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HPA Builds for the Future: Women In Post and Young Entertainment Professionals

By Loren Nielsen

About five years ago, a female colleague and I looked around the room at the Tech Retreat and counted the number of women in the room of 300+ attendees. We were saddened to count seventeen, and to see not one woman on the speaker stand throughout the day. We talked about how many talented, experienced, knowledgeable women we knew in the industry and decided to work toward change, toward creating more opportunity for the women we knew and those we hadn’t yet met.

Shortly after that Tech Retreat, Kari Grubin came forward with the idea of creating Women in Post. The HPA jumped on the idea of a supporting a group to provide leadership and visibility opportunities for women working in content creation.

The first WiP meeting was held at the 2013 Tech Retreat. Since then WiP has garnered over 600 members, held over 20 events. WiP summer luncheons are popular, drawing 60 – 70 women to network on the third Thursday of each June, July and August. The SMPTE/HPA Women in Technology Lunch, held at the SMPTE Fall Conference, has seen exciting speakers, including last year’s Cheryl Boone Isaacs who discussed her diversity initiatives. WiP roundtable events regularly draw a dedicated group to hear from and talk with women leaders. Roundtable events have focused on a broad range of topics, including workflow, personal brand building, work-life balance and career development. Women in Post continues to raise industry awareness of the need to be more assertive and inclusive in the outreach to women.

Now, the WiP is turning our attention to another under-represented group in the HPA – those under 30. We’ve noticed a lack of awareness in college students and in young workers of the many opportunities in our business, outside of traditional careers in directing, editing and cinematography or entry positions in data, customer service and machine rooms. We know that HPA members are an experienced group with knowledge drawn from many years of technical and creative efforts and a desire to share. Our members’ history is an important part of our business, providing context and insight to new problems and opportunities as we drive forward into a largely digital world. We want to bring together our constituents to share and learn from one another and we’re confident that the content creation industry will benefit from the energy and ideas of our youngest members.

To further that cause Women in Post has created a new program for Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP). To kick it off, WiP will host a group of ten YEPs for a full day at the Centennial SMPTE Conference this October in Hollywood. This is an opportunity for young professionals from 21 to 29 years old, to attend a curated day of round tables, the hi-tech exhibition, and to be mentored by business leaders representing all aspects of content creation.

The YEP SMPTE Conference event will include private booth tours with technology providers, a roundtable luncheon with professionals from the motion picture and television industry and mentoring sessions from Women in Post, and HPA Board members. The all day event will include a reception and attendance at the second annual SMPTE/HPA Student Film Festival.

YEPs will need a recommendation from their employer or teacher and must submit a one-page application to qualify for consideration for the YEP day at the SMPTE Centennial Conference. Women in Post will look to HPA and SMPTE member companies to recommend young workers for the program. Applications will be available beginning in July.

Please reach out to me or to any of our Women in Post Committee, if you are interested in participating in the development of the next generation of professionals, or you know a young professional you would like to nominate for the YEP program. We need all of you.


The HPA is committed to fostering the development of the next generation of professionals working in the production, post-production, distribution and related fields. With a focus on these young people, we can be assured a strong future. We are excited to be launching new programs specially focused on young entertainment professionals which will be announced in the coming weeks.

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