When Peabody and multi-award-winning executive producer Margaret "Peggy" Kim made the transition from broadcast and cable to the digital media space a decade ago, it ignited her passion for entertaining and supporting the 18-34 demographic. It also sparked her creation of iSTAND Media and iSTANDtv, a content studio and online mobile platform for fresh, eye-opening and uplifting storytelling. As iSTAND Founder and President, Peggy aims to promote the work that young people want to be a part of, providing unique exposure opportunities for college and film school students. Now she's taking an even bigger stand, as the creator of the upcoming Future Now Media and Entertainment Conference, a way to help grow next gen media and entertainment leaders.
Peggy (pictured) and I discussed her dedication to inspiring and supporting Millennials and Gen Z, her personal experiences as a mentor and how they all came together to form the upcoming conference.
Chelsea Szabo: What is Future Now?
Peggy Kim: It's the first conference of its kind, bringing together college and graduate students who are serious about pursuing careers in the media and entertainment field with today's top executives, thought leaders and professionals. Students will have the opportunity to hear from leaders in the industry, connect, network and be mentored by them. It's something I wish I had when I started out in my career journey. I would have been all over it! Also, we've been fortunate to have generous sponsors, so we're able to offer this conference free to students. However, they must apply to attend. We will not take walk-ins.
I am excited about this conference, because all the speakers [including MediaVillage's Jack Myers, who will keynote, and E.B. Moss, who will be a panelist] and sponsors truly believe in what we're doing. They are committed to raising up the next generation of leaders coming into the business, and they value diversity and mentoring, which are key values of this venture.
Chelsea: Where did the inspiration for the conference come from?
Peggy: From my students and interns over the last few summers. I try very hard to give my interns a well-rounded experience, and they learn a lot during the 10-week period! I train them, teach them, mentor them. I talk to them about how networks work, how to pitch, what makes a good story, what is a sellable story, etc. It's all very hands-on, too.
One of the things I also do is open up my professional network to them, setting up meetings with friends and colleagues who work at major media companies. The incredible positive feedback that I have gotten really inspired me to think about how I can multiply this effect and provide this opportunity to more students and colleagues. That's how the vision for Future Now was born.
Chelsea: What tips would you give a student who is unable to attend your conference, but wants to succeed in the media and entertainment industry?
Peggy: One of the things that I tell my interns and students who approach me is to be persistent in this business. It's such a competitive industry, and if they want to be successful they must be committed to honing their skills and not giving up when things are tough. This industry is not for the faint of heart. You have to do the work and demonstrate your passion and commitment to it.
My dream was to be in broadcast journalism. When I was starting out, I had no contacts in the industry. But I did my research, I reached out to the alumni network of my college, and I was able to get great advice and even some contacts and introductions to the networks that way. Then I sent resumes and letters out every two weeks and called ABC, NBC, and CBS every two weeks without fail! I was willing to do whatever, no matter how menial the task, because I just wanted to get in the door and learn. When I finally got the job as an overnight news desk assistant at ABC News after five months of calling and letter writing, I was ecstatic!
Another thing that I think is so important for future leaders is having humility and expressing sincere gratitude. If you express thanks and appreciation to people, they are more likely to help you and cheer for your success. Being humble even the in the most challenging of circumstances hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it.
To learn more about or apply to the Future Now conference (deadline is May 15, 2017) visit www.futurenowconference.com/.
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