The Young Workers Committee is organizing a unique opportunity for Animation Guild members to participate in an informal one-on-one peer mentoring brunch. The event is planned for Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., at The Animation Guild.
“The first and primary focus for this event is expanding artists’ professional networks. Guild members frequently find out about available positions and get recommendations through contacts at the hiring studio,” says Candice Stephenson, who is leading this effort with fellow Executive Board member J.J. Conway.
When it comes to diversifying hiring, one of the most common unconscious obstacles is people hiring from within their network, which is frequently made up of colleagues from college, a specific studio, and/or friends. These circles can sometimes be very homogenous—race, gender, or in this case, age. The committee hopes that the brunch will offer an alternative forum for people to branch out professionally past their traditional social groups.
“The second focus is sharing knowledge and strengthening bonds between generations,” says Stephenson. “Applicants of all ages and experience might not be aware of a trending artistic look, specific skill or program that’s growing in popularity and, therefore, are missing specific examples of things supervisors are looking for. We talk a lot about mentoring new artists, which we will continue to pursue because of the vast wealth of skill and experience veteran artists have, but we don’t see as much talk about how new artists also have a lot of knowledge that could benefit veteran artists. In schools, they are teaching the latest and greatest software, techniques, and styles. So with those two thoughts in mind: expanding networks and mutual knowledge sharing to better facilitate work for all, the Peer-to-Peer Brunch was born!”
Interested members will be paired up based on similar craft, varied years of experience (junior artists with more senior ones) and perspectives from different studios. An online survey and signup form will be forthcoming, and the event will accommodate approximately 24 peer pairs or 48 members total.
“Since everyone signing up for this event understands its focus, it removes some of the pressure or nervousness that anyone might have reaching out to people at a social event,” says Stephenson. “Additionally, if we want to look at it from a union perspective—a union is only as strong as its member solidarity, and introducing more members to each other in an environment of mutual support will only make us stronger and more unified.”