Dani Roche; Toronto; @daniesque
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I would probably start off by asking what your Myers Briggs personality test was so I could subsequently tell you mine (ISFJ). Then I’d tell you that my name is Dani Roche, I am the founder and director of a digital and experiences agency, Kastor & Pollux, the creative director of a unisex outerwear brand, Biannual, and a typical Scorpio.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I graduated from York University and Sheridan College’s joint program in design.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
Managing editor of MTV Canada’s fashion/beauty/lifestyle vertical, Fora.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
I don’t think I had any moment that made me feel like I could rest easy. I’m my own biggest critic and I’ve never felt satisfied over the course of 10+ years lurking in digital spaces. I think all my experiences—from starting two businesses and losing a business partner and quitting two jobs—have kind of lead me to where I am now. That said, I do feel very accomplished and lucky to be in a position now where I can provide opportunities and mentor creatives early in their careers.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
The shining, stand-out moments are definitely those when my team tells me that they appreciate me, believe in my vision and are proud and happy to come in to work every day. I try to give everyone ownership over their projects and their stakes in building the brand.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
Generally, I’m way too emotionally invested. In a lot of ways, I think this is actually a positive thing, but I can say that I definitely have very little separation between work and life. I’m working on picking up a hobby that lives completely separately from my business.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Always stay humble and always stay curious. Stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your respective industry, but try not to compare yourself to others! Also, don’t limit yourself by trying to fit into what already exists.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
I’ve been told multiple times that I shouldn’t hire my friends.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
I think women are subject to discrimination no matter the field. I’ve heard so many different things about my gender, age, race—but these things have only made me more conscious of the fact that I need to continue to speak up for what I believe in. I will not let others tell me that my gender limits me.
Do you have a side hustle/day job for extra cash? If so, what is it?
I’m an entrepreneur and don’t consider any of my businesses a “side hustle.”
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
The common misconception is that millennials are lazy and entitled. In reality, times are just changing. There’s an increasing hesitancy to work a 9–5 job because millennials are so in-tune with an entrepreneurial spirit. Something that might’ve seen daunting to our parents is now intuitive to us.
Photographer, Nathan Cyprys; stylist, Corey Ng, P1M; hair, Cia Mandarello, P1M; makeup: Vanessa Jarman, P1M.