Zita Cobb is founder and CEO of Shorefast and innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn. A registered Canadian charity, Shorefast uses business-minded means to help secure economic and cultural resilience for Fogo Island, one of Canada’s oldest settlements. After graduating high school on Fogo Island, Zita left to pursue university studies and built a successful career in high-tech. She is best known for her work at JDS Fitel, subsequently JDS Uniphase, where she contributed to building the company into a leading technology innovator.
After retiring as VP of strategy at JDS Uniphase, Zita returned to her home of Fogo Island to help grow another leg on the economy to complement the island’s fishery. Shorefast’s notable achievements to date comprise a holistic set of charitable initiatives, including the world-class artist-in-residence program Fogo Island Arts and three innovative social businesses whose operating surpluses are returned to Shorefast for reinvestment in further community development work. Specifically, Shorefast is behind the award-winning, 29-suite Fogo Island Inn, the Woodshop on Fogo Island and Fogo Island Fish. The organization has pioneered the innovative practice “economic nutrition labelling” for its social businesses, transparently demonstrating “where the money goes.” Shorefast’s model is both unwaveringly specific and infinitely spreadable, holding relevance for communities worldwide.
In 2016, Zita was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of Shorefast’s work in collaboration with the community of Fogo Island to help secure a more resilient future for this singular rural place.
Zita Cobb will deliver the keynote address at the conference Day Two luncheon.