By Lee Alan Hill
Special to TelevisionWeek
NAMIC’s second annual Creative Summit in Los Angeles and its first-ever such event in New York will provide “a chance for people who might not have access to [cable television] executives and others on the creative side of the industry to meet and learn about each other,” summit co-chair Lisa Brown said.
The West Coast Summit on April 29, which takes place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, will be highlighted by luncheon speaker Ruby Dee, who will discuss her career and answer questions. Ms. Dee will also be on hand at the Vision Awards following the summit to accept a posthumous North Star Award on behalf of her late husband, Ossie Davis.
Last year’s inaugural Creative Summit went so well, said co-Chair Andrew Givens, that the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications decided to offer an additional event this year in New York. That summit is scheduled for May 9 at the Marriott Marquis on Broadway.
“We heard from a lot of the West Coast companies and organizations that they thought there was a need to have the same experience on the East Coast,” Mr. Givens said.
Attendance for the 2004 Los Angeles summit, a two-day event, reached 300. Mr. Givens predicts at least a 50 percent increase for this year’s one-day summit. He said another 400 to 500 attendees are expected at the East Coast Creative Summit.
The subjects of the panels will vary on each coast. Some of the topics to be covered at the Beverly Hills event include “Multi-Cultural Marketing,” “The Creative Process from A to Z” and “Getting Your Foot in the Door and What to Do When You Get There.” In New York, the panels cover “How to Be a Chameleon,” for people trying to switch industries and careers, a “Network Showcase” and one that will feature students and professors focusing on gaining entry to the industry.
Among the scheduled participants are talent agent Patty Woo, producer Ralph Farquhar and Ken Werner, executive VP of network distribution for The WB.
“There are a few changes this year,” Ms. Brown said. “We’ve reached out more extensively to [the Screen Actors Guild], the [Writers Guild of America] and the other guilds. They have been helpful in the past and now are more involved and incredibly supportive. We’ve also reached out to several of the colleges with film programs in Southern California and on the East Coast.”
NAMIC’s work to create access to the industry has received kudos from past participants. “Anytime you get professionals in a specific industry together there are enormous possibilities,” said Terrie Williams, who runs a PR and marketing firm bearing her name and is also a motivational speaker and the author of “The Personal Touch,” a how-to book for job seekers.
“The networking at a NAMIC Creative Summit is incredible,” said Ms. Williams, who attended last year. “The relationships you create are invaluable.”
A career expo or job fair runs from 5-7 p.m., following the panels on each coast. Ms. Brown said last year’s expo attracted 50 participating companies, organizations and recruiters, a number that is expected to increase this year.
Companies confirmed to send representatives include Univision, the Screen Actors Guild, the Tennis Channel, Nickelodeon and MTV Networks.
“What NAMIC does is fill a room with a group of people with incredible creativity waiting to be tapped and say, ‘Here. Meet each other. Talk. Get to know each other,'” Ms. Williams said. “Then if there are still executives who turn around and say they can’t find qualified people from diverse backgrounds for jobs, those become very hollow and telling words.”