As the Head of Features and Weekend at The Globe and Mail, Gabe Gonda’s agenda is assumedly pretty tight. At least that is what I thought when I contacted him for a chat over coffee — so much so that when I sent that email on a Sunday night, I was ready to get a “no” as a response from him or, even worse, no response at all. But to my surprise, it only took 10 minutes for him to reply, and I promptly discovered that he’s a totally okay guy.
I accidentally met Gabe last October at World’s MasterCard Fashion Week during a speech that Jeanne Beker did in the tent that The Globe and Mail had there. We only spoke for five minutes, exchanging business cards and pleasantries according to the fashion industry’s social code of conduct.
I’m not the kind of person who hoards piles of business cards from events and networking occasions. I actually used to throw most of them away, just so my wallet can close properly and doesn’t look like something that belongs to a person with the Diogenes Syndrome. But this time I didn’t throw Gabe’s business card away. I’ve always been interested in the publishing industry, so I told to myself: “Don’t get rid of it! You’ll never know…”
At the time, I was working as a Digital Marketing Analyst at Stylekick, a Canadian fashion inspiration app based in Toronto, but only three months later I joined Novella Magazine as a Social Media Coordinator and Fashion Features Writer. It was my first time working for a publication and I wanted to talk to someone with a decent amount of years of experience in this field to listen for some advice and opinions.
I eventually started searching LinkedIn for interesting leaders in the industry and, suddenly, I remembered that I had Gabe’s business card! As I said before, I emailed him with no high expectations, but he agreed and we met for a coffee at Bar Buca. He was really friendly and gave me so many useful tips and insights about publishing industry.
During the 30-minute chat that I had with Gabe Gonda I not only learned more than I was expecting career-wise, but also I experienced in first person how busy people aren’t necessarily pretentious and could turn a coffee chat in a friendly yet enriching conversation.