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Entertainment execs, nonprofit leaders and military veterans gathered at Monday’s kick-off luncheon for Got Your Six’s Veteran Hiring Week, a series of initiatives in Los Angeles and New York highlighting the benefits of hiring vets into the entertainment industry.
Meaning “I’ve got your back” in the military, Got Your Six is a campaign aimed at changing the conversation around veterans to “view them as leaders and assets to fit entertainment job needs,” says managing director Chris Marvin. Tom Hanks, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Douglas and Ron Meyer are among Hollywood supporters of the campaign.
The Hollywood Reporter was a media partner at the luncheon, which was held at Ray’s and Stark at LACMA and featured an industry exec panel. Tim Norman, director of operational and technology recruiting at Dreamworks, and Amy Gravitt, vp of comedy at HBO, shared their experiences as veterans which helped them progress in the entertainment world. Also on the panel was Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, co-founder of Veterans in Film and Television.
The military mindset of “a small, individual contribution to a larger entity” was most important for Gravitt, who served four years as lieutenant in the navy onboard an aircraft carrier. “Veterans see how they can help you, not the other way around,” she said.
“Veterans don’t have a chip on their shoulder,” adds Norman. “When hiring returning veterans, they are going to realize how lucky they are.” He says his service in the army during the Gulf War also taught him to “never give up.”
Dreamworks actively works to attract veteran job candidates by introducing them to hiring managers. “We have set up informal ways to get them into the community,” says Norman. “We want to break down any barriers and misconceptions.”
Also at the luncheon, the $1 million sponsorship of Wells Fargo was announced by Brian McCullough, the company’s military affairs program manager. Last year Wells Fargo announced a three year, $35 million commitment to supporting vets of which this sponsorship is part.
The announcement of Hiring Our Heroes came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Ross Cohen. The program, sponsored by the Chamber, is a job portal designed to “find creative jobs that are veteran-friendly,” says Cohen. Studios, networks, production companies and talent agents can post jobs that would make a good fit for veterans.
Pete Berg, who’s currently working on his pilot Bloodlines, has been hiring veterans on his productions for years. With the launch of this entertainment industry hiring tool, I hope that, like me, others will recognize the value of having veterans on every single set,” says Berg.
Got Your Six events rounding out the week are Tuesday’s hiring fair in L.A. followed by a New York hiring fair on Wednesday. Spike TV will launch its small business hiring competition on Thursday, and Goodwill Southern California will hold its veteran initiative tour on Friday.
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