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Emily Ward & Jess Hunichen

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.

Emily Ward & Jess Hunichen are up.

Emily Ward & Jess Hunichen

Who are you and what do you do?

We, Emily Ward and Jess Hunichen, are the Co-Founders of Shine Talent Group and the soon-to-launch project management tool for Talent Managers, The Thread.

What did it take / how did you get started?

We started Shine back in 2015 originally as a boutique PR firm. Competition was high for work, so we decided to branch out and create a talent management division for social talent called Shine Influencers to attract more PR clients. It ended up being just what the industry needed at the time and now we have 60 employees who represent more than 200 exclusive talent across Canada and the US, with a third international market in the works.

What does the future look like for you and your hustle?

We have always been moved by what excites us. While what we do is hard, it never feels like hard work because it stems from a place of true enthusiasm for an idea. For the immediate future, we are proudly expanding Shine into the UK with the opening of our London office. We will also officially launch The Thread: our project management tool built from the perspective of talent managers, created to simplify and streamline the talent management process, scaling back the admin so teams can spend more time ‘managing’.

What drives / motivates you?

The team’s happiness and, in general, setting the example that it’s possible to nurture great success while operating kindly in this world.

What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?

Your network of both brands, agencies and talent will be a strong asset no matter what role in the industry you take, so cultivate strong relationships and keep good people you meet close. And since there are few courses and degrees that specialize in talent management - become your own teacher. Seek out mentors, read articles, listen to podcasts and share the good nuggets with those around you.

What has been the hardest part of the hustle?

The growing pains can be challenging and we don’t think people talk about them enough. Shine has had some tremendous growth and just when we thought we would have the most ideal structure, we had to adapt and evolve to be what the future needed us to be. You don’t always get to stay where you are comfortable, but if you can get into the flow of where the growth is taking you versus trying to control the process, the end result can be better than you imagined.

What are a few resources that you'd recommend?

We listen to a ton of podcasts and love ones like How I Built This, that focus on the entrepreneurial journey. We also learn a lot about the emotional intelligence and soft skills needed to be a strong leader through interviews with Glennon Doyle, Oprah, Brene Brown and Lewis Howes. We are forever on a learning journey.


Side or full-time hustle?

Full Time. All in.

List the founders

Emily Ward & Jess Hunichen.

How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?

Great question! The work excites us so we now have to consciously turn off the work brain to avoid burnout and leave room for creativity to fuel other parts of our lives. While the work can be intense, we do advocate for our team (and each other) to keep a balance and recognize the benefits of ‘off’ time.

# of Employees?

To date, we are at 60 full time employees and 2 part-time employees

When did you start?

January 2, 2015

How much did it cost to launch?

The cost of a business license, a basic website, and some great business cards on thick cardstock….maybe $1,500?

What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?

Self funded all the way.

Annual Revenue?

Not provided.

Projected Revenue?

Not provided.

Any call to action?

Always reach out to Shine if you have a question about the industry or need some advice. We sincerely are still in touch with some of the original interns who worked with us 8 years ago and know the value of strong relationships and rising each other up in the industry.


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