Diana Davies-Harju is a founding member and the CMO of Magnifi, a global mobile on-demand knowledge sharing marketplace, connecting experts with knowledge seekers through paid, real-time audio/video consultation.
Diana is also the head of customer experience where she takes on an agile, collaborative and data-driven approach that inspires a lean startup methodology. She has a BA in law and marketing, co-founded several start-ups throughout her professional and entrepreneur career. Diana is passionate about mentorship and community building and is actively involved with not-for-profit initiatives. She mentors with Technovation and is on the board of trustees with Willis College for the Women in Technology Scholarship.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I am a co-founder and CMO of Magnifi, a global mobile on-demand knowledge sharing marketplace, connecting knowledge workers with knowledge seekers through paid, real-time audio and video consultation. The app allows users to easily share knowledge and get paid for each minute or access knowledge from real people in real-time and pay only for the time needed, anytime, anywhere. Magnifi is a fully integrated marketplace in your pocket. The Magnifi app launched for iPhone users in North America on March 1, 2018. It is now currently available in over 20 countries with more coming. The Android version of the app will be launching soon.
I am also the head of operations where I take on an agile, collaborative and data-driven approach that inspires my lean start-up methodology. I am driven by a passion for mentorship and community building and actively involved with not-for-profit initiatives. In addition, I am thrilled to be a mentor with Technovation and am on the board of trustees with Willis College for the Women in Technology Scholarship in Cybersecurity Education.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Yes and no. I have always been driven and focused, but also open to new opportunities. I have always known I wanted do something that would have a positive impact on people’s lives; something that would help make a significant contribution to our society. This ideal has been my guiding light, my north star of sorts. I am also a big believer in doing what you love. If you love what you do great things happen – mountains literally move. When you bring your best self you also bring out the best self in those around you. I enjoy spending time with positive people and I seek them out. I always bring a positive, uplifting attitude to everything I do both personally and professionally and it matters. In times where my circle has slipped, or negativity slips in inadvertently a shift happens, and not for the good. It takes effort but building a positive culture and ethos is crucial. While my career and life has not precisely been linear, it has always had purpose and intention and been driven by positivity.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Yes, I think we all face challenges along the way. In our careers and like others I have encountered unfortunate and discouraging moments. I think the real question is what we do about these challenges. While there has been improvement, we are still a long way from equality in the work force/boardroom. I believe how we react to adversity and how we learn from it makes all the difference. As my experience and position has elevated over the years, I have been acutely aware of the opportunity to help those following after me. I keep my eyes open to opportunities to mentor or help rise up young women who might otherwise be overlooked. Of course it is not just a matter of gender, but having the skills, abilities and knowledge and being afforded the opportunity to be both noticed and cultivated, and subsequently have doors open.
As individuals we do not have to go far to be effective in our efforts, but we need to be willing to step up and invest and believe in first ourselves and then others. The collective results can be astounding.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
It’s a wonderful feeling to help someone and even better to make a positive impact on their life. Winston Churchill words pop to mind, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Mentoring is multi-faceted, whether it is formal or informal, and it provides such a fantastic opportunity to grow and be better because of it mutually. I am grateful for those who have mentored me over the years and for those who mentor me today. I have grown to learn it is a crucial part of my personal growth and professional development. I cherish every moment I am afforded to learn and grow. As a founding member of a tech company, I also take my role as a mentor very seriously. I believe it is an incredibly rewarding and ongoing enriching experience.
What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?
Research makes it clear diverse companies perform better. It makes good business sense to cultivate a diverse workplace and is the right thing to do. We know that diversity matters. As things currently stand there is a gap between ideal and reality. The tide is changing, and that is the good news. That said, the change is slow. Like all great transformations, there is no single defining action that will change it all in one big swoop. It is about building momentum until a point of breakthrough. The next five years will be about continual and consistent effort. When the discussion of diversity is no longer on the table, because it has been achieved imagine the resources that will be freed – we will be able to put all our collective efforts into doing great things – achieving success on so many levels.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
Bringing more women the table. Women have so much to offer as leaders, but they need to believe they can and that they will be supported. By showing what is possible, we can build on success. This is especially important for young girls who are looking at role models and thinking about what they want to do when they grow up. While there is certainly more representation today then when I was a young girl we still have a ways to go. The sooner we are able to expose girls to women leaders without it being an exception the better. Both young girls and boys should not think twice about the gender of a leader only that they inspire, but this only holds true when gender equality is achieved. Research shows that when women have a seat at the table, we build better companies and communities. Education, support, and mentorship are essential to achieving both movement in this direction and ultimately success.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I am a mother first. My greatest joy and achievement are my children. They inspire me every day and feel truly blessed to be their mom! Second to my family, professionally, my biggest achievement is launching Magnifi. Imagine a place where anyone, anywhere can share or access knowledge in a fair marketplace where people matter. We did that! My Magnifi experience lead me to my position on the board of trustees for Willis College Women and Scholarship Program in Cybertechnology and in turn allowed me to be party of promoting and awarding their scholarship program that is designed to empower young women and to help recruit new talent into the rapidly growing sector of cybersecurity. This is definitely an extension of pride for me.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My next challenge is continuing to scale Magnifi globally and building out our incredible team. We are building a market network that will literally transform how millions of knowledge workers will work and earn a living. This will be life changing (for many) as knowledge workers will soon be able to connect and serve people better and more efficiently globally and without barriers in a way they could never before.
Personally, I’m on a mission to create more space, opportunity and economic empowerment for young females. Aligning myself with people and organizations that share my passion and mission on this will create a greater effect for positive change and success.