WiTH Launches New ‘Knowledge Circles’ Mentorship Program

Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH) has launched the latest program for its Knowledge Circles for Impact mentorship endeavor, offering group mentorship “circles” in data science, design and product, emerging technology, cybersecurity, and women in leadership.

The purpose-driven group mentorship program aims to positively impact communities and influence change by offering leadership experiences, with the intent of empowering participants to positively impact communities and workspaces, by coming together and instituting change in underrepresented communities.

“We’ll connect high-performing, diverse technologists with access and opportunities to find executive allies and advocates in media and entertainment and technology,” said Cybill Miklaszewski, WiTH foundation board member, during a presentation on the launch. “What I love most about mentorship programs is the multi-directional opportunity to learn for all participants involved over the course of the program.

Each mentorship circle promises to offer those who join the opportunity to learn from peers, and grow their networking and professional development skills.

Each circle meets periodically over a six-month period, with group leaders determining the frequency and length of meetings, averaging a minimum of an hour a month. Circles are rotated bi-annually to offer those in the program the opportunity to learn new areas of expertise.

Miklaszewski said it’s important that those who sign up make the most of the opportunity. “Being present is really just about showing up, being free from distraction,” she said.

Here’s a look at what each knowledge circle entails, and who’s involved:

Data Science: This circle will gather data science, machine learning and other technical specialists to explore best practices and innovate new solutions in media and entertainment. Mentors include Jin Kang, practice leader, AI/ML and analytics professional services, Amazon Web Services; and Parker Lowrey, VP of data, Whip Media Group. Participants must have at least five years’ work experience in data science or analytics related field, technology or technology adjacent, or possess an advanced degree in mathematics, statistics, or data science.

Design & Product: This circle will explore the process of imagining, creating, and iterating products that solve users’ problems or address specific needs. Mentors include John Solaro, VP of design UX and product innovation for The Walt Disney Co., and MacBeth Watson, VP of design and research for Strava. Participants must have at least five years’ work experience in design related fields, product management or technology related fields.

Emerging Technology: This circle will focus on various topics in emerging technology available to revolutionize the entertainment industry such as blockchain, AR/VR, 3D and game engines, and 5G and IoT. Mentors include Eric Iverson, CTO of the global M&E vertical for Amazon Web Services; Alice Taylor, VP of content innovation and StudioLAB for The Walt Disney Studios; and Gretchen Libby, director of visual computing, GTM, for Amazon Web Services. Participants must have at least five years’ work experience in M&E technology related fields.

Cybersecurity: This circle will explore the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. Mentors include Melody Hildebrandt, EVP of product and engineering and CISO for Fox Corp., and Steve Tran, CISO, MGM. Participants of this group must have at least two years’ work experience in cybersecurity or five years’ work experience in technology or technology adjacent fields

Women in Leadership: This circle will help turn obstacles into opportunities on how to act with power, navigate the workplace, and take the lead with new strategies and tactics you can leverage throughout your career. Mentors include Nancy Faginas Cody, former SVP of IT enterprise business systems for The Walt Disney Co.; Vicky Colf, CTO of Warner Bros.; Erin Griffin, senior executive partner with Gartner; and Melanie Hildebrandt Harrison, SVP of corporate IT for Sony. Participants must have at least 10 years’ work experience in technology related fields in media and entertainment. Manager level minimum. This circle is meant for those who identify as female.

For more information about the program, click here. To view the unveiling presentation, click here.