Tell us what you're currently doing and what's involved with the position.
Currently, I am the Co-Executive Producer on a medical show for TLC titled, “My Feet are Killing Me.” As you can tell from the name, the show is centered around the world of feet! The show follows three doctors who help patients with the most jaw-dropping, eye-popping foot problems radically transform their lives through impressive, innovative and groundbreaking surgeries. My job is to develop and bring these incredible stories from inception to fruition. I bridge all the gaps between the talent, doctors, crew, and production thus making sure the ultimate vision for the season comes to life, both logistically and creatively.
Can you share your path since graduation that lead you to your current gig?
After graduating from Drexel in 2012, I followed my heart back to Los Angeles where I grew up. I have always wanted to produce television and work in the unscripted arena , so it was a smooth and exciting transition. I fell immediately into the food space working as a Talent Wrangler on the Food Network show, “Cupcake Wars.” I worked closely with the cast on the show as well as the producers, constantly reminding my supervisors of my goals to one day produce this show. My goal materialized 6 months later and after producing, “Cupcake Wars” for two seasons, the connections I built through the company led to many more new and unique opportunities. To this day, I have produced a variety of television shows from “Jacksons: Next Generation” on Lifetime to “Kendra on Top” on WeTV to “Dancing Queen” on Netflix to “Botched” on E!
What are the key skills required to handle your job?
My job requires a variety of skills, it is tough to tie it all up in a perfect bow. The saying “You wear many hats” sums it up accurately. First and foremost, my job requires an abundant amount of problem-solving skills, passion, and strong work ethic. You are constrantly “putting out fires” daily so maintaining your composure and assessing, moving through and resolving every obstacle with ease is essential for success. Being in the creative space is incredibly collaborative , so you have to establish a collaborative community within your show. Your cast must feel comfortable and open to being vulnerable, and your crew and production teams need to feel listened to, supported and understood. Since everyone on the show usually spends more time together than apart, maintaining a positive environment is essential. Most of the time we are working with talent and scenarios that are already incomplete and unstable, so the foundation of the team needs to be productive, strong and united. Having strong managerial skills and leadership as well as communicating with one another efficiently and effectively is vital to the beating heart of the production.
Are you working with other Drexel alumni? How has that network paid off for you? As an alumnus yourself, have you had an opportunity to work with or hire any current Drexel students? What was that experience like?
Luckily, yes! I have been fortunate to be in the position to hire both Drexel alumni and current students. We have a great network in various cities so that’s worked out very well when I’m staffing a show. I’ve only had amazing experiences with these individuals, proving that Drexel breeds and produces the most passionate and hard-working professionals! Drexel’s Television and Film Program is very much respected in the entertainment community and I am very proud to be a graduate of our university.
I’m involved in the Drexel Film and Video Mentorship program which allows current Drexel students the ability to form and cultivate a relationship with an industry professional that aligns with their future goals. Currently, I’m not working with any Drexel alumni, but I was lucky last year to bring on my Mentee (Shoutout to Kristen Troise) on two Food Network shows, “Halloween Wars” and “Holiday Wars.” She worked so hard and did an AMAZING job!
How did Drexel prepare you for getting to this point in your career?
I attribute Drexel’s hands on approach as well as their Co-op program to much of my success. Not many people can say they had experience studying filmmaking in a different country (Ireland), working at two different companies in two different cities (Los Angeles and New York) in a co-op program, and being able to develop, produce and create incredible stories through the film program. My senior thesis, “Toy Soldier,” will forever be engrained in my heart and in my memories. The subject material was anything but easy but was so beautifully executed by my incredible cast and crew ; I am forever grateful. Because of my senior thesis and many other endeavors, I tackled at Drexel, I was able to gain confidence and carry it into life beyond Drexel walls.
What advice would like to go back and give your undergraduate self?
I took advantage of every opportunity to be on set the moment I stepped into Drexel which was so invaluable. My friend, James Hall, would have his hands in so many different projects; yet at the same time, he was always creating his own content. I would tell my undergraduate self to follow his example: create more, and experiment more with filmmaking. I will also tell my undergraduate self to not be so hard on myself if I make mistakes. Experiencing mistakes builds character and helps you cultivate a healthy and productive work ethic. The important point is to do the best job you can and enjoy the process and results.