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Brandon Gonez: “You have to get uncomfortable to get comfortable”

Brandon Gonez, the founder of Gonez Media Inc, energetically shares, among other things, why as a journalist, he had to step away from major news outlets to build his own media company – one that tells news stories reflecting the lived experiences of all communities.

Brandon Gonez in front of the camera

“Initially, my dream was to make it on to a national show, on tv. Because when I had the dream, tv was the biggest thing you can do as a broadcaster, as a journalist,” he recalls. As one of Canada’s most beloved broadcasters, Brandon Gonez is, along with other broadcasters at his former workplace, CP24, one whose career has been encompassing the media industry. He has worked across the country for some of Canada’s most extensive legacy networks, rethinking the sector by creating must-watch content for audiences. In 2021, he launched his own media company, redefining storytelling in Toronto: “we are disrupting an industry that needed to be disrupted,” Gonez says. Today he is kicking it with his ‘The Brandon Gonez Show’ – "a platform for real authentic conversation", as he says, where the biggest names come for sit-down interviews”. From Les Twins to Justin Trudeau: almost everybody in front of the camera did a little of just about everything, no matter the name in the hot seat. And with that, a versatile star was (re)born: he is newsier than other entertainment reporters and more showbiz than other news reporters.

It’s this kind of résumé which, in part, explains why Gonez has never been hemmed in by the conventions of journalistic conduct. As a rising media mogul, who recently topped The Peak’s 2022 Emerging Leaders list, Gonez worked hard, never stopping, never settling.

Brandon Gonez in front of the camera with a gold watch

He offers his own opinions and feelings, acts as a combination of a loving but gimlet-eyed friend, letting human stories take centre stage. He set off on this course early in life, with a ferocious determination heightened by an unconquerable desire to give a voice to all communities. “I loved telling stories, and I just felt like the opportunities to tell the most authentic stories I didn’t get a chance to have. That prism of TV didn’t allow for that to happen, and there were so many people looking for their stories to be told but had no way to do that, or there was no one doing that for them.” 

Brandon Gonez in front of the camera with a gold watch

The interviews follow a series of informally codified rules, leaning towards being conversations. Gonez provides a space in which the interviewees can offer their version of their story to an audience of thousands of people, where he, who is journalistically respectable but essentially sympathetic, conducts the interview in a heart-to-heart manner very few can manoeuvre. During the interview, he seamlessly blends journalistic touches, like the long list of prepared questions that never leaves his mind, with a palpable sense that it’s more of a conversation he’s having with the person in front of him. He leans forward, establishes meaningful eye contact, puts his palms together to denote close attention, and listens. And just like that, whoever he strikes up a conversation with in the hot seat, feels genuinely heard.

Watch the interview below, where Brandon Gonez is the one in the hot seat.

Brandon Gonez with Hennessy decanters in the background

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