This week marks an exciting evolution for SoJo. As many of you know, I have been on mat leave since September, and SoJo cofounder, Ellen Martin, has been running all company operations in my absence. Being off gave me a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come at SoJo. When we first launched, we had a vision of building a sustainable, revenue-generating social enterprise with a global impact, dedicated to nurturing aspiring social entrepreneurs. And looking around now, I’m so proud to be able to say that we’ve accomplished that vision. What started as a small, local startup dependent on grants to survive is today a sustainable business. Our programs have supported the development of thousands of social entrepreneurs in seven countries around the world, and our reach continues to grow. We’ve successfully transitioned from experimental startup to operational business, a challenge for any startup but especially for a social enterprise.
None of this would have been possible without the drive and dedication of Ellen. I always knew she was amazing, but walking away from the company for nine months and watching her not only single-handedly manage operations but continue to grow our business in my absence was truly awe-inspiring.
An inflection point like this is always a good time to take stock of surroundings and ask yourself hard questions. I spent quite a bit of time while I was off asking myself hard questions about what comes next for SoJo and — for the first time in a long time — asking what comes next for me. My personal goals for SoJo were always focused around building the organization and successfully navigating it through the startup phase. Accomplishing that goal has led me to decide that it’s time to move on and hand over the reins. Effective immediately, Ellen will be leading SoJo, formally continuing the role she has been serving in for the past nine months. I will remain on the Board and serve as a strategic advisor and confidant for Ellen and the team. I have absolute confidence that she will continue to do an incredible job.
I’m excited to announce that this week I have started a new role as a Project Lead at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Over the past year I have been developing a concept for a new skills training organization that would work with high growth companies to train and upskill individuals displaced from the labour market due to automation to work in in-demand fields. We are affectionately calling the organization ‘Palette’. Brookfield is an enthusiastic supporter of the concept and has agreed to incubate the idea as I test its feasibility and develop the business model. I’m sure you will be hearing more from me on this topic in the months ahead, and I’m incredibly excited to start down this new path.
Thank you to everyone who has supported SoJo through the years, and especially to all of you who have supported me through this journey. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the years ahead.