PESA Summit Instills Faith

The crowd.  The chatter. The entertainment. The only way to succeed in the entertainment industry by networking and leveraging contacts.  A catered brunch, 3 panels, keynote presentations, and a Red Bull powered networking hour later –I found myself peeking into the PESA Summit, UGA’s premier entertainment and sports conference conceptualized by Terry students as a monumental event for UGA, exposing students to professional opportunities, educational seminars, and the inspiration to follow their passions.


As I sat in an unscrupulous corner looking in this bio-dome shaped tent engulfing my creamsicley casual polo, I soaked in the sounds of the crowd and students from the waves of the UGA Music Business Program.  Attendees from all over the United States had come out for the event.  Some were current students aspiring to become entertainment professionals, while others were alumni just looking to network.

After sitting at a table chatting with new friends, I made my way over to Sanford Hall for a presentation of what would be in store for this event.  As inspirational quotes flew across the projector via Twitter, the crowd silenced for the keynote…

The D, the I, the D, the D, the Y-it’s Diddy.  Wait it’s not!  It’s Aaron Arnold, producer, writer, and speaker, of Music is my business.  Aaron began with his story of a date that he will always remember as a turning point in his life.  July 17, 2004–the day Aaron married.  The next day, he got a call from Bad Boy Records for an unpaid intern-assistant job with Sean “Diddy” Combs to leave his wife on their honey moon.  It was his “matrix moment.”  Should he take the red or the blue pill?

Insert red or blue pill matrix image
Arnold lived in the moment, followed his passion, and executed his dreams.  At the end, he really touched the students that were there that day:

“It’s not how you start; you never know where your journey will take you.  Feed your faith and your focus.  Plans change, but visions don’t.  Being an entrepreneur is about freedom.  If you don’t have faith, than you don’t have anything.  Be committed to it.  You fall and you can recover.  I took that unpaid internship with Sean Diddy Combs because I knew I was talented enough to go far in this business, foolish enough to go very far.  Now that’s Dope.”-Aaron Arnold

“Entrepreneurship and Innovation” featuring:

  1. Zeshan Muhammedi, Partner, SEA Apparel
  2. I’na Saulsberry, CEO, The Starfire Group
  3. Seth Weiner, CEO, Shimo Presents, Inc. & Work Exchange Team LLC
  4. Aaron Arnold, CEO, MusicIsMyBusiness
  5. April Love, Owner, Ask April Love PR
  6. Moderator: Randy Groomes, Director of Diversity Relations, Terry College of Business

Innovation and entrepreneurship drives this world.  This panel took students into the challenges of new business, from the start up to to when they finally “make-it.”  Life for these speakers revolves around the hustle and they shared how they reached their success, but also inspired our future innovators.  Entrepreneurship means starting something from you.  Don’t make it a side project.  You need to live, breathe, and eat your idea or business.  You might fail a thousand times, but if you keep working at it, you can achieve anything.  As I helped Randy take pictures of the panel, I managed to scribble some notes down while I thought back to my days at the Terry Undergraduate Business Case Analysis Competition.

Innovation means doing something else others don’t do.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create the next best product like Perfect-A-Flash; it could be your service.  You might be a marketing firm in Atlanta among hundreds, but the way you handle your customers can set you apart.  Don’t be afraid to take risks and be in the long haul.  Try to make connections with your peers.  They are the ones that will be creating the new ideas for tomorrow.  At the end, each panel left a final comment, but for me it was Randy Groomes who summed it up the best.

“Be an enfatic learner.  Knowledge is power.”-Randy Groomes

“The Social Media Impact” featuring:

  1. Adam Wexler, CEO, Insightpool and Gorankem.com
  2. Carl Azuz, Anchor, CNN
  3. Jennifer Brett, Entertainment Columnist and Social Media Expert, The Atlanta Journal Constitution
  4. Adrion Porter, Founder, FusionFlow Media
  5. Jason Longshore, Operations Director, Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves; Deputy Director, Soccer in the Streets
  6. Moderator: Scott Thompson, Assistant Professor for Marketing Dept., UGA

Staying relevant in the 21st Century involves more than just ad campaigns and a great PR team.  From athletes, musicians and even a major television network, developing a social media strategy is essential to a brand’s success.  The power has been put back into the people with social media.  Twitter is great for Public Relations.  Facebook is more for engagement.  Even with CNN’s I-report, journalists all over the world can share a video of what is going on in the world.  Social media allows you to standout and bring empowerment to the consumer.  All of us has a voice.  As you evolve, your brand can evolve too.

How can you keep up with social media and where is it headed?  If you look towards the future, the growth has been in Pinterest, Soundcloud, and Youtube.  Experimenting  and trying to see which one’s work is the name of the game.  Social media can amplify who you are.  Be extremely conscious of Google, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and blogs.  These are the platforms that will come up most when someone is searching for your identity online.  Learn from strategists and organizations like Amy PorterfieldVirtue, and the Social Media Club.

“B.Y.O.B.  Build your own brand.”-Adam Wexler

“Future of Network Television” featuring:

  1. Barbara LineBarger, Vice President of Network Partnerships, Turner; President, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Southeast Chapter
  2. Angela Cannon, Affiliate Marketing, Gospel Music Channel
  3. Courtney Carini, Director of Digital Business Development, Scripps Networks Interactive
  4. Keisha Fuller, Mobile Brand Manager, News & Entertainment at Turner

In today’s society, television networks are increasingly faced with issues of going “over-the-top”, protecting their content, and forever altering what traditional notions of televison are.  Television is not dying.  It will never go away.  In today’s TV world, you need to adjust your internal structure for making money from distribution and ad revenue.  Adapt your model like Turner has with branded content.  In today’s technology driven world, you need to tell about your experience of programs on new devices, take advertisers through sweepstakes, and see what platforms are the most effective to use for each network.  Go where your viewers are.  Most people are not watching live TV unless it’s a sporting event.  Nielson ratings are still the advertising card, but television shows need to be used as cross-platform products spread across departments to increase overall advertising dollars.  People watch the types of scripted TV with smart writing and good acting that have no substitute for a writing team.  Use a transmedia strategy and take advantage of social media platform apps.

Final Thought: “Learning doesn’t stop after graduation.  Be curious, diverse, inquisitve, and continue to read.”-Keisha Fuller

2 thoughts on “PESA Summit Instills Faith

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