Hafiz Mitha was born and raised in Calgary after his parents arrived from East African in the late 1970’s. Earning a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science degree from the University of Calgary, Hafiz’s natural route was Law School, however his entrepreneurial blood moved him towards co-founding JOI Media in 2008. A software development firm, his company brings web experiences people are used with consumer apps to the enterprise. Always examining business objectives, the web based applications aim to create an engaging user experience while creating a valuable ROI for the enterprise. Hafiz, alongside business partners Brock Murray and Pheak Meas operate JOI Media and also recently launched a white-label, enterprise crowdfunding platform that allows companies to showcase and fund employee and company projects, a mandate for many communications and corporate social responsibility teams. Katipult was a fitting platform to build as Hafiz and his team spearheaded their own community initiative since the inception of his company in 2008. JOI to the World, a gift box campaign that with the help of clients, and the local community, provides local non-profit organizations with basic necessities often taken for granted. To date, JOI to the World has raised almost $500,000 in necessities and online donations.
As Chief Operating Officer, Hafiz has developed an effective approach for client relations including managing expectations, project documentation and execution, and contractual negotiations. He combines his project management experience with customer service, to ensure JOI Media is an easy company to work with in all of our dealings. Being part of a team that strives to disrupt conventional practices, you can find Hafiz in boardrooms across North America working on innovate enterprise software solutions.
Hafiz: Being sustainable is having the ability to make decisions that impact the longevity of whatever you are involved with. Having a team of individuals that respect eachother, adapting to changing trends and an open line of communication are key ingredients to sustainability.
Hafiz: I have had the opportunity to work with some great mentors. Going on the old adage of “you don’t have time to make all the mistakes in the world” I try to learn as much as I can from people that we respect in all areas. Putting a board of advisors was one of the first things we did when JOI Media was launched. Business coaching, sales expertise, and industry approaches are all things that we look for and aren’t afraid to ask advice on.
Hafiz: Success is about enjoying the ride and not a final destination. Success to me is being able to look back and know that everyday you are moving forward, towards something that you can be proud of. We are most proud when we have positively affected the people we work with and have made an impact on their business. Therefore, adding value and success go hand in hand.
Hafiz: Relationships are everything!
Hafiz: Some advice that I give to students and other prospects looking to get into the industry is to have a solid LinkedIn profile. This is extremely important, as this is usually the first point of real contact. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask to buy someone you respect coffee. You would be surprised at the results of a genuine reach out for advice.
Hafiz: One of the most memorable events in my career was when we won the Emerging Enterprise of the Year award in 2011. Launching Katipult, earning the business of some great companies and reaching our goal for JOI to the World were contributing factors, and winning validated what we as a team were doing and felt like a great reward for the hard work to get to that point.
Hafiz: A challenge that we, and many other companies faced, was finding our identity. Figuring out not only what you are best at, but what really turns your crank are things that take time. When JOI Media made the decision to only focus on digital technology, we lost many great employees and had to turn down business…both very difficult things to do but necessary to be the best in one field versus good in many.
Hafiz: Technology impacts my day-to-day operations more than anything else. Having the right tools to communicate with my team on a daily basis and managing projects are all done on a variety of applications that have become a indispensible part of my role.
Hafiz: After reading Rework, a book that we made all of our employees read, we stopped making 5 year plans as they were nothing more than educated guesses. Technology is improving on a daily basis and our goal for the foreseeable future is to keep growing as individuals and eventually be the leader in enterprise web-based software and in the crowdfunding market.
Hafiz: Growing up in Calgary, the Energy industry has always been around me. Friends and family have worked in a variety of companies relating to the field, and it is very rare that you would go somewhere and not meet someone in the industry. I always wanted to work with companies in the Energy sector but the focus was on how they could better run the company. We are in the business of people and how companies can build tools to engage their stakeholders, we just happen to be in a city dominated by Energy.
Hafiz: I look at my father as a great role model. Ever since I can remember, he has always been the hardest working person I have known. Running his own business, I saw at a very young age how important it was to create great customer experiences. He also taught me the importance of being business, family and spiritually balanced. Enjoying bbq’s, camping trips and family trips are always things I will cherish. An avid community volunteer, I could see how giving back to the community kept him grounded, a trait that I value in him to this day.
Hafiz: As a person who is influenced by my surroundings, music has a big impact on my mood. Songza is an app that is constantly running and provides great tunes to match what kind of activity I am doing at that moment.
Hafiz: The millennial generation will have a massive impact on not only the Energy industry, but every industry as they are set to construct over 50% of the workfoce by 2020. Companies need to be forward looking and utilize the experience that they bring, as mentalities and priorities have shifted from generations ago. Stats are proving that this generation would rather work for a company that is socially responsible over one that isn’t, and also value corporate culture more than an increase in salary. Understanding the psyche of this demographic will be critical if organizations want to retain and attract the best that the millennials have to offer.
Hafiz: Social media is increasingly influential on behaviors and can shift attitudes on a subject within minutes. Having the ability to view anything in real time, coupled with the ability to follow or connect to highly influential people is a very powerful mix. Communications personnel have an opportunity to retain knowledge from experienced employees on their way to another company or are close to retirement by using what social media has taught to capture ideas and share them amongst the group. Understanding the dynamics of social media can be a powerful medium of change within an organization as crowdsourcing ideas, democratizing decisions within the corporate sphere are just a couple of trends that help companies stand out from the crowd.
Hafiz: I am constantly on LinkedIn as it has proven to be a great networking tool. Prospective clients as well as present board members have been approached from their LinkedIn profile.
Hafiz: At JOI Media, many of our online tools are social in nature as collaborating, commenting and discussing issues need to happen in real time. This doesn’t mean that Facebook and twitter are being used, but rather web apps with similar functionality are utilized for optimal operations.
Hafiz: I like the idea of social recruiting. Social recruiting can mean many things but we urge companies that we work with to provide tools that are social in nature, so when their employees share about the experience they had at work, their network would be enticed to apply or inquire about a position.
Individuals who understand that their first impression will likely be made from what a company will view on their LinkedIn profile will benefit from proper utilization.
Hafiz: Creating a sustainable corporation with a group of individuals has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I love what I do because everyday is a unique experience and there is always an opportunity to learn something new. Working with clients and team members that always question the norm and think BIG is hard to match.
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