Executive Reads: Joanna Track

After years of working in corporate advertising, Joanna Track took a shot at paving her own path in the digital media space. Upon founding popular online women’s lifestyle guide, Sweetspot.ca (which sold in its entirety to Rogers in 2011), Joanna and her brand quickly became a major player in the fast-moving digital media world. Several years after launching Sweetspot.ca Joanna moved on to her next venture, eLUXE. What’s the secret to her success, you ask? Maybe you’ll find it in the pages of these books…

Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy – By Isadore Sharp
Since seeing Issy Sharp speak to my MBA class in 1995 he has been my business idol. I feel there is no better example of the power of branding than Four Seasons, and that has so much to do with the man behind it.  In this book, he recounts the story of how he built the hotel chain from a single motel-style location in downtown Toronto into a global network of the world’s top hotels. Along the way he reveals some of the creative ways he enhanced the hotel experience that were so innovative at the time, yet we now take them for granted (like shampoo and bar fridges in the room!). He also talks about his management style and it becomes clear that he is not only a great leader but an amazing human being (did you know he also started the Terry Fox run?). You will finish this book having admiration for this man and inspiration to do your own great things. 

Delivering Happiness – By Tony Hsieh
This is a must read for anyone in retail and/or digital and/or anything else! Tony Hsieh is not only an amazing inspiration but his writing style is very casual and entertaining. Telling the story of how we built Zappos into a billion dollar company, he shares some of his own tools and tricks for inspiring his team and keeping them all focused on the same goals. Some of the challenges he faced in the early days are exactly what we faced at eLUXE, so it was reassuring to see that it is all surmountable.  

Start-Up Nation – By Dan Senor & Saul Singer
Written by my dear, old friend Dan Senor, and his brother-in-law, Saul Singer, there is a good reason why this book sits on the desks of the world’s top political and business leaders (Benjamin Natanyahu included). It is written as a series of case studies of a number of various Israeli innovators and their businesses, but what it really shows is how the unique culture, policies and political challenges have driven it to become one of the top innovation centres in the world. It teaches volumes about resilience, management and communication and left me inspired to conquer the many challenges I face as an entrepreneur.