. And interestingly, one of the people that I met in that chorus, Chrisle Young. You know, we had a very special connection. were very different humans. He's a very analytical, thoughtful, methodical, gentle leader and he kept leading the group through all the exercises and his team 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 dial and he's on my leadership team and we've...

...recently reached out to Dennis to come do a leadership up, a whole team day for my team, basically persuasion and influence for move the dial, because he's had such a huge impact on my 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 back to things like that. Just reading your book. I want to get your perspective on, you know, how how we can do better or be better at 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 happen it's individuals helping individuals. So I want to call that out because it sounds like 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 your own words. What is move the dial? What are you up to? So move the dial is a global movement and organization working to advance the participation and leadership of all women in Tech. People often say, you know, why? Why? Tech? There's so, you know, so many different industries that 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 seeing that then and then I came back to tech twenty years later. So I was 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 text base called. It was then called Acetech Ontario, now called peer scale, sort of like YPO for Textios. Your listeners will probably be more familiar with HYPO. It's basically a peer to peer networking group for CEOS of software as a 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 share my vision with a hundred thirty leaders and they were all men except for for and I was overwhelmed because I was surprised by this lack of diversity. And so, for me, the reason why we need to deal with and work together to actively close the gender gap in the industry is because everything is tech even here at Ivy, everything that you do is technology enable today. So whether you're delivering education services, financial services, calling a taxi, getting your food delivered, everything is tech enabled. And if we don't have all of the humans, including women, identified folks and all the different types of women with different lived experiences at our design, leadership and governance tables, we will end 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, in my 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 should have 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 by having women at our board room. Dealt like we're clear on that. I think 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 are building autonomous vehicles without all the perspectives at the design table, which means we will not value all lives the same when we build algorithms that teach those cars how 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 different kinds of humans need to be served. So that's my why. And it was just such a massive gender gap when I got back and I saw it in my new role and then kept seeing it, that I got inspired to create, you know, initially just a first event. It was really just let's have a conversation, but in a really positive way, which is my ethos. So let's just show awesome women that happened to be leaders and sort of put this on the table. And that was in two thousand and seventeen and that little event, you know, given where we were at as a society and the hunger for it in the market at that point, has now turned 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 to see it grow from the sidelines. So congrats to the I know it's early in the journey, still just getting started, just getting started. So I hear you. And I was one of the leaders in a technology company that probably, unknowingly, until someone called it out, realize that I didn't have a diverse team. So, you know, I'm competing for talent in a really competitive market. I need to hire quickly. I have an all say I have an all guy team today. Where do people even start? You know, I can't afford a chief diversity officer. I know this is important, but where do I start? So I think for me it really starts with mindset. You have to step into the mindset of it really matters to ensure that we have diversity of lived experiences and perspective and thought on our team because we're going to do a better...

...job and have a better product as a result. Even even on an even and especially on a sales team, particularly, as you know, building teams that reflect the population becomes increasingly important to your clients. If you're outselling with an all male, all white sales team when that is not reflect the reality of your clients, that is not going to bode well in terms of your opportunity. So for me, it starts 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 a sale, you know a recruiting effort that will a attract different types of candidates be will be intentional, understanding all sorts of issues, from how the job description is written to who is on the panels, whether we have been biased trained in terms of preparing for interviews and how to approach interviews, and what is the process? Where are you looking for your candidates? And even if you'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 you know, I really understand the lived experience. I've lived it, the need to hire fast and how that, especially in a scaling technology company, can really 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 you end up with an extremely monogamous group, it's very hard to entice or attract anyone who wants to be part of that group. As an only and I certainly, as a white person of many privileges, don't understand that. It's lived experience. But I have, you know, and I have done a lot of listening so that I can start to understand from others who are teaching me, that when a team looks all the same, it's very hard for somebody who looks different or has a different lived experience to want to join the team because they're not sure if they'll be valued on the team or feel that they belong. So you know, there is a very comprehensive list of tactics that any leader who's looking to intend inntionally mindfully build a much more diverse team can use. But I would suggest that it really starts with mindset, understanding what 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, I always will be. And you know, the best thing you can do is work with an expert who does know how to do it to help you develop a 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 ultimately procure a much more inclusive hiring process that will result in a much more robust team that reflects the population. You go through a great example in your book that 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'd say, well, look at my candidate pool, like how can I have only I've got a hundred applicainst two of them are female. Of course I'm going to interview them both, but like they're just not applying, and I think you you calling calling it out in the book. I actually this morning ran through one of the old job applications that I or job descriptions that I wrote up, and ran it through one of the EXTA tools available online and it, you know, the bolded headline rate of the top heavily masculine. You know, I was using star. Yeah, I was using all of the terms that the articles call out. So that's one tool that I found I didn't even know existed. It's a great one. Are there other mindset being one of the things, folks. On the next one, you said there are a few tools or resources. So what are the few that you can mean? I I just would encourage people to sort of understand there is a ton of software. There are different organizations that are out there that can help you run your job descriptions through, that can help you get your biases out of your hiring process and you know, typically I don't love to like single out any particular technology, but the type of technology that we're looking for is technology that takes the buyas out of the job descriptions and and I would strongly encourage I mean it's something that I do and I invest in, and I 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 knows what they're doing and we work with an organization that does inclusive design femininity all the time for everything that we do, from hiring to our bias training to our event production to make short to a designing our parental policy, which is a sixmonth paid leave. So you want to attract, you know, women think of strategies like that. How can you act? You know, do you have a chest feeding room available that has a fridge in a private area to chest feed so that when people come...

...back? You know, all these kinds of it is weaving together a thoughtful strategy with all the pieces. It is not simply changing only your job descriptions, and it might require in some cases waiting, waiting, like I had to wait to hire one of my roles. 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 do it for every role. But really giving yourself the time and pushing on the recruiters to go back and and actually another another tactic that I learned through my my process of being educated, was you have to actively reach out to and build trust with communities that you may not be used to hiring from if you 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 you actually want to hire a person of color unless you are actively reaching out and demonstrating your interest and commitment and a willingness to take the time to, you know, interview and meet those folks. So I think what I've learned is it's not an easy solution. It's extremely nuanced and being going into the mindset then means committing to investing time, energy, money resource to really thoughtfully design the hiring process, from job description all the way to interview slates and panels to perhaps the amount of time and where you post the jobs and which recruited you use to get you to the result that you would be looking for and then, by the way, really being committed if you if you have a largely homo homogeneous team and then you bring someone onto the team that looks different or has a different lived experience, it will even then take quite a bit of time to build trust with that human and have that person then become sort of 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 wanted on 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 be and what it takes to to really build authentic trust. So who's doing we don't have to call IT companies if you don't want to, but I'd love to know what is what is great look like like? What is a really good diversity and inclusion strategy? Tactics, if you want to call it? Specific examples great, but what is great look like? You know, for me, and I talked about it quite a lot, I see sales for as 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 move the dial who I think are getting doing a really good job of this as well, who have extremely diverse teams meaningfully, you know, in increasing the relevance of their product. But I'll talk about sales for us because I think for me, what they did is set a very bold vision quite some time ago now around what equality means and they equality as a core value, but also putting their money where their mouths are. So, Mark Manny off, the CEO, you know, it was brought to his attention several number of years ago that there was a pay equity problem and you know, he didn't want to believe it. Of course, who would? He's a very purpose driven person. But when he went into it and he dug through the the different 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 fixing it. Not like over ten years, not it just in like a little annual report. He was like no, we're fixing this now, and it cost 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 by just like bumping the salaries of wow right away. Three million over Nice, yes, over night, and and got it done. And then he's had to do it a couple times because every time they have an acquisition or you know time, the creepy creeps back in. So for me, you know, and they do a lot of other incredible work and they have a very fulsome 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 for me I use that example as an north star because it really was about a self awareness that there was a problem, a willingness to fix it and what I call, you know, going all in. And all in doesn't mean just we talk about it and we have some good intentions, but we're not prepared to invest in it. All in means we fix it, we invest, we measure, we fix it again, we spend money. This is important as a strategic business priority and as a core value to us as a business. So, you know, another example when you look, as you know, all the different organizations that we work with who are investing in this work, and even particularly those who know they don't have it right and they're not 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's great example. They believed in our vision, they invested in it tremendously to make it happen. And it's not to say that they think that they're even at the end of what, you know,...

...great looks like, but they are really working hard at it and going all in with humans and dollars and measurement and reflection to work very hard to get it right, and you can see it now in their technology organization how much more the women identified people feel they belong, feel that they're valued and want to stay and grow at the bank. It's it's really interesting to observe that. It's interesting to see big companies like that kind of bring you along for their journey. Yeah, so I was just on the CIBC website and saw some of the work that the commitments that Victor don't it made really early on in his tenure CEO, and a stat that I found. They've done a ton of work, kind of amazing work. But what I found was really interesting was they have ninety two percent of our staff believe that we have an inclusive culture, and I thought that's interesting because you'd want like you'd want to publish a stat that was like across the board, everybody believes that we have it, but I think by showing that, I mean eight percent of a company that's really big, is a lot of people that actually still don't believe it, but then publicly putting that out there that like we're not there yet, but here's where we're at is really cool. I love that. I think the transparency is critical and I think there are another great example. I mean victor. I talked about him in the book as well as a leader that I deeply admire, because victor really made a very meaningful commitment. Not only you know, I mean I think now they've evolved their inclusion strategy to really be very fulsome and I think that's part of the journey of humans and companies is that we always evolve our strategies. But a few years ago, you know, when gender diversity was as a focus, still really requiring, you know, extreme attention. I mean it still does, it probably will for a long time, but victor really went all in on that and he, you know, by his involvement with catalyst and on the board and other organizations and being such a strong male champion and ally of gender diversity. I really think move the dial in corporate Canada actually, by way of example, and for me that was incredibly inspiring and CIBC was one of, if not the first, organization who believed in my work, who funded it. You know, they just nominated me for the w cent award. They brought me, with my family to the like they really mean it when they say it, and I think that comes from his ethos, as well as the team around and beside him that really have 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 women entrepreneurs like that is a massive statement. Like similarly, and one of the things I deeply admire about how they think about it in all these financial organizations is 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 we get this right? This is for all of us, because in order to actually build and more you know, include equitable and inclusive future, specifically in the innovation and technology space, it really does take all of us and those organizations that recognize it's less about our individual brands or individual talent strategies, which are important or in bottom lines, it is also about society and what we all have that the power to do when we all work together. I want to switch gears from corporate to let's call it education and schools. So is there anything, if you done any work with or noticed anything that you think schools could be doing better on the DNI front? So one when you ask that question, which is a really fantastic question, what immediately comes to mind for 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 one of the things that's happening right now is that our public education system and our private education system are so disparate and the the experience and exposure that kids are having to stem and entrepreneurial sort of skills and mindset are so disparate that we're not 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 when we think at the how our schools are funded and what our approach is to ensuring that young children and as they're going out through the school system, have access to not only stem programming and learning how to code, but also being taught the skills that we require for our future. That is really about being able to have curiosity, solve the world's big problems and be able to sort of become, you know, have an entrepreneurial spirit, if not breed only entrepreneurs and I you know, for me that is the the something that I'm thinking deeply about and and what move the dout will be working towards in two thousand and twenty, delivering programming that will augment and enable much more democratized access to that sort of role, modeling and and exposure. I think about I mean a lot of the things that you talked about for tech are also applicable or could be applicable to schools. Think about the way that you attract candidates, profile candidates, interview candidates, the way that you reward, incentivize or call 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, and I'm sure there's been a ton of thought and care given to it. I definitely think, you know, all of us as schools can be on that journey to learn how to we bring people in to enable true diversity of thought in our classrooms as much as we wanted our companies. So I want to your book. I devoured it. You can see all the dog eared pages and you know some scribbles. I thought it was great. Is it? Is it available? So it will be soon. Okay, you can sign up on my website, jody covitzcom, to be notified right when it's out and if you want to add tag, move the dial and follow jody co Fitz on Instagram. I'll be I'll be happy to be giving the three people that do that a copy of the book. So go ahead and and follow us and 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 the book to in a little giveaway. But it is currently in production for a mass market and we'll be out soon. Great. I think we will be better 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 want to say there was a particular part where that talks about sort of meeting people where they are, and sometimes I think we can be I'm not going to generalize it me I can be afraid. I'll be afraid to say something or speak up about something for fear of seeing the wrong thing, and I think you're one of your call oats in the book was to meet people where they are and not not be super judgmental or come down too hard if someone says the wrong thing. I thought that was really interesting. Thank you. I have to give credit to many pioneers in the in this diversity and inclusion and equity space. There's a many people who came away before me who talked about this 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 time and I really affirmed that approach and my own lived experience is that that approach can be so much more effective in enabling us all to feel like we can be 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 is a really important role for calling people out, and I particularly for Hute people who have been, you know, at this work for a very long time and 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 deeply respect that and I'm learning to understand it. I've just noticed in terms of my own approach to building a movement where we really need all people, even if they're not as far along on the inclusion journey as I might be now after doing this for a few work and others might be ahead of me who've been 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 I invite all of those people to come in and to join us and meet meet them where they are to the best of our ability. That's great. So last one before we wrap up here. So you've been at moved it out for how long now since you start? Let's cut while before you formally started it, but like actually made the leap to do it full time. How many 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 the last two years from where you were at two years ago to where you're at today? If it all wow, so many parts of my thinking of changed in what area in terms of sort of as an entrepreneur or like in my overall 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 that I had a vision around. I have such a deep appreciation for and respect even deeper. I mean I always did in my head, but it wasn't sort 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 particularly those who have built really big things. When your goal is to build a really 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 of focus, grit, momentum, positivity, wells and wells and wells of courage, and it's really the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. So when I look at you know, I saw that you have shootdog on your bookshelf, 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 at Disney and what that is as a brand,...

...you know, or spin master. I was, you know, fortunate to host an event. It's been master a few weeks ago and you look at Earth, body coming out of Ivy to, you know, multibillion dollar global company. I have such a deep appreciation and respect for entrepreneurs, but I also know that, you know, it is possible if you are fueled by passion, if you are building a 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 was just there's a need and an opportunity in the market to build a global movement around tech, because we need that. We would never be where we are today. You have to really care about what you are building, because it's just too hard not to, you know. So it has taken being fueled by passion. It has taken really, you know, being able to translate the 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 also it takes dogged execution and that that is extremely difficult but attainable. That is sort of what I have learned. Sort of reflecting two years in. I never, you know, I could never have imagined building a thing that's gotten this big this fast. At the same time, you know we did it, I did it, and the team around me, you know, that's the last piece. I was say, your team is everything. This would none of this would exist without the people that have believed in me and the vision and mostly the team that's on the ground, behind the scenes that don't get the glory of celebrating. You know how impressive it is that we've done this. It's really been because of them and because of an intense focus on the leadership of them that has enabled this to happen. Yeah, well, as someone who has been partially not as big as these global organizations, but as someone who's knows what it is to build a company, you're doing amazing work. Thank it's amazing to see the work the in for eighteen month like that's not a long you know, two years is not a long time to come as far as you have. So to accomplish everything that you and your team have in such a frankly, a short time is is amazing. It's a very admirable. You've done an awesome job. Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate that. Is there anything? We've got a big listenership now so a lot of people are listening on these podcasts. Is there anything that this the 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'll join us. I mean, first of all, sign up at move the DOLLCOM to be part of the movement. We have tons of exciting programming coming out. We do lots of highly curated events from something we called dial moving dinners where we gather people to really help them around the spirit of generosity to help 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 stories platform 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 you can connect with us in order to to join us, and I just really encourage you. Outside of move the dial itself as an organization, and of course 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 to ensure that the future reflects the population, and it really does come down to very tiny actions that each of us can do. So ask yourself, if you're listening today, the question of what can I do tomorrow and or once a week to move the dial for someone else? And what that means is to literally go out of my way to create a small opportunity, to invite someone to a meeting, offer someone some advice and coaching, create an email introduction that might be transformative for that person, use a little relationship capital. Sometimes it's two minutes, but it's that choice to act, because the doll doesn't just move. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you coming in and making the time and thank you for spending a little bit of time and sharing some of what you've done with us. We appreciate it my pleasure. Thanks for having me. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV dot se a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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