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  • Writer's pictureSherry

A New Mentoring Maven - Alyssa Walles

We all know leaders who are born to mentor others. They have this natural ability and magnetism to help younger careerists navigate change, learn from experience and build self-confidence.

My friend Alyssa Walles is one of those natural leaders and a master mentor. It is in her DNA. We met at a mentoring session that she facilitated at USC Marshall School of Business. I was there to talk about personal branding. As a former Trojan, she knows the school, the challenges and the intensity of these students. It was evident that her energy, business savvy and authentic relationships with students had them all engaged to attend this discussion on a Saturday morning.

Alyssa is the SVP Publishing for MWM Interactive in Century City, one of four entertainment divisions within MWM. Her experiences are in entertainment with some of the giants in the industry where she created first of kind programs and definitely developed talent.

Let’s Match Talent with Leadership

Early in Alyssa’s experiences with MWMi, we talked about how to connect young professionals with internal management in order to facilitate new conversations about work and what it takes to succeed in this business.

This is a story about creating a learning experience that Alyssa master-minded for MWM in December 2019 and I came along as a support and thought partner. After you hear about this, my hope is that you consider investing in your early career talent in a way that energizes you, your leaders and most importantly, your early career talent. They matter – they are your future.

So, what is MentorViews?

Alyssa envisioned a “speed-dating” style experience to be held at their offices. Young talent and experienced leaders at MWM would rotate through one-on-one conversations that were five minutes of thoughtfully orchestrated exchange.

It was branded as MentorViews.

By the way, MWM is an award-winning, independent and innovative media and entertainment company led by Clint Kisker and Gigi Pritzker, its President and CEO. Through their leadership, they supercharge creativity and empower storytellers through a "Share by Design" approach across film, TV, interactive content, podcasts, comics and live theater.

Kisker has distinguished himself as one of the most influential and forward-thinking leaders in media and entertainment and was recognized by Variety as a “New Leader of Hollywood.” After participating in this MentorViews event, I would say he is one of the most dynamic and experienced talent leaders in the business.

How refreshing to see his commitment to time and resources in connecting great people to his management team in the quest to have a better understanding of each person’s perspective. Each mentee came prepared with tailored questions for their rotational conversation with 15 impressive leaders from all functions of the business.

The room was buzzing with discussion and idea exchange. Energy remained high following the rounds and afterward we enjoyed a pizza and salad lunch hosted by MWM.

Our Team

Here we are – the project team led by Alyssa (in the center), Sherry and Janhavi Ghosh, a junior studying UX design at USC, assisted us in creating this memorable and first of its kind event.

The Call to Action

MWM is committed to the concept of getting to know talent through career conversation. This design was powerful and a reflection of the company’s passion for people, identifying talent and supporting their learning. All of this is to enhance performance and career success.

Now they are planning the next event. Many saw the value of these conversations as a step into building relationships in a mash-up of fun, intense, meaningful rounds of exchange to inform and highlight others in an industry that is often “behind the curtain”. There will be stories that emerge from connections made here and thanks to leaders like Clint and Alyssa we can see a new model that raises the bar for other companies if they want to embrace, develop and retain great people.

Sherry Benjamins is a Talent Strategist and Career Advisor with 25+ years helping organizations plan, identify & develop talent when the stakes are high. Her blend of corporate, consulting, and search services expertise provide deep knowledge and valuable insight. She is an entrepreneur with a track record of success, founder of S. Benjamins & Company, based in Seal Beach, CA, and creator of peer learning forums developing tomorrow’s leaders today.

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