DGA TV Director Mentorship Program Graduates Inaugural Participants

DDI Graduation 2018

February 20, 2018

As part of the DGA's decades-long commitment to pushing for industry inclusion, the Guild on Thursday, February 15 held a graduation ceremony for the inaugural participants of its Television Director Mentorship Program. Part of the DGA’s Director Development Initiative (DDI) for members – which focuses on education, networking and career development – the mentorship program paired members who aspire to expand their TV-directing careers (protégés) with veteran directors (mentors) who served as their professional guides to the working world of episodic television throughout the 2017-18 season. Participants in the structured, intensive career development program were matched based on their work experience, interpersonal chemistry and mutual craft interests to ensure a fulfilling experience.

During the evening, the attendees heard from several speakers including: DGA President Thomas Schlamme, Director Jessica Lowrey who spoke on behalf of the protégés, DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Todd Holland who delivered the “Mentors’ Moment” and DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity Programs and Committees Frank Bennett Gonzalez. The assembled also heard from mentors and protégés in attendance including DGA Past President Paris Barclay who both championed the program during his term and served as a mentor, and DGA Women’s Steering Committee Co-Chair A. Laura James.

The spirit of the evening was summed up by Schlamme who, in his opening remarks, said: “This is a joyous occasion commemorating the culmination – not only of the last nine months that our mentors and protégés have worked together – but also of the past couple of years as the DDI transformed from an idea into a reality.”

After praising the work of his predecessor Barclay for making the program a reality, Schlamme spoke about the history behind its creation. “Over the last few decades, our Guild has built up an impressive arsenal of tools pushing industry employers to ensure the inclusion of women and people of color in the director’s chair. It’s been a long, tough struggle and we’ve finally begun seeing some measurable progress. In an effort to build on that success, we turned to our members to ask what more they needed. We heard over and over again that there was an appetite for education, career development and networking opportunities. So we got busy building the next phase of our efforts to ensure that our members are best positioned to take advantage of new opportunities – allowing them to convert those first few jobs into sustainable careers.”

Thanking Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs Holland and Bethany Rooney, who volunteered hundreds of hours working with Gonzalez to bring the DDI to life through career and craft workshops and labs and ultimately the mentorship program, Schlamme then turned his attentions to the program participants, starting with the DGA members who stepped up as mentors. “You embody the spirit that drove the formation of this Guild over 80 years ago: Active working directors extending a hand and leading the way for their fellow Directors.”

And to the protégés, Schlamme continued, “Your talent, resolve and determination have brought you to this moment. We can’t wait to see where your talent takes you next. I ask you one thing before you switch the tassels on your mortarboards – take a pause right now to remember the power of this moment. Because in a few years, as your careers soar – you’ll be able to pay it forward, lending a hand to your fellow Guild members behind you. Congratulations to our 2018 graduating class!”

The 2017 Protégé participants were:
  • Heather Cappiello
  • Efrain Cortes
  • Daniella Eisman
  • Liz R. Hinlein
  • A. Laura James
  • Lena Khan
  • Paige Morrow Kimball
  • Steven J. Kung
  • Jessica Lowrey
  • Kimberly Anne McCullough
  • Ramaa D. Mosley
  • Steven T. Murashige
  • Kim O. Nguyen
  • Viet Nguyen
  • Jerry Pyle       
  • Pascui Rivas
  • Luciano Saber
  • Marcus C. Stokes
  • Valerie Heather Weiss
  • Aprill Lynn Winney
The 2017 Mentor participants were:
  • Allan Arkush
  • Jamie Merrill Babbit
  • Norberto Barba
  • Paris Barclay
  • Andy Cadiff
  • Roxann Dawson
  • Bill D'Elia
  • Rodrigo Garcia
  • Lesli Linka Glatter
  • Todd Holland
  • Michael R. Katleman
  • Bob Koherr
  • Gail Mancuso
  • Tawnia Cannell McKiernan
  • Terrence J. O'Hara
  • Edward Ornelas
  • Bethany Rooney
  • David R. Semel
  • Phil Traill
  • Ron Underwood
  • Andy Wolk

Photos by Elisa Haber