A few years ago, Ellen had a meeting at Facebook Canada. There was a life size wall with the saying, ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Every visitor signed this wall during their visit. Ellen wrote, “I’m afraid, if I don’t go for my dreams, I will have regrets.”
Imagine if we all followed our dreams, went where our hearts told us to go without our brains stopping us in our tracks because of fear of failure.
Here are three guest who are doing just this. They are making their dreams happen, regardless of the obstacles facing them.
First up, meet Jodi Kovitz. Jodi is a powerhouse who was featured in Forbes Woman, recognized as one of Canada’s 25 Women of Influence, as well as many more accolades and titles. She is Chief Growth Officer at Vetster, a global telemedicine platform for pets. Before that, Jodi co-chaired the re-election campaign for Toronto’s Mayor, John Tory. Jodi is a connector, a problem solver and a relationship builder. She authored the book, “Go Out of Your Way” and ran a movement called, ‘Move the Dial’, which focussed on the growth of women in technology, impacting over 60,000 people at events throughout North America, the UK and Israel. She also sits on various boards including the Sick Kids Hospital Capital Campaign Cabinet and co-founded Tech4Sick Kids.
Jodi, began by sharing her philosophy, “Anything you can dream, you can do.” She then spoke about her vast career. Jodi built her first company at the mere age of sixteen, selling greeting cards to a local store. The first lesson she learned was how to build relationships. Her advice was to put yourself out there, connect soul to soul, and build meaningful relationships.
Then, when Jodi got into Business school, she created an investment challenge to raise money for the MS Society through an investment game. She believed in herself and tried.
Eventually, Jodi moved into the technology industry, and immediately noticed that she was among mostly white middle-aged men. Quickly, she learned that she wanted to work on building diversity within this industry. She accompanied John Tory on a trip to Israel, to focus on women in tech. She organized an event for one thousand people, with CEO’s of big companies, that eventually turned into an entire grass roots movement.
Ultimately, it was because she believed in herself, and it drove her passion for this mission – ‘Move the Dial’. A colleague further encouraged her with these words of wisdom, “What would you do if you think you could not fail?” Since then, Jodi has raised millions of dollars and impacted thousands of people, who believed that women belong in the tech industry. Through Move the Dial, she has promoted diversity, equity, and identity.
As an event-based business, the pandemic put a pause on her events and the company, but it also taught Jodi another invaluable lesson; that dreams can change as well. She learned about resilience. Although she had to lay off her entire team, she realized that dreams can be reinvented. Jodi is now busy with her next venture and summed up her talk with some great advice:
- Fear is a tool you can play with and learn how to shrink
- You don’t have to carry things
- Prioritize building beautiful relationships
- Failure is just an opportunity to learn and move forward
Next up was the 17-year-old singer songwriter from Toronto, AJA Neinstein, who is best known for her top 10 Billboard hit song, ‘Red Button’. We first met this tremendously talented artist when she was 8 years old. Since then, AJA has followed her dreams to become the celebrity she is today. She performed the inspiring song, ‘A Change is Going to Come’, by Sam Cooke and told us that, “If it’s something you really love, you shouldn’t let anything stop you.” Her latest release is a song called, ‘Love at First Sight’. Check it out on all music platforms.
Our next guest, Bayley Levy is also following her dreams and has found one of her main purposes is helping others. During COVID, this 23-year-old has worked to become a mental health advocate and activist. Bayley is currently working at Sunnybrook, while applying for medical school in hopes of fulfilling her own lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.
However, Bayley is already helping others and making a big impact through her Instagram account @itsbayleysworld, in which she shares her daily life struggles. Bayley bravely decided to share her own mental health story to help others feel heard and less alone and to find a community of support. She received such a positive response, that Bayley began a podcast called, Mental Health Unfiltered, where she chronicles her journey with Mental Health in greater detail.
Bayley finds joy in advocating for Mental Health through public speaking. She hopes to help fill the gaps in a system that she once fell through. Most recently, Bayley has begun a fundraising campaign to sell sweatshirts, to raise funds for the new Psychiatric Department at Sunnybrook. Her intention is to give back to a place that has helped her to overcome her own struggles. To date, Bayley has raised over $1700!
Bayley ended by sharing her mother’s sage advice when dealing with anxiety, “Stop looking at the whole staircase, just look at the step in front of you.”
We had final words from Kindness Corner and Lindsay @One2GiveTo. They are currently looking for bikes to donate, as they are putting together a bicycle registry list for families who are sponsoring Ukrainian refugees. Reach out to them if you have bikes to donate and help a community in need.
Thank you to all of our special guests for sharing their inspiring dreams and vision with us and encouraging us all to follow our own.