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Lisa Trifone Has Built a Career Connecting Audiences with Films

by Priyanshi Katare

Lisa Trifone has been a part of the film industry for nearly two decades now. Throughout her career she has worked with the film industry in several different capacities, but her journey actually started off as a communication major.

“ I thought maybe I’d work in a local newsroom somewhere or something along those lines. It wasn’t until a few years after college that I attended a film festival that I realized that this is the thing I wanted to do,” she explained.

The film festival opened a realm of possibilities and helped her get her first job in the industry with Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. While in retrospect Trifone thinks her job title would’ve probably been marketing manager, she started her work at a time when digital marketing was just taking off. (more…)

Cultural Nonprofit Organizations Course: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Running a Nonprofit

When Kate Lorenz, Hyde Park Art Center executive director, joined Northwestern as an adjunct lecturer last year, she was excited to return to her roots and teach a subject she loves.

As an alum, she graduated from Northwestern with a BA in Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences. Although her undergraduate studies led her down an analytical career path, her free time was spent in a completely different world: art.

“I had studied abroad in Italy and taken a number of art classes for the first time in my life,” says Lorenz. “I discovered a new side of myself.” After she graduated and landed a job at a Big Five consulting firm, she made it a priority to view as much art as possible—and even volunteered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. (more…)

MSLCE Student Taking That Next Magical Step Toward the Future

by Priyanshi Katare

After nearly a decade-long relationship with Walt Disney World, it would be fair to say that Jennifer’s professional journey has been nothing short of magical. A Disney girl at heart, she began this partnership in 1996.

“ I started in the Disney College program within the attractions department,” she explains “ I was a theater major at that time and worked in character development. The end of this program really kicked off my full-time journey at Disney.”

Jenni discovered that while character development as an actor taught her immensely about working with different personalities, it made her realize that she did not want to be a performer. She was still trying to figure out what she wanted to do professionally when a chance injury while performing in costume landed her work in the Walt Disney World offices. (more…)

Self-Awareness Results in Better Leadership

As a certified executive coach, guiding organizations like the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Public Schools, and the U.S. Intelligence Community, Professor Brenda Ellington Booth is a teacher, coach, and mentor who knows there isn’t one right way to lead.

Through her Personal Leadership Insights course this quarter, she’s sharing her knowledge with MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises students. Booth’s class is designed to complement Laverne McKinnon’s Power of Pitching + Persuasion course.

Based on the notion of emotional intelligence, Personal Leadership Insights emphasizes self-awareness as an important component of being an effective leader—especially self-awareness in the context of others. (more…)

Azmarie Liu Seeks Innovation in Entertainment and Marketing

By Priyanshi Katare

Azmarie Liu doesn’t brand herself as an artistically creative professional — not in the traditional sense anyway. Her creativity stems from her ability to be able to connect with people and sell them ideas. She studied marketing at the undergraduate level during her time at Babson College. “ I love working with people. Unlike other people who can like doing data analysis and excel, I like being able to understand what people want and need and be able to provide that for them,” she elaborates. Her passion for customer insights and communication made her undergrad work in marketing a game changer. “ I think every industry needs marketing. Be it fashion, pharmaceuticals or any other product, you will always need to let people know what you’re selling,” she elaborates, “this is what drew me to MSLCE as well — that it is essentially partially using marketing and other businesses to tell us more about the creative arts.” (more…)

UTA Media Rights Agent Gives Insights into Talent Agency Life

By Priyanshi Katare

Leading global talent and entertainment company UTA represents many of the most acclaimed figures across film, television, news, music, sports, speakers, theater, fine art, literature, video games, podcasts and other social and digital content. A passionate advocate for artists, creators and innovators, the company also is recognized in the areas of film finance and packaging, branding, licensing and endorsements.

Mary Pender currently works as an agent in the Media Rights department.

“I work to identify voices that I think are going to be influential in the book space or as journalists, as podcasters or even someone who has an interesting life story which might be an interesting source material for a film or TV,” Pender explained. (more…)

The Shed Chief Development Officer Talks Supporting the Arts + Adapting During Covid


by Priyanshi Katare

Margaret Pomeroy Hunt has seen the arts and cultural industry evolve for the last two decades. She started her journey at University of California, Irvine where she studied Dance. After college, she knew she wanted to work at the New York City Ballet and reached out to her network which ultimately helped her land her first job in the non-profit arts industry.  “The job was mostly sitting in the hallway and addressing envelopes, but I was working on a major development project. This where I met some amazing development professionals,” she elaborated. She continued her education at the Kellogg School of Management where she earned her MBA. Her time at Northwestern transformed her as a professional in the business aspects of the arts and culture industry and equipped her with the skills she needed to handle larger teams and larger projects. (more…)

At the Intersection of Communication and Activism

Activism has always been at the heart of Northwestern Assistant Professor TJ Billard’s work.

While studying as an undergraduate at George Washington University from 2010 to 2014, Billard focused on political communication and became increasingly involved in transgender political activism.

“It was a politically optimistic time, but, for many reasons, it was also a frustrating time. People were touting their support for the LGBT community but still had no idea what the ‘T’ was about.” As a student, Billard was interested in coursework that tied back to activism, so every assignment or paper was focused in one way or another on transgender politics.

During senior year, Billard’s honors thesis investigated 10 years of coverage and representation of trans people in print newspapers. “I could see how things were getting better, but not as quickly as you’d think.” (more…)

Jon Faris of Global Experience Studio Category41 on His Career in Theatre and Production

Jon Faris joined MSLCE for our fall Creative Connect series. Learn more and join future events on our speaker series page.

by Priyanshi Katare

Northwestern alum Jon Faris is no stranger to the creative industry. During his time at Northwestern he studied Theatre and helped found and manage several theatre boards like WAVE Productions and the Student Theatre Coalition (StuCo). Since graduating from Northwestern, he has worked with award-winning production companies such as Uma Productions and returned to the School of Communication as a guest lecturer on arts management — a role he serves at DePaul University as well— and on the advisory board for the Theater Management Module.
Prior to this current position, Jon was the Managing Director for Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, where he led the design and construction of their new state-of the art theater center. These days he can be found working with creative teams at Category41— a global experience studio — where he is the Head of Production Operations. (more…)

MSLCE Student Laura Rensing Maximizes Summer Opportunities to Gain New Experiences and Skills in Arts Advocacy

by Priyanshi Katare

When Laura Rensing started the MSLCE program, she wasn’t that interested in pursuing the internship option over the summer. “I’ve had work experience before this so for me it was really about finding something that would really add to my learning experience and make me feel like I was learning something new, fun and challenging,” she explains. However the pandemic changed that for her.

This summer Laura worked for Arts Alliance Chicago while simultaneously working on her applied project for the MSLCE program. Contrary to the norm, while some organizations paused their summer internship programs, her internship opened up as a result for increased support artists needed during these times. The Arts Alliance is an advocacy group engaged in fighting to make resources available to the arts community and pushes for policies that would be advantageous for its members. Their work spans civic engagement, arts education and cultural equity and they actively work to connect people across different creative communities. (more…)