As a group of women working towards common goals for STYLE Canada‘s brand and business, we understand the value of peer support in the workplace. So, we decided to bring like-minded ladies in business together for dinner with Soho House Toronto last Fall to discuss how they got sh*t done while supporting one another. STYLE’s Supper Club at Soho House has now become a quarterly event for storytelling, networking, inspiring, and so much more.
After this month’s Supper Club, we decided to feature the women who make these events as beneficial and empowering as they are, and we’ll continue to feature them throughout the year in our #LeadingLadies series. Here’s hoping that we’ll see you at our next Supper Club. Keep your eyes peeled on our events page for more details.
Dani Matte – Founder and President of NBP Group
Industries: Media, public relations, events, and branding
Side Hustle: Professional choreography
SC: What led you to pursue your career?
DM: Let me start by saying I have been incredibly blessed for the path that my career has taken me down. The ups and the downs, because each part has been integral to me becoming the person I am today. A lifetime ago I was a professional dancer in the commercial and contemporary industry, working the grind in television, film, and live events. After graduating from Western University, I launched a company in entertainment management called MOI Mgmt (which I still have now!) to represent performers and build long term strategic paths to capture success over numerous platforms.
MOI led me to a stint in public relations handling live events and media outreach, including six seasons of what was then L’Oreal Fashion Week. This is where I met Jake Gold, a renowned music manager in Toronto. Jake and I spent four years as partners building a producer management roster for his company, and I learned so much from him. It was then that I started working with incredibly gifted producer Doc McKinney, and everything changed. Doc and I formed a company called DM2 Management, signed Spooky Black, Psymun and Bobbie Raps; inked a partnership deal with ROCNATION, worked closely with The Weeknd and a number of other high-profile artists in the USA. It was a wild, exciting ride!
While back and forth from Los Angeles, I began building out public relations strategies alongside strategic management projects and came back to Canada full-time to handle the inaugural TOM*FW as director of celebrity relations. Once that project was over, I dedicated my time to building a public relations company and put roots down in Toronto. Fast forward five years of PR-life, full of incredible experiences, live events, launches, and fashion weeks in Toronto, New York, and London – The NBP Group is a culmination of everything I’ve done in my career, every experience, under one roof.
SC: What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?
DM: I think for anyone in pursuit of a passion, obstacles are an integral part of the journey. No one is exempt from experiencing them and I’ve had plenty. The biggest was being a young female in a male dominated music industry and learning to trust my voice and instincts. Being recognized and respected for my own talent and intelligence was a real challenge, especially when sitting at a table with some of the most powerful people in the industry. I’ve been judged and demeaned, faced harsh criticism from others who didn’t know my story, and I had to learn to ignore those people and their arrogant ideas of how I made it as far as I did. I’ve built a thick skin and developed a strong personality which has helped me a lot, but at the same time have been learning how to open myself up more. That vulnerability is an asset in business.
SC: What is your greatest achievement over the past decade?
DM: The public relations industry is in a period of change, and to me this is the most exciting part. We strive to think ahead of the curve in public relations and branding, which is something I know well from my strategic management background. The industry is always full of new outlets, new opportunities, and new voices, and getting the opportunity to work so closely with them is something that makes me love working everyday. Watching creativity come to life, whether it be in the form of a product, service, visualization, or live event, you really get to sit back and say: ‘wow this is so inspiring!’. That fuels what I do everyday.
SC: What challenges do you face in your position?
DM: When you own a business, the livelihoods of your staff rest on your shoulders, as does the happiness of your clients and the success of your business as a whole; not to mention your own job. The weight of this can take a toll on your personal well-being, which is something I’ve been working on. It’s easy to get very focused on all your responsibilities and convince yourself that everything is urgent. It can get quite heavy. But, I have been focused on finding time to decompress knowing that doing so will result in something better.
SC: As the founder of an agency, you’ve got so much to manage. How do you do it all without getting overwhelmed?
DM: I focus on the task at hand. You know the saying, ‘one step at a time’? Well, that’s how I go through my days. I make a list and instead of looking at how long it is, I stay focused on what’s important to get done. Compartmentalizing is also incredibly important.
SC: Do you have a side hustle?
DM: I believe that everyone needs an outlet. Some like to run, some hit the gym, and I create works through dance. It fuels my creativity and it’s a hustle that used to be full-time, which will always be a part of my life. In public relations, we’re inherently creative people, using words and messages to capture an audience through the form of media coverage. Part of the fuel for my career comes from spending my weekends training and developing young dancers, creating pieces of art, and watching them come to life. This creative outlet provides me with clarity to take on my work with a different perspective. The two give me balance. It’s weird, right? How a time consuming side hustle can bring you balance?
SC: What are your top tips for staying organized?
DM: Write it down! This is crucial. When you put it on paper, you get all the thoughts in your head out and you can think clearly about how to complete each task. I keep different notebooks for different responsibilities in the business and date everything to stay on track.
SC: What are your top tips for time management?
DM: Tackle the biggest task first thing the morning. In this line of work, it’s easy to get caught up in reactionary responsibilities and get stuck in your emails. These often require quick responses which can drive your focus away from larger, more in-depth projects. Set deadlines and keep track of them. And most importantly, put your smartphone down.
SC: As a public relations expert, you’re always in communication with others. How do you make the time to take yourself out of that headspace and communicate with yourself?
DM: I’ve been in a constant battle with this, to be honest. I work seven days a week, I always have one ear tuned in, and rarely ever shut off. But I’ve realized with age and maturity, its necessary to take time and listen to yourself. I have a constant internal dialogue happening and when I can hear it say ‘no’, then I know it’s time to shut off. Changing up the scenery around me and spending time outside in nature is a great reset.
This interview has been condensed and edited by STYLE Canada.