“I’m naturally a very shy person—in fact, I was devastatingly shy growing up—but I understood early on that investing in your network and allowing partnerships to flourish is linked to your credibility, and credibility is good for business,” said Chow.
“My career path has had its share of surprising twists and turns, but to me it comes down to knowing who you are, knowing your purpose, and enabling others to find and advance theirs, too.”
Upon graduating from U of T Scarborough, Chow took on various roles including account executive at an ad agency, in-house marketing coordinator at a law firm, and as an event planner producing corporate events and fashion shows for Canada Fashion Week.
In 2007, Chow became a mother. She had just accepted a marketing role at another law firm when she unexpectedly received an offer for an investor relations (IR) position at a publicly traded gold exploration company.
“IR is the perfect marriage between marketing and finance, and for the first time, I felt the right balance of what I was looking for in a job. The industry and the various mentors I have found in it were what ignited the entrepreneur in me,” said Chow.
She ran and operated a boutique marketing and IR agency in Toronto from 2010 to 2020, servicing private and publicly traded companies in mining, tech, healthcare, and apparel. Chow also began investing in tech start-ups as an angel investor.
Through her burgeoning IR consultancy, Chow’s portfolio overflowed with investor conferences every year.
“We had 30+ clients. Honestly, it became chaotic to compile, track, and continually update my networking contacts. I always returned from networking events with stacks and stacks of business cards, notes written on napkins and random surfaces, you name it. I would spend hours scanning business cards into my computer and collating notes into my own rudimentary spreadsheet or CRM—it wasn’t efficient,” she said.
“I found that key contextual information—the essence of maintaining these relationships—were often recorded but kept on my desktop, which I couldn't access while I was on the road.”
Notable connections everywhere
Seeking an innovative solution to organize a sprawling database, Chow channeled her frustration into inventing Jot: the social-enabled, user-friendly mobile CRM and contact manager designed for professionals who value meaningful networking connections. Jot is driven by annotations and live updates that provide users with deep context into their unique relationships with networking contacts.
“Whether you’re an emerging professional or a seasoned business leader, the beauty of Jot is that you can pick up with your connections right where you left off. Where you met, what you chatted about, your shared networks and interests, interesting or memorable anecdotes. it’s all here in the app,” Chow said.
“So rather than digging through your files or inbox or a complicated CRM to refresh your memory before a meeting—or struggling to recall important details about a person during a chance networking encounter—Jot gives you the contextual history at your fingertips through annotations and tags that are meaningful and useful to you on the go,” Chow said.
Since launching the app in late 2021, Chow and her team have also partnered with Management faculty, students, and The BRIDGE—U of T Scarborough’s signature Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) accelerator within the University of Toronto Entrepreneurship ecosystem—by embedding content in fall 2022 courses to advance student learning in product and business development, data collection, and market research.
Chow hopes the Jot platform will not only help young professionals become more effective networkers but also support their personal and professional growth by enabling better communication that buoys their sense of confidence.
“There’s a whole thing around impostor syndrome. Whether you’re fresh out of school, or even a fully established professional, I think we all have tendencies to feel impostor syndrome in different situations,” Chow said.
“What we have to recognize is that the feeling might actually be positive. It means that there’s room to grow, to aspire. The reality is that imposter syndrome disproportionately affects high-achieving people. It is my hope that Jot becomes the secret (but not so secret) weapon that helps professionals approach connections—new or old—with confidence, and realize the full potential of their connections.”
Authored by Kendal Egli
Crossposted from UTSC Management