Episode 16 | Jodi Kovitz – One of 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada

Jodi Kovitz. I didn’t realize this at the time I invited Jodi to be a guest on this show, and I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have even tried to have her on the show if I did, but Jodi was named as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada this year because of her work with #MoveTheDial to increase the participation and leadership of women in technology out of Canada, and her success as the CEO of AceTechOntario. (Video)

In thirty brisk minutes between two meetings, we talked about how Jodi “is focused on how we change [women participation in technology] versus the how and what of how we got here at this moment.” At some level, what she says isn’t new:

Young girls can be what they see. What young and coming leaders need to see — are these role models.

But her medium of storytelling seems certainly to reduce the barriers to entry for women to find a community (link). She plans to collect 1 million stories within a year:

You don’t have to be an effective storyteller to share your stories… it’s really about courage.

Jodi talks about the 230% increase in female membership at AceTechOntario:

This is not only about the moral imperative, although there is one. This is also about the actual business results and ensuring that we are designing technology solutions that reflect our population.

On systematizing bias in AI, something that I hadn’t considered very deeply, although in retrospect it’s so obvious:

One of the things that scares me the most is that we could build bias into our AI if we don’t have all the right people as we are training the machines to learn.

And finally, on the recent award:

I kind of laugh to myself because while I’m honored and delighted and it’s beautiful but there are moments where none of us feel powerful. And I’ve had many moments in my life where I’ve felt anything but powerful. And the only way I’ve ever believed, I’ve ever achieved… it’s really about choosing power, choosing strength and courage, and believing in yourself.