Joey Adler is an innovative entrepreneur and humanitarian seeking to reinvent the business of philanthropy through groundbreaking sustainable models. In 1986, driven by a vision to launch and develop another cutting-edge fashion brand in Canada, Joey and her future husband Louis Adler secured Canadian exclusivity for the Italian-based Diesel fashion label. Today, as President and CEO of Diesel Canada Inc., Joey’s keen understanding of the Canadian marketplace and her entrepreneurial savvy have helped grow the brand into one of the most recognizable and sought after fashion labels in the country.
Her own success in business has always been just one aspect of her life’s work. A long time philanthropist, Joey felt the entire apparel manufacturing industry needed a paradigm shift, a shared business model that would raise the standard of living for the industry’s workers and their communities. “We derive benefit from manufacturing in the developing world. So, obviously, we should be putting something back in,” she explains.
As the founder of Industrial Revolution II (IRII), a new environmentally and socially responsible business model for apparel manufacturing, she has made her dream a reality. With the collaboration of business innovator, co-founder and managing partner, Rob Broggi and their Haitian partner and co-founder Richard Coles as well as the buy-in of other socially conscious entrepreneurs and longtime social activist Matt Damon, IRII recently launched a state-of-the-art garment factory designed to manufacture high-end clothing and improve the lives of its employees in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The hope is that this first project will be a model for the entire industry and take root globally.
Always passionate about service to the community, Joey also founded, in 2005, the ONEXONE Foundation in memory of her husband Lou who had passed away after a long illness. ONEXONE’s philosophy is that every life is precious and that individuals can make profound changes in the lives of others, one by one. ONEXONE’s mission is to improve the lives of children in Canada, the US, and around the world with programs dedicated to the fundamental pillars: food/nutrition, health, water, education, play. ONEXONE’s reach and impact is profound with important initiatives operating in South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya and Haiti. In addition, through its “Feeding Our Children” initiatives ONEXONE provides over 500,000 nutritious meals to over 4,000 Canadian and U.S. children in need through the ONEXONE First Nations School Breakfast Program and through strong partnerships with communities in inner cities across North America.
The program has been innovative in its ability to partner up with major corporations such as Pepsico (Quaker & Dole), Sodexo and recently, the diamond giant, De Beers. Just days after the devastating earthquake in 2010, ONEXONE team members were on the first non-military flight to land in Haiti. In the missions that followed, ONEXONE delivered $7 million worth of goods including $5 million worth of medicine and medical equipment. ONEXONE remains committed to rebuilding Haiti and announced $3 million to fund the construction of a state-of-the-art pediatric ward in the new Partners In Health hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. Joey is also an active member of the Clinton Task Force on Haiti. In addition to sitting on the board and acting as Event Chair for the annual fundraiser for the Hope & Cope Wellness Centre in Montreal, Joey and her family are the main benefactors. Inspired by her late husband, Joey also founded Lou’s House, a Centre that helps cancer survivors resume healthy lives with the world’s leading psycho-social cancer support programs available to them, free of charge. Joey also puts her business savvy to good use both locally and nationally.
She is presently in her fifth term as city councillor in a Montreal, Quebec area municipality and has overseen matters ranging from the environment to finance. She was also chosen to participate on a consultative panel with Canada’s Finance Minister on the 2013 Canadian Budget. Throughout her career Joey has won many awards in and out of Canada. In 2010 she was given Hope and Cope’s (Montreal) Tribute & Honoree Award, the “I’m Philanthropic Power Award” from The Foundation for Advancement of Women Now Inc. in New York City and her philanthropic efforts were recognized when she became the first recipient of the Laurier Normand-Starr Humanitarian Award. Joey also was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012. Because of her business accomplishments and outstanding service to others she often appears in lists of individuals who are top in their fields.
In 2011 she was selected in the prestigious “Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100™”, Canada’s most recognizable award for the country’s highest-achieving female leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. She was also among More Magazine’s Most Compelling Women over 40 and Women’s Post’s Top 20 Women, 2010 She currently sits on the Board of Trustees of Partners in Health and on the Advisory Board of the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).
Joey has received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business for her numerous achievements in business and in charity and she was the key supporter in the vision and creation of The Global Development Think Tank Watch at the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. The GDTTW is an interactive electronic Journal and thought-provoking publication committed to encouraging interdisciplinary dialogue and insights on important policy research contributions from around the world. Joey Adler currently lives with her family in Montreal, Canada.