Jordan Danger Kent, marketing and user experience manager, DANGER Communications

2017 Forty Under 40 recipient
Jordan Danger Kent

Age: 35

Birthplace: Smithers, B.C.

Company: Marketing and communications support for small and medium-sized businesses and non-profits

Education: Social service worker diploma, Algonquin College (2007); social media management certificate, Algonquin College (2015)

Charitable involvement: Numerous organizations

Biggest biz achievement: I suppose it would be my first blog, the Project: Priceless Free Wedding Experiment. I blogged for 10 months with one goal: to create a wedding for 150 guests for as little money as possible. The blog went internationally viral; I assembled a wedding valued at $40,000 for about $200 out of pocket. It was a life-changing experience and allowed me to showcase my community engagement and marketing skills, and led me to being recruited as marketing director at UsedOttawa.com, which helped me transition into the corporate marketing world after 10 years of non-profit work. I used everything I'd learned in my many years of promotion and community engagement work in non-profits, and it resulted in a heartfelt project that led me into a career path shift that I couldn't have otherwise imagined.

Biggest biz obstacle: As a professional with disabilities, I have faced numerous challenges in finding a career path that was both rewarding as well as accessible to me. The stigmas associated with disabilities have made my journey longer in some areas than it needed to be; but having a disability teaches you to improvise, and that skill has helped me find creative ways to meet my goals. If there's one thing I would say to anyone out there who doubts the abilities of disabled professionals, it's this: having a disability means you learn how to be nimble – to pivot, to improvise; to work smarter, not harder. And we learn very quickly to take nothing for granted – not our health, our success, our paradigms nor our teammates.

Biggest influence: My best friend Michelle. She and I have been inseparable for 14 years. With her support I became the first person in my family to graduate from college, and she always encouraged me to explore all my skills and interests. She's done everything from sitting in cars while I went to job interviews to taking midnight phone calls when I was beyond frustrated with a job challenge. We're very different personalities, and her calmer, gentler approach to life has provided me with the counterbalance I needed for my own type-A approach. She is routinely the voice in my head reminding me to slow down or kick ass, depending on the situation.

Biggest lesson learned: Years ago I attended a meeting where I had to challenge the status quo on a certain non-profit's approach to a client issue. The meeting went terribly, and my proposal was completely shot down for all the wrong reasons. I left the meeting and was talking with an older co-worker who listened to my shock and horror at how poorly everyone had reacted to this very important issue. She turned to me and said, "What did you think was going to happen? You raised your head above the crowd; of course you were going to get whacked in the head. If you want to rise above, you've gotta expect some conflict. It's not always going to be easy to push for what you believe in." This was an important wake-up call, and I never again expected it to be a breeze to stand up for a vision.

First job: Key animator at an animation studio. The director saw my drawings and offered me a job despite the fact I had no formal education.

Advice I’d give the younger me: I would tell my younger self to go for what you really want. Don't compromise just to play it safe. Expect there will be people who throw up roadblocks and make you second-guess your path – but keep going where you want to go. I would remind myself daily that there are many ways to measure success, and sometimes that includes failure!

What’s left to do: I'm always looking for the next opportunity to really make an impact. I like to be where I can incite powerful change and growth for myself, for the community and for organizations. My motto is a quote from Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini: "You have to live spherically – in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm and things will come your way."

Favourite pastime: Ceramics and archery

I’m currently reading: The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, in between volumes of Deadpool comics.

Favourite movie: Die Hard

Favourite song: Roam by Wil Mimnaugh

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa RedBlacks

Favourite local summer event: CityFolk

Preferred social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram

Twitter handle: @jordandangerinc