Since Jonathan’s last interview, he’s been undeniably busy. That’s to be expected for someone living Jonathan’s life. At the end of 2019, he accepted a new role at a different company located in Toronto, Canada. Jonathan spends his time traveling back and forth between Toronto and New York City, New York. Since he’s switched jobs, Jonathan’s traveled back to NYC for work and some fun. He’s currently back to working during a pandemic in Toronto (and in quarantine). Jonathan took his new job knowing that it would combine Jonathan’s two passions — travel and travel. Well, almost. On top of travel (squared), he also focuses on marketing and business, too. As you may remember from our last interview, Jonathan studied business during his Harvard Business School years. He has built a life and steady career not only in international business but in a niche that has enabled him to be flexible and dynamic during these uncertain economic times. Jonathan has not only embraced the change — he’s making the most of his new job and new life of splitting his time between New York and Toronto. Let’s learn more.
When we last spoke in 2019, you were living in New York City — where has life taken you since? Have you been working during the pandemic?
“I recently took on a new role as Chief Growth Officer at Portage, a fintech-focused venture capital firm. My role is to help our portfolio companies with marketing. I split my time between Toronto, Canada and New York City, New York.”
How does your new job differ from your past one?
“In my previous job I was the CMO at Policygenius, where I led and built out their marketing function. In my new role, I advise over a dozen companies within our global portfolio on marketing and growth. I also work with the investment team to help decide which new companies we should invest in.”
How are things in Toronto, Canada?
“Things in Toronto have been great. The pandemic has definitely changed things but we’re handling it well. Canadians took the pandemic very seriously. The government supported the wearing of masks early and the case counts as a result were generally well controlled. I’d also forgotten how great the summers in Canada are. Being 350 miles north of NYC means there’s summer sunny weather but far less humidity. Makes for a more pleasant outdoor experience for patio hang-outs and bike rides around the city.”
How has it been working during a pandemic?
“Like everyone else, the first few months of COVID were challenging. I started my new job in mid-March, the week everything closed down. As such, I was mailed a computer and onboarded to my new role virtually. I haven’t been to my office once. It was definitely a unique way to begin a new job, but you adapt and move on. The companies we invest in are startups in the financial services industry. After a few weeks of rapid re-forecasting and pausing marketing budgets, thankfully most of our fintech companies have rebounded. Most have surpassed their pre-pandemic growth levels.”
It’s been years since you lived in Canada — how does it feel to be back?
“I left Canada thirteen years ago when I moved to Boston to get my MBA at Harvard. The city has changed a lot since 2007. Last year, Fast Company called out Toronto as North America’s fastest-growing tech market. It’s been exciting to see the city go through so much change. There are new developments coming up everywhere — it feels like Toronto is having a moment, and it’s great to be part of that, even if I’m just working during the pandemic.”
Are you staying near where you grew up or where your family is?
“When I’m in Toronto, I live about thirty minutes from my parents’ home. My parents still live in the same house where I grew up. It’s great to be able to pop back to their place for a quick dinner or a weekend visit.”
Have you had the chance to reconnect with old friends or see your family on a regular basis? How are you adjusting to your new life?
“Most of my family still lives in Toronto (except for my brother and his family who live in Tokyo, Japan). I also have many friends in the city from high school & college. They have made the transition back to the city much easier. When I was living in NYC, I came back to Toronto three to four times a year for holiday, Canadian Thanksgiving, and during the summer. I kept up my network which made working during a pandemic in Toronto much easier.”
Jonathan continues to achieve his goals while working during a pandemic by not only adapting to the norms of today but by embracing them. How? He doesn’t stop engaging online and will always travel when permitted. In order to live in a society that is dealing with uncertainty — shouldn’t we embrace change? We will catch up with our superstar fintech CFO in 2021 to see how things are going. Please be sure to check in then.