Photo by Ron Hill
“Prioritize the social-emotional needs of your talent.”
Ronald ‘Wink’ Woodall is a talent manager extraordinaire and CEO of The Talent Connect. His talent management company has secured talent for networks like CBS, ABC, and NBC. His clients include NAACP Image Award nominee Tobias Truvillion (Empire, First Wives Club, Equal Standard), who starred as the male lead in Soulidifly Productions’ Love Dot Com: The Social Experiment; and millennial multi-talent Terayle Hill (Step Up, SuperFly, House of Payne). Wink established The Talent Connect in 2015 after decades of experience in the arts.
Photo by Tobias Truvillion
As a child in the 80s, Wink joined the Black Spectrum Theater in Queens, New York. Under the tutelage of director Carl Clay, he fell in love with the arts and always stayed involved. He managed to become the lead character in several theater productions, was featured in several local print/modeling campaigns, and eventually participated in events like BET’s Rip the Runway. As a student at Hofstra University in the 90s, Wink was the special affairs chairman of the African People’s Organization (APO). After putting on several events for the school, he discovered he had a gift for working with and booking talent. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s in education, and decades of experience in the entertainment arena, he carved out a unique niche in the new millennium that incorporates his experience across the realms of counseling, education, and entertainment.
Some may describe Wink’s work as an ‘industry guidance counselor.’ He makes it a point to prioritize his client’s well-being. “There is a direct association between the role of a guidance counselor and a talent manager,” Wink says. “Both practitioners are working with individuals who are looking for assistance with their future.” The job of a talent manager requires an understanding of where each client is in their career, gaining insights into their career goals, working with talent to create a path that will allow them to accomplish their goals, and then having the relationships and know-how to access those endeavors. “Along the way, there are checkpoints to assess the effectiveness of the process as well as checking in with the talent to see if their needs may have changed,” he says.
Photo by Karriem Simmon
While working with talent to maximize their full potential through booking productions and/or creating opportunities that are aligned with their brands, Wink prioritizes their social-emotional needs. “More and more public figures like Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, and Justin Bieber have recently publicly acknowledged the importance of their mental health and their commitment to making it a priority,” Wink says. “It’s time for mental health to be normalized just like physical health. If you feel it’s important to have a personal trainer, then you should also feel it’s important to have a personal therapist. This is critical, especially in a demanding entertainment industry.”
The Talent Connect recently launched an online store that promotes industry-related self-affirmation and other motivational products. “ We want to support talent at all phases of their creative journey,” he says. “We want to encourage all talent to tap in and get connected to help them stay grounded and empowered while pursuing their dreams.”