GEMA held its 13th Annual Careers in Entertainment and Media Panel Discussion on October 15, 2014 at the Georgetown Alumni House. The room was filled with eager students excited to learn from the distinguished alumni panelists.
This year’s panelists hailed from a range of professions and included Peter Biché (B ’78), Chief Financial Officer, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, based in Washington, DC, Greg Macek (C ’96, L ’00), Principal Counsel, ABC Inc/The Walt Disney Company, based in New York City, Diana Williams (B ’89), Lucasfilm Story Group; Producer, based in Los Angeles, and Sara Ghaith (MBA ’00), Director, Global Strategy and Business Development, National Geographic Society based in Washington, DC.
The panel was moderated by Jody Arlington (C ’93), Co-Founder and Director, Impact Film Festival, and past Director of GEMA DC.
A number of interesting themes emerged from the conversation with the panelists – insights ranged from getting that big break to how to keep the career momentum, the pitfalls of the business, and how to navigate the field as technology transforms our viewing habits and information consumption.
Peter Biché suggested that “You have got to play a long game. You have to take advantage of the opportunities as they come.” He also described the importance of networking, ““It’s a network. And that sounds Machiavellian, but it’s a network.”
Greg Macek explained the importance of “…making opportunities for yourself. It’s making sure that you’re putting yourself in the position to be in the right place at the right time, but also actually taking advantage of those opportunities when they come up.”
Diana Williams described how your path may change over time, but it’s the foundation that’s important, “I’m really glad I didn’t go to film school because I feel like I offer so much more to what I’m doing now.” She also spoke to the importance of following your vision, “You just have to go with what you think you can speak to, where you think you stand really firmly, and just be ready.”
Sara Ghaith, discussed core values of generations and how millennials are stepping it up and becoming incredible leaders. Sara shared a story about a colleague who voiced frustration about millennials being cocky. Sara countered the opinion based on her experience with interns that it is just a misperception.”You can look at it as being confident about what they want to achieve.” She did caution millennials to be aware of that perception when going for a job interview.
The panelists shared insights and anecdotes about their career paths, the impact of Georgetown on their careers, and also offered tips on how to get started and find success in the entertainment and media industries. There were numerous questions from the audience and a lively reception followed. Attendees were able to meet the panelists one-on-one afterward for follow up on the conversation, access only possible by programs such as this partnership with Alumni Career Services and the Cawley Career Education Center.
By Mitch Peyser (MBA ’98)