Kickin’ it with Sidekick: Janice Sousa
Celebrating awesome entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs just like you. Learn from others’ stories, successes, advice, and actions.
Meet Janice Sousa – a seasoned revenue, operations and sales leader and serial entrepreneur with over 17 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. Janice is the CEO and Co-Founder of indie, a SaaS solution for independent creators and guides to connect to travellers.
Driven by the belief that the future of travel will include content creators and a new generation of guides, Indie helps independent creators and guides connect to travellers looking to see the world through the locals' eyes. When kickstarting indie, they raised £100K in funding over 1 round of pre-seed funding in January 2021.
Janice has impressively built companies that have scaled and been acquired including Groupdesk in 2020.
In addition to her own business, Janice is also a passionate supporter of female-led ventures. Highly involved in the community, Janice is a proud advisor to #MovetheDial and Fora (in partnership with the UN & UNAC), an activator and mentor for SheEO, and a provincial ambassador for Women in Tech.
Janice also extends her experience to students at Humber and Centennial College and the University of Toronto as a guest lecturer. She received her MBA from the University of Toronto and SDAA Bocconi, and was recognized as a Top 40 under 40 in the Tourism Industry in 2017.
Janice’s experience in building companies to acquisition, accomplishments in academia
and passion for female-led ventures makes her an entrepreneur to follow and learn from. Hear from Janice herself and prepare to be inspired:
1. Do you have a personal ethos that helps guide your decisions and choices? What is it, and where did it come from?
I try to remember that kindness is free. Helping someone who can't necessarily reciprocate immediately or potentially ever rarely costs us anything, and we don't know how it will be repaid. So, I try to remember that helpin
g other people - other founders, companies, friends - doesn't cost me anything and that helping people professionally has untold ripple effects.
In that same vein, I also try to avoid professional situations and people who are overly dramatic or combative. I have found that dramatic people are often trying - through dramatic or combative behaviour - to obfuscate mediocrity and failure. I would rather deal with people who own their sh*t and move to solutions quickly. Often people think being combative means they are being direct and honest. Rarely is that the case.
2. What's one thing you wish you knew before starting your business/current role?
It will be fun and terrifying at the same time - this is normal.
3. What is the most important lesson on your entrepreneurial journey?
Be careful whom you take advice from. So many people peddling advice have never been in your shoes. Make sure you seek advice from someone with first-hand experience. This is especially important for founders - lots of people have entirely out-of-touch ideas on how to run a business. Listen to advice from people who have been founders themselves and tune out everyone else.
4. What type of superpower would you want to have? Why?
I would love to not need as much sleep as I do! But, in all seriousness, I would love to be able to, with a snap of my finger, make new team members feel comfortable enough to give challenging feedback on Day 1. Companies only grow and get stronger once everyone on the team feels at ease to challenge the founders, and often it can take people months, if not years, to get to this level of comfort.
5. What advice would you give to future entre/intrapreneurs looking to make their mark on the world?
It's been said before, but you don't need permission to take a particular course or degree to start a business. Start now; start small. Your first company likely won't work, but it is excellent practice for your 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies.
From her personal ethos to her advice on the entrepreneurial journey, you can bet we’ll be staying up to date with Janice, all her admirable accomplishments, and what’s on the horizon for her next venture. Find Janice on LinkedIn.
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(Photo description: Portrait of Janice wearing a dark turtle neck with light grey background.)