Business savvy + badass

April 19, 2011

Photo Credit: Kelly Hoey

Is a girl crush the same as a role-model?  Insert shrug.  Doesn’t really matter.

Not only is my girl crush business savvy + badass, but she is also an entrepreneur from British Columbia that laughs loudly, thinks strategically, and advises wisely.  As most people often do when they are intrigued by a true role-model, they ask questions.  I naturally had many questions for the ultimate connector, Kelly Hoey, upon my meeting with her.

Where did you begin?

Kelly described her hometown, Victoria, BC, as a “wonderful place to be from. … I was pushed to see the possibilities in the world but I don’t think my parents realized what all the possibilities were themselves.”   After leaving home for law school in Vancouver, Kelly then practiced law at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto.

Had you always wanted to be a lawyer? 

“I didn’t have enough confidence in my math skills to go for a MBA,” Kelly commented.  Although Kelly did not necessarily know she’d pursue a law degree at a young age, she did know that she would pursue a professional degree.

Kelly recalled that there was a three-year period during her law career when she really enjoyed practicing law.  What aligned?    “All of my career needs were met and satisfied during that time,” Kelly commented.

All needs?  Please share.

1.) The firm supported a strong mentor program.

2.) The client management system was developed and accessible – it was a solid network.

3.) There were opportunities to get involved in the firm at every level, whether it was contributing to daily management or volunteer events.

What was the career takeaway from your experience at Osler?

“If I had known myself better then, I would have made better decisions.”  Kelly added, “Career ownership means being clear about what you want in a career and being able to ask an employer the right questions.  You may get answers you don’t like which is OK.  That means it isn’t going to work out. … While at Osler’s firm, I learned when to put my hand up and say, ‘I want to be considered for a job,’ and I learned when to fire myself … when my needs were no longer fulfilled.”

Tell me about New York.

“The people that really know me aren’t surprised I live in NYC.  I can’t imagine not being here.”

Kelly officially became a New Yorker on the day she walked across the street without looking up.  “I still pinch myself every once in a while because I look down Lexington Avenue and there’s the Chrysler Building.  And I live in the same city,” shared Kelly.

We’ll dive into Kelly’s entrepreneurial path in NYC in Part 2.  Patience.

Follow Kelly on Twitter!


Collecting neighborhoods 2.0

October 18, 2010

People collect knives, trolls, horrific dating adventures, and other intriguing jewels. Regardless of the collector’s particular fancy, the item often represents a sentimental accessory – an ongoing story dangling in time. Not every collection can be stored easily in a cellar, shelf or album. Nabewise, an online platform that explores and showcases neighborhoods in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago, has revolutionized the way we now collect.

Photo Credit: Ann Baldinucci

Ann Baldinucci, the Founder and CEO of Nabewise and a dynamic woman that has moved 35 times in her life, shared, “I really feel like I’m made up of all the places I’ve lived in throughout my life, and I love finding new ones. I’m a collector of places.” While many transient people store multitudes of memories and experiences in their cerebral cortex, they can now also share places, more specifically neighborhoods, on Nabewise.

Diana Sonis, the Director of Business Development at Nabewise, is known for her avid global travels; she’s explored neighborhoods throughout 4 continents, 21 countries, and 66 cities. Diana noted, “Ann is the mover, and I’m the traveler.” Diana, however, is currently on the prowl for her next apartment with her husband. She shared her neighborhood desires, “I want the most people, no green spaces, cafes, outdoor tables, and cobblestone streets in my neighborhood.” Diana’s search keywords on Nabewise: safety, trendy, and beautiful people. Tribeca it is.*

Photo Credit: Diana Sonis

A unique and endearing aspect of Nabewise is the company’s focus on not only bringing neighborhoods to life, but also on creating stronger communities. “We highlight art projects, community gardens, and farmer’s markets. Those are the things that are shown to strengthen neighborhood ties. Nabewise wants to be a part of strengthening communities. I’ve moved so many times in my life (35!) and in many of my neighborhoods I didn’t know how to get involved so I never did. … We will show you where people are organizing,” Ann added. Nabewise also allows community members to share their personal gems with other local and global wanderers.

Ann found her own neighborhood secret near the Nabewise office in Flatiron District, “I am obsessed with finding local secrets – there’s an antique shop on 20th by Spoon and the owner has a massive bird cage with a variety of birds, and I found two baby doves there. I stop by there all of the time and watch the birds during lunch.”

Ann’s a self-starter. “I don’t have a tech background, but I taught it to myself. I’m continually learning every day. … I have an unconventional background. I’m a big believer in people reinventing themselves. No one will ever tell me that there’s a job I can’t do if I want to do it. I really embrace people with unconventional backgrounds,” Ann commented.

“While we are generating new content on Nabewise, we are also aggregating the content that is out there – we are pulling local data from Four Square and other sources in a smart way that actually captures a neighborhood,” Ann noted. The Nabewise tech team is clearly killer, and Ann stressed their importance, “Everyone at Nabewise is smarter than I am.”

Diana shared, “I’m amazed at what someone can do with a non-tech background and no money in the short time that Ann has conceived and then launched Nabewise. … I would describe Ann as a hustler. I think it is the number one quality you need in a start-up. Ann is incredibly persuasive. She is also amazing with the team. The team loves her. She is very conscious of how people are working and what people need. And Ann gives it to them. She’s built this loyalty in the team which is so important for execution – that’s why I think Nabewise will be a success.”

Every leader needs a fire starter. Ann shared, “In a start-up you need people that can roll up their sleeves and get sh*t done. I can’t direct people all day long.  I can give it to Diana and she will get it done … Diana can do anything she decides to do. Everything she’s done, she’s nailed which is rare. She had a full ride scholarship to NYU. She worked in finance with a journalism background. She nailed it in finance and got her CFA. She started her own business with her husband.”

Impressed yet?  Then get involved.

Love your ‘hood? Write about it. Gloat, critique, adore, etc. Most importantly, share your neighborhoods with Ann, Diana, and the Nabewise community.

*Although Diana did not move to Tribeca, she is still in search of her new home.  Suggestions?  Reach out to Diana on Nabewise.

Photo Credit: Anastasia Photography

Danielle LaPorte intrigues me.  I’ve dived into her spiritual and creative abyss on White Hot Truth.  After meeting her in person, I realized that the lady really can start a Fire … one with inextinguishable flames.

Danielle’s new Fire Starter Sessions, a digital experience for people with the entrepreneurial spirit, releases worldwide on May 12th.  The e-book combines logic with mojo, uniting your brand, vision, and soul along the way.

Inspired by both Danielle and this fiery project, I immediately wanted the scoop on her life as a kid.  Childhood tells all.  Danielle was playful enough to share her memories, from the days of magic and BIG HAIR, with me.

KZ:  What was the first childhood experience that showed a glimmer of your entrepreneurial grace?

DL: Grade 8. I was class President. I lobbied to, for the first time in elementary school history, change a nominal fee for parents to enter our school carnival. “Can’t fight change … or kids” was my platform.

KZ:  Who and/or what did you want to be when you were little?  Any particular heroes at age 8?

DL: My Grade 2 Journal reads:  I want to be Wonder Woman (loved those bullet proof bangles and her rad invisible plane), a Social Worker, a Disco Dancer, and a Poet.  I’m all of those things today.  My airplane is the internet.

KZ:  What was your biggest challenge growing up?

DL: Getting in trouble for leading the pack.

KZ:  What would 8-year-old Danielle say about you if she saw you now?

DL: You’re super smart.  And your heart is pretty, I like your heart a lot.  How come you don’t have a house in Morocco yet?  You really should dance more. Wanna put on some makeup?

KZ:  What was your favorite place to spend time as a kid?

DL: The wheat field behind our house.  I lived on a farm.  Being an only child, I spent hours and hours alone, walking on the railway tracks, thinking I could talk to hawks and fairies. Writing poetry. Looking for signs. Magic signs.

KZ:  Describe your family’s home dynamic.

DL: Instant gratification and pretty happy getting by.

KZ:  Best memory from childhood?

DL: In the Canadian Parliament they have “Pages” who are like errand kids on the senate floor. It’s a very competitive and prestigious little gig, and I managed to land myself a term as a Page when I was twelve. I wanted that so bad that I tired to sweat blood when I prayed at night. Getting it was a total rush.

I also have a lot of great memories of laughing with my mom and dad in the car and in the kitchen.  Always at the expense of each other.

KZ:  How would your classmates describe you in high school? What was your passion?

DL: Unique. Creative. Bossy. Very Big Hair.  My passion: Figuring out how to get the hell out of my town. Big Hair.

Art by Danielle LaPorte

*** Moving forward a few decades …

KZ:  Describe 80-year-old Danielle.

DL: Satiated.

KZ:  What will change when you’re approaching 80?  What will stay the same?

DL: Well, my boobs will be in their own province by then.  Sigh.  I’ll still be spouting off what I think I know. Evoking the truth. Avoiding cooking.

KZ:  What will you have conquered by then that you haven’t yet?

DL: My fear of not reaching my full potential.

KZ:  What style and business mantra will you rock in the rocking chair?

DL: Everything is progress.  This I know.

Thank you for your time, Danielle!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Follow Kira on TwitterFollow Kira on Facebook

Drawing by Danielle LaPorte, creator of White Hot Truth

Drawing by Danielle LaPorte, creator of White Hot Truth

Stifled Sensations by Danielle LaPorte of White Hot Truth

“I worked with a TV producer once who prided herself on being disciplined. ‘I get up every morning at 5am to run,’ she told me over dinner. ‘I hate it, but it needs to be done.’ And she went on to explain that for Lent, she gave up swearing and hadn’t cussed in four years, (‘Even though it would feel sooo good to just say the F word sometimes!’) The following Lent, she swore off soda pop and hadn’t had so much as a sip for three years, (‘Even though a Coke with these tacos would be grrreat!’)

‘Well that sounds like a whole lotta of fucking fun.’ I said to her. And I asked the waiter to bring me a Coke.

Here’s the thing: As hard-wired achievement-bots many of us subscribe to systems of success that actually become blockages to our instincts. Structures, programs, regimes, all disciplines and theories should be used to support your freedom and independent thinking, but many serve to stifle our truth.
Curiosity and sensation are exponentially more effective than obeying the rules.”

I love that recent post on White Hot Truth.  The creator, Danielle, is a truth-seeking writer with a flair for humor and an entrepreneurial instinct.  I personally experienced a Fire-Starter Session with Danielle, and I highly recommend the one-on-one conversation.

*Danielle responds to every single email she receives.  Her personable touch elevates Danielle above the rest.  I’m all about the connection, and the lady’s got it.

* This is rare and refreshing in cyberspace.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button