The Women’s Elon in Entertainment Empire mentorship program held its first informational meeting and social gathering on March 14, bringing together female students interested in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.
For female students interested in working – and succeeding – in Los Angeles post-graduation, a new Elon University initiative aims to make those aspirations a reality.
Members of the Women’s Elon in Entertainment Empire, or WEEE, hope to create opportunities and programming where female students and alumni can gather and find support, creating connections across the university’s different schools, departments and majors.
Following the School of Communications’ Diversity in Reality Television panel, the WEEE initiative hosted its first informational meeting and social gathering on March 14, attracting approximately 25 students from a variety of majors and interests, including cinema, strategic communications and acting. In addition to networking and fellowship, the students welcomed screenwriter Brooke Buffington to discuss her work with Netflix and Lifetime. A senior associate director in the Student Professional Development Center, Bufflington wrote the Netflix original movie "Chalk It Up.”
Several Elon alumnae working in Los Angeles have already pledged to support WEEE’s mission, offering to sponsor, coach and mentor Elon women, both students and fellow graduates. Led by Elizabeth Baldridge ’13, Madeline Carlin ’14, Nneka Enurah ’11, Katrina Taylor ’04 and Rachel Zain ’16, the alumnae launched a WEEE website this winter.
“We want to make it easier and more accessible for students to create genuine, organic mentorship relationships with our female alumnae in the WEEE group in LA and, eventually, graduate into that group when they move post-grad or connect with our alumnae while doing the Elon in LA program,” said Joyce Choi ’19, who has spearheaded the WEEE initiative on campus.
The cinema and television arts major expressed excitement to see WEEE host a public event after nearly two years of planning and email chains with a small group of cinema students and J McMerty. Choi credit the director of the Elon in Los Angeles program for helping bridge the gap between the group on campus and alumnae on the West Coast.
Choi said the initiative’s student lead team also deserves kudos. This includes Nell Geer '21, Cameron Wolfslayer '21, Sophia Giuffre '20, Rachel Engel '21, Erin Pattie '21 and Kendra Johnson '21.
For Choi, she sees the WEEE initiative as a way to build relationships with like-minded individuals, who are connected both by their professional aspirations and their experiences “under the oaks.”
“When I met strong women in the career paths that I was pursuing for the first time in LA, I was moved because I hadn't realized how much I had been missing and mourning not having that,” she said, reflecting on her studies in the Elon in LA program and her internship with the talent agency William Morris Endeavor.
That fueled Choi’s interest in launching WEEE, hoping to fill that void for others.