Kickin’ it with Sidekick: Naveed Tagari
Celebrating awesome entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs just like you. Learn from others’ stories, successes, advice, and actions.
Naveed is the Strategic Programs & Partnerships Lead for the DMZ, a leading startup incubator that equips the next generation of leading tech entrepreneurs with the tools to build, launch, and scale highly impactful startups. He focuses on creating new partnerships and programs from scratch. His most recent program is the Future of Sport Lab (FSL), a collaborative lab and incubator for sports innovation and research created and managed by Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson University. The lab is supported by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment companies.
Currently, Naveed is an MBA candidate at the Ted Rogers School of Management. He also graduated from the Sport & Event Marketing program at George Brown College and has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics & Governance from Toronto Metropolitan University. Naveed comes from a rich background in the sports business world and the not-for-profit sector, focusing on strategic partnerships, marketing, and strategy.
Outside of work, Naveed is passionate about community investment, volunteerism, staying active, and social justice. He currently sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Sport Film Festival (CSFF) and is the president of the MBA Sport Leadership Association.
1. What books/podcasts/documentaries/pieces of content has greatly influenced your life? A book that has changed my view of things is "The Reinventionist Mindset" by Joe Jackman. It taught me that change is not a risk; it's an opportunity, and today's greatest risk is staying put.
2. Do you have a personal ethos that helps guide your decisions and choices? I live by some quotes that I have mushed together that give me a clearer vision. "You've got to trust the process, and when it doesn't seem like it's working, be patient and keep going." When it's tough for me to be patient, I remember, "If it were easy, everyone would do it." Lastly, when things seem impossible, I remember, "You can either quit or keep going, but they both hurt." "The love of what you do overcomes the fatigue of overdoing it."
3. What are your sources of motivation and inspiration? How do you stay motivated/keep your cup full? My inspiration is my family, and my motivation is the change I wish to see in the world. My mother is my best friend and someone I look up to as a role model. She has given me so much and sacrificed so much, so whenever I am ready to complain, I think about her journey and just like that, my cup is full. She, my brother, and my sister are constant motivations inspiring me to be better than I was yesterday. Complemented by the line of work that I'm in, when you are making a difference in people's lives in so many ways, and when it is through the power of sport, it allows me to stay motivated. It's one of those things that if you find what you love to do, you will never work a day in your life.
4. How do you stay focused on your organization’s mission while also juggling competing priorities in what we imagine is a very busy schedule?
I stay focused on the DMZ's mission while juggling other priorities because everything connects. Being able to connect many things is a vital trait. You need to strategize, and with a side of Google Calendar sprinkled with some long-term planning, it helps you prioritize. I love serving people; that is the common denominator. That is my why. Before my work at the DMZ, I enjoyed serving people and seeing them happy, and when I do that outside of work, it makes it easy for me to continue my organization's mission. Our work allows me to express my love for the power of social impact!
5. What advice would you give to future entre/intrapreneurs looking to make their mark on the world?
Follow what makes your heart sing. If you aren't passionate about it, it won't be easy. You need to remember that passion is the new currency. People want to have someone who is hungry to thrive.
6. What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like? I want to tell you that the first 30 minutes of my day are spent meditating, running 5K, and drinking a protein shake, but lol, no chance! I wake up and am grateful for the things I have in life, and then I read the news like an old soul because I firmly believe the world's events impact everyone every day in one way or another. It is essential to be informed and understand what is going on. 7. What type of superpower would you want to have? Why?
No question, teleportation is the superpower that I would want to have. As I live religiously by the calendar, I like to maximize my time. I would love to have more time in the day, whether it’s for resting or adding more to my plate. The ability to get from one place to another in the snap of a second would allow for more time!
Imagine Toronto to Japan! Boom, by the time you finish reading this sentence, you are already there.
We can all take something away from Naveed’s personal ethos and sources of motivation. His accomplishments and passion for innnovation are inspiring!
Stay up to date with Naveed on LinkedIn and check out DMZ’s socials – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tiktok.