Jordan Danger Kent started with Solink just over a year ago. She uses her diverse skill set to lead her team in creating all the marketing material for the company. Jordan works hard to support all the Solink staff and customers with everything they need to understand the product better. Her career has been an interesting one! Learn how Jordan figured out how to unlock her creativity.
What is your job title?
I’m the Director of Marketing for this crazy cool company.
Tell us a bit about your career path, and how you got to where you are now.
I spent the first 7 years of my career working in non-profit; my original degree gave me the flexibility to work not only as a frontline counsellor, but also as a program developer and outreach specialist. These combined skills provided me the foundation for marketing: I was an expert in human behaviour and motivation, I was marketing programs to a range of audiences, and I was used to working with a shoestring budget.
When I made the transition into corporate marketing and communications, I tried a little of everything. I worked as a blogger/influencer, I ran mar/comms for a City Councillor, I was Marketing Director for a digital startup, and I eventually built a boutique marketing strategy firm for myself, and taught various marketing and communications courses at Algonquin College.
Before arriving at Solink, I spent two years embedded with startups and small businesses at our city’s accelerator organization, Invest Ottawa. I worked with about a hundred new businesses and startups during that time, establishing branding, strategy, and talent recruitment. It was that experience that convinced me I wanted to entrench myself with a startup; when the opportunity arose to work at Solink, I was thrilled.
How does working at Solink help you advance your career?
Well first off, I am extremely fortunate to report into a VP (Jim Farrell) who understands the philosophy, “Hire smart people and get out of the way”. With his support, I’ve been able to build a team of amazing marketers and take Solink’s marketing to the next level. And with Solink at such an exciting growth stage, every day there’s a new project or experiment to run.
What do you like about working with the Solink platform?
Having spent many years working closely with brick-and-mortar businesses, I love that Solink helps business owners. It’s so hard to watch an entrepreneur fighting against a slim profit margin when he knows there’s a staff person stealing, but he can’t even spare the time to watch the tapes and catch them. It’s frustrating to watch a small business fail because they were unable to access the same level of business intelligence and data that their giant competitors can access. With Solink, any business can have real visibility into every aspect of their business, from security to operations to inventory. We’re leveling the playing field for businesses of all size by offering a product that’s affordable, flexible, and multi-purpose.
What do you like about working in the marketing department?
Our department creates the marketing and communications for every single department, which means that we get to spend the whole day facilitating the successes of our colleagues. I love that! There’s virtually no project or aspect of the business that we can’t support. We’ve done everything here from branding hardware, to writing manuals, to creating industry-leading online content, to creating tradeshow booths.
Is there anything hard about being a woman in the tech industry?
I think the plethora of books like Lean In, Brotopia, and Feminist Fight Club indicate that there are widespread challenges for women in the tech industry. But there’s power in numbers, and our numbers are increasing. The more I interact with women in tech, the more I feel empowered to ‘own my space’ at the boardroom table, and the more I notice opportunities to bring women to that table with me.
Solink itself has a huge proportion of female staff (around 30%, well above the average), and we began monthly meetups to foster greater networking amongst each other. I also love that we’ve got some amazing diversity advocates among our male colleagues here. It takes a concerted effort to beat the gender statistics like Solink has done. And the best part is that our company benefits from an increase in women leaders, as numerous studies are proving.
Any advice for other women looking to grow their career in tech?
I have the same advice for people of all sexes who might be thinking of transitioning into tech from another industry: have faith that your skills are transferable if you can learn to think laterally. In fact, some of the skills you bring from the ‘outside world’ will vastly improve the company you work for. I’ve returned to school 3 times now, but my first diploma in social work and counselling is the one I probably use the most, because it’s a unique perspective in a tech firm. Don’t think about yourself as an outsider who won’t fit in; think of yourself as the missing piece to the startup puzzle.