MFA rewards most engaged NGEN-ers with mentoring sessions

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has awarded eight members of its NGEN program a short mentorship – three hours with industry leaders across three months – to reward their participation in this year’s online webinars.

The top eight all have less than two years’ industry experience – the NGEN program offers training and networking to 2,449 people with less than 5 years’ experience – and attended between 17 and 23 webinars each to qualify for the mentorship.

Starcom Melbourne’s Laylaa Khan topped the list at 23 sessions, and has been in the industry since June last year. Atomic 212’s Christen Fernandes, Val Morgan’s Octavia Bellekens, QMS’ Vanessa Stewart, and Initiative’s Madeline Toso also made the cut.

The top eight

And 3 of the top 8 – Zenith’s Marshall Raven and Emily Dewar and Ziff Davis’ Anthony Meighan – only joined the industry 11 months ago, in January.

“When NGEN adapted to make the sessions online for everyone to be able to attend, it really expanded my network as I have been able to meet other people in the industry from all over Australia,” Khan said.

“As we know 2020 has taught us all to adapt, however we have been busier than ever and these NGEN sessions really allowed me to take time out of my day for myself and my learning – showing me the importance of continuing to grow in everything you do.”

Khan and her fellow mentees will be receive three one-hour mentor sessions spread over three months. Mentors include Nova’s group sales manager, Steve Golding, and Spark Foundry chief executive and MFA board member Imogen Hewitt.

“Learning from other people’s experiences, good and bad, is an irreplaceable opportunity,” Hewitt said.

“You can shortcut to the good and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls. Personally, I have also learnt that good connections made early on can become great connections over time. Mentoring is a mutual relationship of trust and cooperation and one that, when it works best, gives back many times over to both participants.”

Golding agreed, adding: “By being given the opportunity to mentor these young high-flyers, I know I will learn as much from them as they will from me. The next generation of our industry will shape the future. They will fundamentally change the way we operate, the way we work and the way we do business. I can’t wait to hear how these future leaders will change our world.”

Earlier this year, the MFA was forced to adapt the NGEN program after the country when into lockdown. Taking the workshops, masterclasses, and networking sessions online also meant NGEN was nationally accessible for the first time.

“2020 has been a year of adjustment for all of us, but for young people just starting their career, suddenly finding themselves working from home without the natural learning and connection that happens in the office was an added challenge,” said the MFA’s head of NGEN, Melanie Aslanidis.

“In this extraordinary year, we thought they deserved something more than a certificate of attendance and we’re happy to help partner them with a mentor.”

NGEN is the MFA’s largest program, and attracts talent from both media agencies and media owners, currently with a 58%-42% split.

The full list of mentors includes:

  • Amelia Ward, PHD
  • Ben Petremont, Spark Foundry
  • Brendon McKeon, Group M
  • Chris Johnston, MediaCom
  • Danielle Galipienzo, Initiative
  • Emily Cook, Wavemaker
  • Ian Edwards, Wavemaker
  • Imogen Hewitt, Spark Foundry
  • James Powell, Mindshare
  • Leona Irvine, Initiative
  • Manon Pietra, PHD
  • Mark Echo, Bohemia
  • Martin Cowie, OMD
  • Scott Laird, Initiative
  • Sian Whitnall, OMD
  • Wayne Philbert, Initiative
  • Wendy Gower, Hearts & Science
  • Andrew Robertson, QMS
  • Anny Havercroft, Verizon Media
  • Ben Hutton, Ziff Davis
  • Clare Ruddock, Verizon Media
  • Danielle Rigg-Smith, ViacomCBS
  • Hamish Rose, SCA
  • Jess Roach, NOVA Entertainment
  • Jin Subasinge, ViacomCBS
  • Josh Gurgiel, oOh! Media
  • Paul Kent, Sizmek by Amazon
  • Rhys Mugdan, NOVA Entertainment
  • Ricky Chanana, Twitch
  • Steve Golding, NOVA Entertainment

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