Twelve years in the past, The Hollywood Reporter and Large Brothers Large Sisters of Better Los Angeles joined forces to kind the Girls in Leisure Mentorship Program. Yearly since, high-ranking feminine leisure execs — Netflix’s Cassidy Lange, Starz’ Alison Hoffman and ID PR’s Mara Buxbaum all participated final yr — meet up with highschool junior ladies from underserved communities in South and East Los Angeles, serving to to prepared them for school and past. 4 mentees annually even obtain full-ride scholarships to Loyola Marymount and Chapman College.
Final yr, throughout the pandemic, this system’s 18 mentor-mentee pairings shifted to video conferences. Among the many pairs that needed to adapt have been Kobalt Music government Jeannette Perez and her mentee, Jessica, who have been first matched in November 2019. They’d solely met in individual a number of occasions (together with a dinner in West Hollywood the day earlier than the lockdown) earlier than they needed to transition to digital meet-ups. “Clearly it’s not what we anticipated,” says Perez. “However we have been capable of pivot.”
One upside, although, was that Perez was capable of get a few of her colleagues to drop in on Zooms for mock interviews with Jessica. “I wished to push Jessica out of her consolation zone and assist construct her confidence,” she says, noting it gave her mentee the prospect to ask these different execs — a few of whom attended schools she was making use of to — questions on their profession journeys. “We now have such an intentional program that we’re versatile and make it match for regardless of the college students have been going by,” says Debbie Martinez, supervisor of this system.
The workout routines additionally helped instill Jessica with extra confidence at college. “In AP authorities, I used to be very shy, however because of Jeannette, I discovered to talk up for myself after I disagreed with somebody or after I simply wished to make my voice heard,” says the senior at Amino Watts Constitution Excessive College. Since she was a junior throughout the mentorship, a lot of Perez’s time was spent serving to her together with her faculty utility. They’d pull up their grasp Excel spreadsheet of potential faculties and reap the benefits of the screen-sharing function to undergo faculty essays.
The work paid off, too. Jessica is headed to UCLA within the fall to review political science, with hopes of changing into a civil rights and immigration lawyer. And it seems her conferences with Hollywood executives had some influence on her plans: She desires to minor in movie, tv and digital media even when that doesn’t finally land her within the leisure enterprise. “It’s simply an curiosity that I wish to discover extra,” she says.
Although the pair’s formal mentorship concluded in December of final yr, they determined to maintain up month-to-month Zoom check-ins as Jessica will get able to transition to varsity. “We felt enthusiastic about persevering with the journey and persevering with to verify in on each other,” notes Perez, who’s sitting out this subsequent yr of mentoring as a brand new crop of execs have joined this system (amongst them: Paramount Tv’s Jenna Santoianni, Disney TV’s Janet Day by day and Common’s Tracy St. Pierre.) For Jessica, the prospect to be mentored by the chief has been nothing in need of life-changing: “I don’t suppose I’d be within the place I’m proper now if it weren’t for this system.”
A model of this story first appeared within the Could 12 challenge of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click here to subscribe.