Top 100 winner thrives in Digital Media Zone
December 12, 2012
Kanika Gupta is one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.
The founder of SoJo, a Digital Media Zone-based (DMZ) company that provides information and support to social innovators,Gupta was celebrated at the 10th anniversary of Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Awards gala on Dec. 5. The awards recognize the professional achievements of women across the country in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Gupta won in the Future Leaders category, awarded to young women who show tremendous potential to continue making their mark in the years to come.
“It’s an honour and very exciting to be named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada,” Gupta said. “This award recognizes the work and vision we’ve established behind SoJo and it’s not only validation for me but acknowledges the success we’ve built with SoJo.”
SoJo (short for Social Journal) is an interactive online platform that guides individuals through the process of developing and implementing their ideas, leaving them time to focus on addressing unmet social needs and environmental challenges. Social innovations can include, but are not limited to, social ventures, projects, programs or product developments.
Gupta’s passion for social change and community development started in high school when it was mandatory for students to fulfil volunteer hours. She discovered how much she loved outreach and community involvement and says “it was a natural progression for my skills to develop from there.”
Highly engaged in civic issues and community development, Gupta has worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Knowledge Management, Canadian International Development Agency in Human Rights policy, Canadian House of Commons, grassroots NGOs in West Africa and India. Prior to SoJo, Gupta founded Nukoko, a Canadian non-profit which sends more than 600 girls to school in West Africa annually.
Having been in the DMZ for under a year, Gupta has adopted the open-concept learning style that the zone practices.
“The DMZ model works because it forces you to connect and be social,” she said. “Before the DMZ, technology wasn’t on my radar. I wasn’t into social media and I was the most technologically averse person you’d ever met. I now see technology as the vehicle to many things and it’s great to have those conversations with people in the DMZ. It’s an opportunity to build a whole new skill set.”
Gupta adds that there is a contradiction at times in the DMZ because as entrepreneurs there is a degree of isolation and solitude that’s experienced. But seeing other passionate entrepreneurs stay late and put in long hours reminds her that it’s a vibrant, supportive community where everyone shares common goals.