Creative Connections: Career Speed Dating

Could your next career move be just 5 minutes away? Last Thursday, over 40 students attended the Creative Career Match-up: a speed dating style event at the Denison Museum, where students engaged in ten 5-minute sessions with creative professionals in small groups. This event, tailored to those interested in creative careers, drew Studio Art, History, Biology, Economics, and other majors from across the university. As a Global Commerce major who attended the event, here are some of my key takeaways:

Your path may not be linear, and that’s okay!

  • President and CEO of The Greater Columbus Arts Council, Tom Katzenmeyer, began his career in the nonprofit sector before gaining experience at L Brands and serving as Vice President of University Communications. Each experience enabled him to acquire new skills applicable to various industries and to continue exploring and growing professionally. Your first job can be seen as a stepping stone, and it does not have to be what you do forever, and probably will not be!

Networking is crucial:

  • Nearly every professional at the event attributed networking to part of their success and entry into the industry. Brett Reiter, Director of Cinema Columbus and a Denison alum, began his career with a group of friends from the university who shared a common interest in filmmaking. Alongside networking, one of his most significant pieces of advice was that you don’t necessarily need to relocate to Los Angeles or New York (depending on your major/industry) to succeed in your field. Instead, think about finding people in your city with similar career goals.
  • Similarly, Tom Richner, a storyboard artist for The Simpsons with a BFA from Denison, offered similar advice to students about drawing from local talent. Richner founded Cap City Studios, which taps into Columbus-based artists and talent, and taught at Columbus College of Art and Design.

Authenticity matters:

  • Recording engineer and music producer of Oranjudio, Joey Gurwin, emphasizes the importance of remaining true to your craft. It allows him to stand out and find self-fulfillment. He added, “People can tell when you produce something just for the sake of producing, and it’s not authentic.”
  • Jeni Britton, Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, echoed similar sentiments. Her unique idea of making ice cream an experiential product heavily centered on aromas has propelled her success, including winning a James Beard award and expanding to several locations across the United States.

A list of all the professionals at the Creative Career Matchup:

  • Brett Reiter: Director of Cinema Columbus 
  • Briana Brewer: Education Arts Administrator for the King Arts Complex
  • Darius Ghanai: Visual artist, design, movies for 
  • Debbie Holmes: Radio News Host & Reporter for WOSU Public Media
  • Jeni Britton: Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
  • Joey Gurwig: Recording Engineer, Music Producer of Oranjudio
  • Marah Al-Sadoon: Creative Developer & Game Developer for Roto
  • Tim Rietenbach: Professor at Columbus College of Arts & Design/Faculty Director of Galleries
  • Tom Katzenmeyer: President & CEO of Greater Columbus Arts Council
  • Tom Richner: Storyboard Artist for The Simpsons on Fox Television Animation 

Overall, the creative career matchup provided a fantastic opportunity to network with successful professionals, refine conversational skills and active listening, and receive valuable advice. Keep track of future events like this on The Knowlton Center’s website! 

By Virginia Swain
Virginia Swain Peer Career Fellow: Marketing, Sales and Communications