Drexel’s Dragon Concert Series hosts Spring Into Entertainment  | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

Drexel’s Dragon Concert Series hosts Spring Into Entertainment 

Taken by Janyra Santos

On Wednesday, April 24, Drexel’s Dragon Concert Series (DCS) hosted their first Spring Into Entertainment (SIE), an event featuring five alumni panelists with entertainment industry jobs followed by a Q&A and a networking mixer. DCS is a DragonLink-recognized organization committed to engaging Drexel students in the music and live entertainment industries. It offers access to career events, such as SIE, and provides avenues for learning the intricacies of concert and live performance planning.

In an interview with Beckett Chase, the current treasurer of DCS and one of the event planners, he explained how the event committee went about finding panelists for the event. Chase noted that their main guiding question was “What kind of person does the DCS membership want to see?” Primarily, they wanted the event to be exciting and engaging for DCS members, the target audience of the event. SIE planners wanted a diverse array of people while also ensuring the companies they represented were interesting to attendees. A further consideration was geography, as DCS did not have the budget to pay panelists or provide travel. Because of this, SIE planners mostly asked alumni based in Philadelphia, New York, DC, and Delaware. 

The event was open to Drexel students and alumni alike. In his interview, Chase shared that the marketing was focused primarily on Music Industry (MIP) and Entertainment and Arts Management (EAM) students to achieve a goal of about 1:3 alumni to 2:3 students for the networking portion of the evening. Chase explained that when planning the event, DCS members were conscious that many sophomores and juniors might be searching for entertainment industry co-ops and wanted to ensure that alumni were available to network with undergrad students rather than just connect with their fellow alumni. 

The first panelist to introduce herself was Jayla Johnson, a 2022 Drexel EAM program graduate who works in brand partnerships at Roc Nation. Throughout the night, Johnson stressed to the audience the importance of getting involved and making connections to be successful in the entertainment industry. She shared many of the college student ambassador programs she joined while at Drexel and how the skills she learned through being part of such programs allowed her to be successful in the job market post-grad. Johnson shared that it is important to remember that  “you’re always a student, no matter what you’re doing.” Never getting too confident and always being willing to learn a new skill is crucial to a job in such an ever-changing and fast-paced industry.

Theo Feldman, the next panelist, is the founder of 3x Music and has worked with TIDAL, Universal Music Group and Sony Music. Feldman graduated from the MIP program in 2019. Since he founded his own management company out of his freshman-year dorm room in Millennium Hall, Feldman’s main emphasis was on the importance of maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit. In such a competitive industry, being able to think of innovative ideas is crucial to success. Feldman stated the importance of “wanting to come to the table with fresh and innovative ideas” to stay relevant and successful in the industry. 

In the same vein as the two aforementioned alums, Kyle Gillette-Norman—EAM ‘14 and the current head of creative strategy, sports and gaming at Twitch—highlighted the importance of keeping up with trends and being aware of changes in the industry. When he graduated, cable networks still ruled the entertainment industry. Gillette-Norman shared how he asked himself “Where is entertainment going next and how can I put myself there?” when the pandemic hit and how this question led him to seek a job in the streaming world. He advised the audience always to think three steps ahead and be searching for new opportunities and mediums that may take over. 

Sarah Detwiler, MIP ‘16, works as the senior manager for global music business relations at Peloton. She urged the audience to “experience things for yourself instead of trying to learn about trends,” calling attention to the importance of exploring multiple facets of the entertainment industry. Before Peloton, Detwiler worked as a music publisher. She believes working multiple jobs in the industry gave her a better understanding of each aspect that she may have to consider in her current job. Any job in the entertainment industry, she shared, is extremely interdisciplinary. For example, she works closely with the music programming department at Peloton, in which the final panelist—Lauren Docteroff, EAM ‘15 and senior manager of the music programming department at Peloton—also happens to be a part of. 

Docteroff, similarly to her fellow panelists, underscored the importance of creativity. She shared that the main focus of her team is to “always make sure we are thinking out of the box and not doing the same wash and repeat.” Keeping fresh ideas, she noted, helps to keep customers interested as their habits change and gain the interest of new customers. Once again, the fast-paced nature of the industry, the importance of remaining aware and the benefits of being creative were emphasized to the audience. 

Recapping the event, Chase noted lessons from the panelists that stood out to him, mainly, the emphasis on collaboration within the entertainment industry. Chase noted that it can be hard to remember as students that jobs will most likely never involve working alone. It is crucial to be able to work on a team and with people with different interests and skills. Finally, Chase expressed their appreciation of the common message from the panelists that “it is a people’s industry.” Each panelist shared the emphasis they put on personality when hiring. The entertainment industry can be very competitive and disheartening while searching for jobs.    Hearing from high-up individuals in the industry that they value being yourself, being an individual and contributing to their environment in your own way was refreshing and a hopeful conclusion to the night.