CEO, Gonez Media Inc.
What motivated you to start Canada’s fastest-growing online media company, Gonez Media Inc., following your career in legacy media?
It was time to shake the room! Canada’s media landscape has not been serving Canadians the way they deserve to be served. It was very clear that there were way too many stories that were not being told, especially stories relating to people of colour. On top of that, so much Canadian talent had no platform to share all the amazing work they were creating. I wanted to fill that gap. That’s why I started Gonez Media Inc. (GMI). I’ve always dreamed of starting my own media company and felt this was the perfect opportunity to take that risk and give it a try. With technology changing at light speed and Canadians abandoning traditional media, I wanted to create a platform where Canadians could receive their news, information, and entertainment right at their fingertips.
What challenges did you face building your business, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was finding the financial resources to make this dream a reality. It’s not cheap to build a media company from the ground up. It requires so many things, including production equipment, marketing, payroll, and more. These can add up very quickly. Fortunately, I put together a solid business plan that aimed to address these hurdles and had a great team to execute this plan. But also a team that truly believes in the vision. The other big challenge was making other people — advertisers and audiences — believe that this vision was a credible one worthy of their time and investment. We did that by staying committed to our mission of consistency and finding and sharing the stories that are not being told.
What do you believe are the fundamental forces shaping the future of work in Canada? What trends should businesses consider following?
Everything is being disrupted. The archaic ways of doing things in a traditional stringent 9 to 5 office model are quickly becoming archaic. Yes, structure is still essential, but flexibility is the present and future. That includes flexibility with work locations and hours. That also includes flexibility in the consumption of content. Companies and industries must adapt to this new model or risk quickly becoming irrelevant. Just look at legacy media and the severe challenges they’re going through. It’s very difficult to find anyone sitting down to watch a show or newscast at a set time. People choose when they want their content, which is why our digital distribution model and our productions, like News You Can Use and The Brandon Gonez Show, have been so successful, leading to significant audience growth.
How have you pivoted your business to adapt to the future of work?
Gonez Media Inc. (GMI) was born at the height of the pandemic. So everything about the future of work is actually in our DNA. Flexibility in location, the flexibility of work hours etc., is part of our business model. This isn’t the future of work for us; it’s how we work right now and will continue to do so. Our talent is top-notch because GMI has met their expectation of how work should look, and that, in return, produces a team that is eager to see the business’s success.
How did upskilling and continuing education get you to where you are in your career today? What advice do you have for those considering upskilling to advance their careers?
Continuous learning is part of the equation to being and remaining successful. I’m a trained journalist; it’s what I studied in school. But, I’ve also taken time throughout my career to learn and understand business fundamentals. For me, I looked at it as an investment in myself. At the time, I may not have needed those extra skills, but since I started my own business and media company, those skills are definitely coming in handy and leading to GMI’s success! So, anyone reading this, I would definitely encourage you to always continue learning, especially if it’s offered for free at your employer. Take advantage of those benefits because, at some point in life, you’ll be able to tap into those skills and see the benefit of that investment. Remember, the biggest bet and investment you should always make is in yourself!