I am especially excited about this feature of Celebrating HER because I personally know the rock star whose interview you'll read below. Let me just say that Eva is the type of person who you immediately know will amount to great things from the moment you meet her. I met Eva in high-school and although our paths went separate ways during university, I have followed this lady's adventures and (many!) accomplishments on social media. Eva is a social entrepreneur. At the young age of 21, Eva has organized, created, and managed a venture to make social change. This year, Eva was named a L'Oreal "Woman of Worth" - a program highlighting women who passionately volunteer their time and energy to help people in her community - something Eva was too modest to mention in her interview (but I snuck in there anyway, ha).
I couldn't be more proud of her, excited to see what comes next, and to Celebrate HER great achievements.
Name: Eva Von Jagow
Business Name: DueNORTH
Tell us about your business.
DueNORTH is a non-profit organization that focuses on the issue of food insecurity in northern Canada. Our mission is to promote and provide access to nutritional and affordable food for children and youth in Canada’s Far North. We do this primarily through hot breakfast programs in a Nunavut school, where 90% of the students use our implemented program daily. Food insecurity is a huge problem in northern Canada, yes in Canada!, due in large part to exorbitant food prices. Fresh produce is of poor quality, and way too expensive, so many families are financially forced to opt for cheaper, processed food, usually laden with salt, sugar, and fat. This reality often leads to high rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and poor dental health. Anyone who has missed a meal knows how hard it is to focus and thrive on an empty stomach As a result, poor school attendance, low grades, and small or non-existent graduation classes become another reality of poor nutrition.
It has been pretty incredible to witness the power of food. According to several of the teachers, since our breakfast program was implemented, the attendance, grades and overall happiness of the students has increased!
Food security in the North is a very complex, and unique problem and I have never or will never, pretend or act like I am the expert on the matter. The truth of the matter is that I’m a white, privileged girl from Ottawa, and I have never experienced any form of food insecurity. However, when I learned of the issue of food insecurity, and the lack of action being taken to eradicate this inequality I realized it was in a sense, my moral obligation to act on the matter. From there evolved DueNORTH.
What was the biggest obstacle to building your business and how did you overcome it?
I think there is a stigma that if you are going to be an entrepreneur (and especially a female entrepreneur), that you have to know it all and in essence be able to do it all. Starting a non-profit, like starting a business, from the ground up requires a wide range of skills, from accounting skills to legal skills, to marketing skills, etc. It can be very intimidating if you are working under the assumption that you need to possess most of these skills in order to become a successful entrepreneur. SO FALSE. I still know next to nothing about balancing books, nor will I ever in all likelihood! However I do know where my strengths lie, and that’s what I focus on primarily.
I still know next to nothing about balancing books, nor will I ever in all likelihood! However I do know where my strengths lie, and that’s what I focus on primarily.
I strongly believe in women supporting women. I have a Board of Directors filled with bad-ass (am I allowed to swear? ...oops!) women, who drive this organization. I am so fortunate to have these women, including my Mom, on this journey with me, because it truly would not be feasible without them.
Moral of the story: never question whether you are ‘enough’ to fulfill your dream job. If you’re willing to put yourself out there and face the challenges that come with entrepreneurship, you are most definitely enough.
Never question whether you are ‘enough’ to fulfill your dream job. If you’re willing to put yourself out there and face the challenges that come with entrepreneurship, you are most definitely enough.
What motivates you? What are some ways you stay motivated?
I could never do something I am not 100% passionate about. Knowing there are children and communities essentially relying on me and my team is a huge motivation to do the job right. Aside from that, strong women - they keep me motivated. Strong women motivate me to no end because every girl knows how it feels to be in a male-dominated room and feel little. Surrounding myself with strong, fierce, go-getter women inspire every day to stand up for what I believe in and express my voice, no matter how scary that may be.
Check out Eva in the Women of Worth 2017 Gala Video
What made you resilient to the fear of failure?
DueNORTH was never established to become a well-recognized NGO, or for me to gain attention from the work. I never really felt the ‘fear of failure’ because to me, DueNORTH was feeding hungry children in Canada, and as long as I was doing that, I was not failing.
However, I think failure is inevitable in life, and I think it’s important to embrace failure and just simply learn from it. Failure is what makes us human and we can let it destroy us, or we can grow from it, so I think it’s really all about perspective.
Failure is what makes us human and we can let it destroy us, or we can grow from it, so I think it’s really all about perspective.
What is an important lesson you’ve learned through running your own company?
Truthfully…………...keep your work life and your social life separate. As fun as it is to incorporate friends into your work environment, it can be very damaging to both the business and your relationships. Love your friends and love your work, but do it separately!
Love your friends and love your work, but do it separately!
What is the best part about running your own business?
Working on projects that you believe in 100%. Simply put!
If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
There’s a quote that I adore “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”. I think as a child or as a teenager, or even a young adult for that matter, it can be intimidating to outwardly express what you’re passionate about. I have been passionate about human, environment and animal rights since birth I swear and for the longest time, I kept that inside thinking that it wasn’t ‘cool’ to care deeply about such things. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to embrace and express those passions because they exist for a reason and they are an integral part of you who you are as an individual.
I would tell my younger self to embrace and express those passions, because they exist for a reason and they are an integral part of you who you are as an individual.
Describe your daily routine from the moment you wake up.
This is something I am still trying to master but oh so slowly improving upon. I love to wake up early, so I usually get up between 6:30-7:00 in the school year. When I get up, I make my bed (yes Mom, you’ve ingrained it in me!) which honestly puts me in the headspace to start my day. After I’ve woken up and have listened to my morning podcast (The Daily with Michael Barbaro), I think about what I have to do that day. I write it down in the order that I anticipate it happening and then proceed with my day - usually, class or a morning run depending on the day of the week.
It’s pretty simple, but it’s what works for me. I think waking up early is the best advice I could give anyone who thinks they don’t have enough hours in the day. It’s not that time is limited throughout the day, you just need to prioritize how you spend those hours.
What’s your favourite day of the week? Why?
Saturday! Saturday is rest day. As a university student, life never really stops, but Saturdays are the days where you can justify a sleep in and a social life. Work is important, but so is play.
What is your go-to pick-me-up?
Laughter. Laughter cures everything, I’m convinced. Surround yourself with people who make you smile, giggle and laugh and get your daily dose of them!
What is your spirit animal?
What is your favourite app?
Buffer! Anyone who is looking for a way to organize their business social media into one convenient spot, Buffer is the ultimate hook up!
What is a quote you live by?
When I was little, my mom gave me a piece of paper with a quote by the British author, W Somerset Magham, that she had written down when she was a young girl. The quote said; “It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”
I love this quote because it taught me to hold myself to a certain standard. I think every girl and woman should live by this quote in terms of the standard they hold to friends, coworkers, relationships, etc. I think there’s something to be said for confident women, who know their worth and don’t expect anything less.
I think there’s something to be said for confident women, who know their worth and don’t expect anything less.
Feel free to mention anything else pertaining to entrepreneurship, your “path to success”, etc.
There will never be a right time to start on the path to entrepreneurship. So get going!
Follow DueNORTH on Instagram @duenorthcanada.
Tune in on December 20, 2017 to peep who we interview next.