I first discovered the AWMSoCal Speed Mentoring event two years ago. I was a year out of college and completely lost. I knew I wanted to work in the entertainment industry, specifically in film and television. I just didn’t know how to break in or what steps to take to get me to the point of doing a good job once I did break in. So when I saw a Facebook posting about AWMSoCal’s Speed Mentoring event, I knew I had to participate.
Speed Mentoring is held at Carla’s Café on the CBS Radford lot. It is modeled after the speed-dating concept. Mentors (industry professionals in media) sit across from mentees (students, those looking to break in or those looking for a career change), and give valuable career advice through one-on-one conversations. A five-minute stopwatch marks the time and when the bell rings – time is up. Mentees move down the line to the next mentor.
Back then, participating in the Speed Mentoring event as a mentee was actually life changing for me. At the event, I met Cali T. Rossen, who brought me onto her show, “3 Orbs of Light”, where I ended up writing and directing the pilot episode. I met Jennifer Yeko, who ended up being a good friend of mine – she referred me for an office space right across the hall from her. I also met K.C. Tuckness and Michelle Patterson who ended up participating on a panel event I put together called “Women Leaders in Media”. All these connections came through just five minutes of speaking with these knowledgeable and accomplished women at the event. I couldn’t wait to participate in the event once again!
Two years later, I found myself back at Speed Mentoring – except this time, I was a mentor instead of a mentee! Since my first appearance at the event, I’d started my own company, Prophecy Girl Films, and had worked with many high-profile clients including the International Documentary Association, HBO’s Emmy Nominated documentary American Winter and Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner selectee, My Guardian Angel. Attending the event the first time as a mentee actually helped me land some of these deals, and propelled my career to the next level. But as a mentor, it was a whole new experience – and just as fruitful!
This year I met with some wonderful mentees – aspiring writers, actors, sports journalists, producers, and more, all with wonderful stories of their own, and insightful questions. One mentee asked me a great question - “What is the worst career advice someone has given you?” Another mentee asked me about the interview process and what’s the best way to follow up with an employer even if you aren’t hired. A couple of mentees I met had projects they wanted to hire my company for. A few others had skills that I needed for my company for freelance work. This mutually beneficial relationship between mentors and mentees is what really makes the Speed Mentoring event so successful.
Besides the wonderful mentees, I also managed to meet some delightful fellow mentors – including two television producers, a news anchor, and a comedy writer – and have kept in touch with everyone I met at the event. The mentors were all wonderful men and women with insightful knowledge and good attitudes. They were happy to help the mentees, and were great at fostering connections between everyone involved with the event.
AWM SoCal always puts together great events, and I like attending them all – but Speed Mentoring is probably my favorite. Where else are you going to get to meet with the best in the business and make meaningful connections with them? If there’s any event that’s worth spending a Sunday morning at (and hey they have breakfast on site too) it’s this one. As for me, be it as a mentor or mentee, I’m already looking forward to the next Speed Mentoring session!
- Minoti Vaishnav
To see photos from Speed Mentoring 2015 at Carla's Cafe at CBS Radford, click here.
Click here to see a video testimonial from Daniela D'Angelo, mentor at Speed Mentoring 2015.
Click here to see a video testimonial from James Cross, mentor at Speed Mentoring 2015.