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Career Speed Dating at EPICS Theatre + Performing Arts Industry Connect Event



By Charlie Wein

Since September, MSLCE students have been working diligently to prepare themselves for their new careers after graduating. Refining resumes, honing management skills, and perhaps most importantly, networking. The students have had several chances to sit down and talk with great leaders from various creative industries to get their insight and advice on building a successful career and have jumped at every opportunity. Speaking with a great creative voice is incredibly valuable, but can you imagine getting to do so with 8 at once? Students got to do just that the other night at an Industry Connect event hosted by Northwestern’s EPICS (External Programs, Internships, and Career Services) Office.

At the Theatre & Performing Arts event, students stood at one of eight cocktail tables while the guests rotated from table to table, speaking with each group, essentially career speed dating. Guests were from a variety of artistic sectors: Dylan Toropov, Director of Individual Giving and Major Giving from About Face Theatre; Gabe Jewell, Creative Producer at MasterClass in San Francisco; Laura Matalon, Chief Marketing Officer of the hit musical Hamilton in Chicago; Linden Christ, Director of Education at Chicago Opera Theatre, Samantha De La Riva, Company Manager at La Jolla Playhouse, Erik Soderstrom, Artistic Producer at Ravinia Festival, and Tiffanie Beatty, Senior Program Manager at Chicago Humanities Festival.

The event was a great success, as students gained valuable insight into artistic fields of their personal interest, as well as sectors they may be unfamiliar with. One MSLCE student, Daniella Smith said of the event, “I thought it was a surprisingly comfortable way to learn from and connect with several professionals in the field in a short amount of time. I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed it!”. Daniella herself has a background in opera, but found herself especially inspired by Samantha De La Riva, Company Manager of La Jolla Playhouse. “I’m interested in learning more about company and general management, so Samantha really helped me distinguish between the two”.

As the winter term comes to a close, students are at the peak of their internship search and application process. Events like these provide not only opportunities for the students to learn from these leaders how to pursue their chosen careers, but to network and speak one on one with prospective employers.