top of page

Defying the Status Quo & Inspiring the Next Wave of Disruptors: A Conversation with Jess Golden, Director of Talent at Kensington Grey

Jess Golden, a graduate of Ryerson University from Early Childhood Education and Teaching with expertise in sociology and sales, personifies the essence of an inestimable and multifaceted woman! Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Golden has always seen herself as a creative individual and valued artistic forms of expression, with further background in dance and the performing arts. Blossoming from a background concentrated on the arts and education, Golden found herself holding the title of Director of Talent in Lifestyle at Kensington Grey, a Toronto-based influencer and talent agency devoted to diversifying casting, management, and much more for their talents.

Her journey with Kensington Grey began in the fall of 2021, but the journey and story of Jess Golden began way earlier. Oftentimes life as a woman can be challenging. Accordingly, existing as a thriving, versatile, multidimensional woman is even more challenging. For this reason, we were excited to share a conversation with Jess Golden to learn more about her life before and outside her career.

Bolded Text represents questions asked by XBlaze Magazine.

Plain Text represents Jess Golden's response.


Jess Golden LinkedIn profile picture.
Source: Jess Golden via LinkedIn

Who is Jess Golden, and what do you do?
I am the Director of Talent (Lifestyle) at Kensington Grey and have always considered myself to be a “communications professional.” I was born and raised in Toronto and have lived here my whole life. Growing up, I was always very creative. I have a background in dance and performing arts, and although it may not be relevant to my current role, the creative aspect of this industry has always been attractive to me. I am also a happy dog mom to my French Bulldog and wife to my husband.

When I started at Kensington Grey as a talent manager in October of 2021, the talent and influencer industry was new to me. Present day, along with my co-directors, I contribute to the overall growth strategy for Kensington Grey and oversee the talent management team that supports 100+ creators on Kensington Grey’s roster.

Provide some background on your journey or career up to your current position at Kensington Grey.
I went to school for early childhood education, because I was interested in pursuing a teaching career. Even though I enjoyed it at the time, I knew I had to continue my education to earn my credentials. But I wanted to take a break from school to take on more responsibility at my job in retail wine and alcohol sales where I managed two of the busiest stores in the region. I then decided to transfer my skills to sales and operations, and eventually met my match by coming to Kensington Grey. Throughout my career history, I have developed people management skills and have used this expertise to lead my team.

You have a very impressive and versatile background! With a bachelor’s from Ryerson University in Early Childhood Education and knowledge in sociology and sales, what inspired you to join the team at Kensington Grey and work with talents and creators in the lifestyle niche specifically?
Prior to working at Kensington Grey, I had no knowledge of talent management or influencer culture, but through my regular consumption of social media, I grew interested in expanding my understanding of the space. I desired the creative element that Kensington Grey offered, which was lacking in my past role. I wanted to grow with a company, and I knew that there was potential for progress and development at Kensington Grey.

I valued Kensington Grey’s mission of prioritizing diversity and inclusion, both among the employees and creator roster. It’s uncommon to work in a space occupied by many women and people of color, so I appreciate being surrounded by people that look like me. I also wanted to push myself, so I decided to take a risk working in a new industry.

In addition to your diverse career background, education, and experience, is there anything else that you would say makes you stand out as an individual and professional?
Through observing my mother, who is a sociology professor, I developed an understanding of how society functions - specifically, marginalized groups and underrepresented communities. This sociological perspective has helped me in building relationships with people of various backgrounds and in communicating with my team, as well as my clients. Although networking is important, it is necessary to grow a rapport and establish trust between yourself and the people you work with. Having a deeper understanding of how people are affected by their environments has created the people person I am today.

I feel recharged and energized when I’m surrounded by my inner-circle. I will always make a conscious effort to be present in the moment and to disconnect from work, which is especially important in this industry.

As a professional working in a very fast-paced industry, how do you manage your time and balance your work, social life, and personal life? Any go-to self-care practices?
Creating boundaries allows me to set time aside to enjoy free time in my personal life. Naturally, some days are busier than others, but regardless of my workload, I always reserve time to unwind. My favorite forms of self-care include walking my dog, cooking, and spending time with my close friends and family. I feel recharged and energized when I’m surrounded by my inner-circle. I will always make a conscious effort to be present in the moment and to disconnect from work, which is especially important in this industry.

What is your favorite aspect of being a woman? How do you use it to uplift or encourage other women around you?
Women are equally incredible and powerful. Through our strength, unity and shared experiences, we’re able to uplift each other as a unit through nurture and support. We are more than deserving of the praise and flowers that we receive. Kensington Grey is predominantly staffed by women, and it’s beautiful to see so many ladies excelling at the senior leadership level. Even more importantly, we’re women of color and it’s inspiring to be a part of such an uplifting team.

What would be your number one piece of advice for women and girls beginning to navigate adulthood, given the many pressures and injustices women encounter in life?
I would advise women and girls to always advocate for themselves. Self-discovery includes finding your voice and using it to stand up for what you believe in. It can be difficult to feel confident in your assertions, and while perspectives will shift as you continue to grow, self-advocacy is necessary. Remember to be loud, proud and don't let people rain on your parade.

Who are a few women you would like to highlight or recognize for their contributions to your life thus far?
I admire my mother for the strength she upheld while raising me as a single mom. She taught me to use my voice to advocate for myself, to stand rooted in my values, and to never take ‘no’ for an answer, which are values that I will forever employ.

In my day to day, my inspirations are the women who work at Kensington Grey. I am both honored and feel lucky to work with a team of badass women, who possess an immense amount of talent and hold such unique perspectives. I'm constantly learning from them and I truly feel honored to get to work with these ladies every day.

What advice would you give to aspiring creators with no knowledge on how to grow their social presence?
Creators should figure out who they are, how they want to show up, and what their voice is. It’s important to lean into your uniqueness and your authenticity, especially in such a saturated industry where it’s necessary to be unique in order to stand out. Remaining true to yourself and building a comfortable community is vital, allowing you to provide value and insight to your audience.

Jess Golden at Kensington Grey
Source: Kensington Grey via official website

Where do you see yourself as an individual and professional in the next five years?
Most people would say, “I want to be CEO. I want to be making a million dollars. I want to be doing all these things!” Sure, I would love to earn those accomplishments, but ultimately, I want to be in a constant state of growth. I value positive change as an individual and not just in my title. I also want to be able to help other people grow, which is one of the reasons why I love talent management. I love celebrating other people's success stories, just as much as I love celebrating my own. So, in the next five years, I want to feel as though I'm creating change in others as much as I am within myself. If I happen to earn a million dollars in the process, that's just an added perk.

Special thank you to AM PR and Kensington Grey for the opportunity!


Written by Torera of XBlaze Magazine

Original and Intellectual Property of XBlaze Magazine, All Rights Reserved ©

bottom of page