Cocktails with: Naomi Rowe

What problems does your business solve?

I realized that when it comes to interviews people get stuck. I’ve seen young adults on their 20s shake during a mock interview and freeze up. As much as we could go on Instagram, texts, and tweet when it comes to real interaction, sometimes it’s like we’ve forgotten how to really make a connection, speak and use our voice and understand that it’s just an interview, and it’s a conversation at the end of the day. You don’t have to freeze up, you could ask the question, you could ask the interviewer to repeat the questions. They’re here to interview you and see who you are. So with the app, we are trying to help people be prepared for interviews, have people be comfortable hearing their own voice.

What is unique about Intervumi?

Intervumi provides mock interviews, which are verbal, there’s also a component where you have multiple-choice questions. These questions are meant to give you more of the educational component when it comes to jobs and what you should be looking for when asked certain types of questions.
 I think the most unique thing about Intervumi is that it’s an intimate and private experience. You’re not going to be critiqued on the spot. You don’t have to feel pressured or defeated. If you’re not answering the questions correctly, you always have the option to go back, review it and kind of critique yourself. You also have the option to send it to people so that they can offer feedback. But really, it provides that one on one time I feel a lot of people need to have before going in for an interview.

What has been the biggest challenge/sacrifice when it comes to starting your own business?

My biggest challenge has been just being a student juggling part-time work, working on the app itself, sitting down and having the time to organize it, do the research behind it, especially being a non-business student. I didn’t have those connections when I started,  so I had to start making those connections on my own. I had to do the networking, going to all these other accelerators, incubators and speaking to them and saying, “Hey, I have an idea. How do I go about doing this? Who do I speak to getting those contacts?” and then following up with those contacts was something that I had to do alongside school work and keep up with assignments.

The entire process has been a whole new learning experience. Through it all, I gained confidence and learned that I had to put some pressure on some people and realize that it’s okay to do that because sometimes you feel like you’re doing too much, but it really isn’t enough.   In addition, getting developers was challenging because I don’t have a background in coding. So really doing my research on who I should ask, different companies, organizations, who can potentially help me within my budget as a student because most of it, in the beginning, was self-funded.

As a black woman in a business/tech space what challenges, if any have you faced? How did you overcome them?

I would say the challenge that I really faced was the fact that I’m young, and I don’t have the background. As a young female entrepreneur, you have to be confident in your product and your service.  Also, in the generation of startups, I realized there’s a lot of platforms out there to uplift, and push women, especially black women in tech and business. Once you get into it, you start to see all these doors open for you and there’s unlimited possibilities and opportunities for us as black women. It’s just for us to step into it, and not waver and know that it’s not going to be easy.  I started this a couple years ago, and I’m still trying to push my platform and really get it out there. But you start making connections along the way and as you make these connections, through networking and word of mouth, etc, things start to move forward. But it’s really you just need to keep going even when things get hard.

What has been the best part of starting your own business?

The best part really is knowing that I can do this and each stepping stone really is a success. I look at it like with each step I’ve completed this challenge and I’m moving forward. Putting myself out there,  networking, and  meeting these people have been small steps forward to where I am today. Right now I work with Sheridan College, and I’m getting involved with Ryerson and the University of Toronto. It’s amazing because I used to be someone who never used to talk a lot,  I just go to class and then work and that was it. Now, I’m really getting out and It’s been a great experience and it’s fulfilling at the same time. There have been small hiccups, but at the end of the day, I have my team, my support system and have a positive mindset. 

What is the best career advice you’ve been given?/What advice would you give to others regarding their careers?

The best career advice that I have gotten was to use every opportunity that I have and this is the same advice I would give someone else. I understand that people go to school and they expect to come out of school and just jump into their careers, which is not the way of the world right now. You have to start somewhere and then move up. So really taking each of those opportunities and making the best out of them is important. For example,  if I want to work for the Ministry of Health, I might have to start off as a clerk, and then from there move my way up, just having my foot through the door, really is all that matters. 

Knowing your end goal is also really important, I think, within your career, you have to have a goal. Where do you see yourself? How are you going to get there? Really map it out, even though not everything is going to be perfect at least you know that if you miss a step, you’ll know where to pick up. 

Also in order to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way,  you have to be prepared. Ask yourself  “Do I have the educational requirement?  Am I meeting new people and networking?  Am I applying to various positions and opportunities?  You have to do the work to get there. 

What are your future plans for Intervumi? 

Right now we’re looking at growing our team and working with institutions, schools, different organizations and employment centres to get Intervumi out there on different platforms. So this is Google Play right now. It’s just on Apple. We’re looking to expand to Google Play, creating a web app, even having our own Career Centre employment Centre in the future. Those are big-time goals in the future. But really, we’re here to change the way interviews are done or how they’re looked at. I want people to know that interviews do not have to be nerve-wracking all the time I know that it’s normal to have a little bit of anxiety but at the same time I want people to know that this is your opportunity and that they want to meet with you and see who you are as a person. So Just have a conversation. Be personable, and show them why you’re the person for the job.  We just want to take interviews to another level and put it back into the individual’s hands. 

Where can we find you?

Intervumi can be found on the Apple Store for now and at  We are also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.