by Gwyn Chapman
Jodi Kovitz’s leadership, vision and intentional actions is the answer to fulfilling Canada’s promise to all its citizens; to give all people from all races, backgrounds and experiences, an opportunity to have a seat at the table, to be a part of realising the full potential of this nation and its people.
This approachable, unassuming, relentless advocate for equality, humanity, women, and inclusion of those who are most ignored, took a chance and went against the status quo. She followed her passion to empower and bring people together to work for the greater good. As a result the Move the Dial Movement was born. Kovitz is a former lawyer, now founder and CEO of #movethedial, a global movement to advance the participation and leadership of women in tech and business, author and mother, understood that good intentions do not create change. Change comes from serious, focused, informed, targeted and intentional strategic action.
Move The Dial Global Summit which took place in Toronto’s, Roy Thompson Hall November, 2019 was beyond spectacular. It was clear that whoever produced the event, had a deliberate intention of including people of racial, religious, educational socio-economic backgrounds and experiences. Evident was the extraordinary inclusion of African Canadians who participated as Summit Partners, Global and local panelist, speakers, and workshop facilitators. This year, a special technology session specifically for over 100 black youth which was very well received by those who attended.
Q: What did it take to realize this dream?
Jodi Kovitz: The efforts were many over the last few years. I don’t think it was just about the one summit. I’ve learnt that building trust and building bridges take time. It involved many decisions, and actions that our team had taken along the way with lots of feedback and insights. Many different types of community members enabled us over time, to build a community that would bring and involved their community because the trust had been built. We built community partnerships with over 30 organisations that proactively go into their own networks and having those individuals speak at our other events like the, over 50 events this year, our Listening Campaign etc.
Q: How you feel about the challenges that black youth face and how do you see yourself assisting in these areas?
JK: I’m only at the beginning of trying to understand the challenges of black marginalised youth. I have to do a lot of listening before I can really understand what their challenges would be. That’s the reason why I brought Lucy Nyarwai from City of Toronto to bring them in and because I believe in the power of role modelling. It’s important for people to see, speak to, touch, to get access to people that look like them. We worked to find meaningful ways to make them feel like they belong. That is step one in the journey to try to understand, and help to activate our community to be more helpful in the future.
Q: What’s next for the organization?
JK: We have massive extension plans globally, to continue to build out youth programming and super impactful programs to meet the demands arising from the community. You’d have to watch out for our strategy for 2020. We will be listening very well to the community to make sure that we can to meet their needs.
Jodi Kovitz is giving new meaning to what impactful leadership in 2020 ought to emulate, if we as a Canadian family desire to produce confident, respectful, and powerful citizens who will take this country to new heights in business and technology. Her commitment to creating space for all to be seen, heard, to participate and contribute to innovate and develop, to build and be a part of this incredible journey in giving citizens of Canada is exemplary and unmatched.
With 2020 around the corner, this is a perfect moment, for all those in leadership to “catch and learn” from her work. This little girl, with a big dream of living a life of purpose, continues to inspire, excite, and empower, many women, and girls across the globe to let them shine in a bold, powerful way.
Kovitz, author of “GO OUT OF YOUR WAY” is an example of how one small act of courage with vision, one simple dream can make a considerable impact, change lives, and Move the Dial, in the way we live and do business.