Meet Silvia Fornoni of Joint Development Collective


"When women support each other, incredible things happen." That is exactly what happened when Silvia Fornoni, Marisol Fornoni and Maria Pineros came together to start Joint Development Collective (JDC). Today, JDC is Toronto's first dedicated Fundraising Communications agency. Their diverse clientele ranges from: entrepreneurs, fundraisers, small businesses, and artists, to name a few. 

So, how did JDC get to where they are today? Join us in a three-part Q&A session with each of our partners as they divulge on their experiences as business owners, favourite coffee shops and life lessons. 

Read on for Part One as Silvia Fornoni gives us a glimpse into what it's like to start a business, her love/hate relationship with her phone and what's in store for JDC.

In your words, what is your primary role at JDC?

Silvia: My role is that of Co-Founder and Head of Communications and Marketing. I build open and positive channels of communications for clients and JDC.

How did you and your co-founders start your business? What did you hope to achieve?

Silvia: We first started JDC because we wanted to bring value to nonprofits when they embarked on their fundraising journey. We soon realized that nonprofits were not the only ones interested in exploring social impact. Social enterprises, entrepreneurs, educational institutions, and for-profit companies were starting to explore it, too. The team also noticed that with changes in technology, traditional fundraising was being replaced by a visual, more accessible, digital type of fundraising. We decided to study these changes and adapt. 

Tell us about an interesting or funny experience you had during your first year of operations. 

Silvia: The first year is still kind of a blur for me. At the time, we were trying to land our first clients, figure out how to sustain ourselves, network our hearts out, all while making sense of our business model and direction. I remember there was a lot of tiredness and frustration. You know, the usual startup stuff.

All I remember of that year is that I never really felt alone. The team was there for each other. We supported each other through thick and thin. We still do. 

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

Silvia: Entrepreneurship is like a magnifying mirror that follows you around all day. You are constantly confronted with your fears, worries and insecurities. At first, this might seem very daunting and paralyzing. Over time, however, you learn to embrace the self-reflection. You get comfortable staring back at it. 

What is a day in the life of Silvia like?

Silvia: I like to start early. I am usually up by 5 am. I will have breakfast, walk the dog, have a second (smaller) cup of coffee or tea, and set my intentions for the day.

My work day starts around 7 am. I start by checking up on projects, responding to emails, connecting with clients, developing communications materials where needed, and working on new marketing opportunities for the JDC team. This goes on until 12 pm or so. Then I have lunch, take out the dog again and continue working until 5 pm. Evenings are my down time. 

What is your favourite app du jour?

Silvia: I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. When I am not working on projects, I try to limit my use of social media and mobile apps. I'm not sure about a favourite app du jour, however, my most used app is Google Drive. Nerdy, but true!

What is the best advice you ever received?

Silvia: Some actions don't require reactions. 

What is your favourite coffee shop in Toronto?

Silvia: Jules Café Patisserie in the West End, by Bloor & Royal York. 

What's next for JDC?

Silvia: For next year, we're hoping to explore more opportunities abroad. 

What's next for you?

Silvia: Personally, I'm looking forward to travelling and spending more time with family and loved ones. Professionally, I would love to up my coding skills.

For more information on what we do at JDC, read more here. Check back for Part Two of our Q&A series with Fundraising Specialist, Marisol Fornoni!

Shirley Lui