TIME’S UP Entertainment
Who’s in the Room: A Mentorship Program to Help Diversify the Executive and Producer Ranks of the Industry
Launched in 2019, Who’s in the Room aims to increase representation in the executive and producer ranks by training young and diverse execs on the rise to become leaders in the room where decisions are made.
Core to Who’s in the Room is an understanding that many people leave the industry at the assistant level because they lack the support to overcome substantial cultural and economic barriers. Who’s in the Room addresses those barriers and helps participants get a foothold in an elusive and historically exclusionary industry.
Founded by a steering committee of senior executive leaders in entertainment, all of the Who’s in the Room mentees receive hands-on professional experience and personal encouragement. Our entertainment industry-specific curriculum, financial aid flex-fund, and lively networking opportunities have already set up the inaugural class of 2019 to excel.
Daniel Yu, an assistant to Fox Searchlight’s Matthew Greenfield, described the experience to the Los Angeles Times as “action-oriented,” designed to give participants practical tools to become an executive. He says he’s learned “things like being literate in film and TV classics so you can speak the same language as writers and directors, learning your boss’s taste so you can be a great assistant, and dealing with office politics. I’ve found [Who’s in the Room] immensely helpful.”
Within the first six months of Who’s in the Room program launch, over 50 percent of our 2019 mentees were promoted.
My mentor gave me tools and tips to be prepared for every interview and [taught me] how to put together my packages.… In a big city like [L.A.] where you can feel so lost, it’s nice to have people who truly care about you.Bola Fapohunda, entertainment professional
Photo: © Skandia Shafer
“My mentor gave me tools and tips to be prepared for every interview and [taught me] how to put together my packages,” said Bola Fapohunda, now a creative executive at Color Force, a job sourced through our program. “She sent me flowers on my first day of work. In a big city like [L.A.] where you can feel so lost, it’s nice to have people who truly care about you.”
Ultimately, our aim for Who’s in the Room is to flood the market with diverse executives and help our mentees build a powerful network of peers and mentors who will support them throughout their entire career.
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