Women, meet mentors at cleveland.com’s Mentoring Monday summit in February

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Northeast Ohio women can meet dozens of mentors virtually through Mentoring Monday on Feb. 22.

The program presented by Advance Ohio, including The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com, will take place from noon to 2 p.m. and will be hosted on the online platform Remo.

Beate Blaich-Smith Agency Business Dev Lead for Advance Ohio says the program works to help local professional women create a network and learn from one another.

“It’s basically for all professional women who want to connect and learn from each other and get some advice from women in leadership positions,” says Blaich-Smith.

Last year, at the first Mentoring Monday, dozens of Northeast Ohio women from business, real estate, science, theater, non-profits, higher education, and more met to discuss careers and goals.

“It was fantastic, we had over 300 women in the room, and it was women from all walks of life,” says Blaich-Smith.

Blaich-Smith says the summit is not a “one size fits all” event, women from all walks of life and professional backgrounds are always encouraged to get involved with the program.

This year, though virtual, the program will continue to include one-on-one speed coaching, three to four short conversations with different mentors, and group sessions.

No keynote speaker has been chosen as of yet says Blaich-Smith.

New to the program is a pre-event podcast, featuring some of the sponsoring mentors, an expanded promotions plan, group discussion sponsorships, and a virtual gift bag.

Tickets are $30, available here. For $10 off, use the discount code EARLYBIRD.

The mentor list is expected to grow, here is a few of them:

Rebecca Ruppert McMahon Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

Laura Johnston Content director, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, Advance Ohio – cleveland.com

Kellie Harris Plant Manager for our North American Aerospace, Saint – Gobain

Bethany Lemley Operations Supervisor, Government & Fine Arts, FedEx Custom Critical

Erin Senediak Sales Leader, FedEx Custom Critical

Ka-Pi Hoh, Ph.D. Organizational Change Management Director, The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company

Margaret Mitchell President, YWCA Greater Cleveland

Bethany Snyder Senior Territory Manager, Liberty Mutual

Marianne Parkinson Chief Marketing Officer, MarshBerry

Shelley Roth President, Pierres

Kenya Guess President & CEO, BonnieSpeed Logistics

Marianne Crosley President & CEO, Cleveland Leadership Center

Susan E Donlan Chief Communications Officer, KeyBank

Gloria Walas First Vice President, The Haas-Compass Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Kathy Hirko Owner, KAZ Company

Jody M. Wheaton Executive Director, Client Solutions & Programs, Corporate College, a Division of Cuyahoga Community College

Polly Hanff Global Regulatory Affairs & Quality Director, Saint – Gobain

Sandra Madison Owner and President, RPMI

Jane Christyson CEO, Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio

Carol Stefano Commercial and Technical Director, Aerospace, Saint – Gobain

Virginia Morrison Executive aide – Office of Vice President UTech/CIO, Case Western Reserve University

Susan Fuehrer VA Chief Executive – as President of Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity, MetroHealth

Kim Riley President, Hylant

Tari Rivera President, Regency Construction Services

Shirrell Greene Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metro Schools


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Ventana Sur’s Female Animation Directors Mentoring Unveils Projects

“Highlands Shadow,” “Cursed Fathers” and “Greta’s Journal” are among five animation projects selected for a new women animation directors’ training initiative launched this year at Ventana Sur’s Animation!, in alliance with France’s Annecy Festival and Argentina’s Institut Français.

A 2D eight-episode series “Highlands Shadow” weighs in as a fantasy grounded in traditional folklore mixing action, mystery and political attitude.

Targeting young adults and addressing  gender and LGBTIQ+ issues, the series turns on Juana, a girl from Humahuaca whose sister Marisol has been captured by a human trafficking cartel. To save her, she makes a deal with two haunted machetes, becoming a super heroine. Director Paula Boffo is prizewinning gender-focused graphic novelist. Argentina’s Ojo Raro produces.

Also aimed at a YA crowd, “Cursed Fathers” a 2D first feature from Bolivia’s Matisse González, whose graduation short “Gravity” was nominated for Annie and Quirino Awards, is produced by Argentina’s Celeste and Germany’s Studio Seufz.

Described by its producers as a  “narrative comedy about an exquisitely damned family,” it turns on Kiki, the youngest daughter in a large Bolivian family which thinks it is cursed. Knowing she’s next in line to suffer the consequences, she embarks on a journey to find out whether the curse is real and to put a stop to it.

Targeting pre-school audiences, Peru’s “Greta’s Journal” is produced by Wuf Studio, co-founded by the project’s director, Elva Alessandra Arrieta, who designed the characters and scenery for the country’s first stop-motion series, “Martina y Rigoberto.”

“Greta’s Journal” is another stop-motion series about the eponymous heroine and her friends growing up and discovering a whole surprising world. She records most everything in her journal, which will help her to better understand her own learning process, high points and mistakes.

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Greta’s Journal
Courtesy: Animation!

The program provides a month-long introductory training. Any Latin American animated series or features project from a woman director is eligible for the program.

Two chosen projects will also be selected to participate at Annecy’s next MIFA market.

Of other projects, 2D series “Flavor Quest” is intended for kids. It’s produced by Chile’s Estudio Rayo Púrpura with Maria Coello attached to direct. The TV show follows the adventures of Vera who, guided by a magical cookbook, has a mission to set free lost flavors.

Argentina’s Tamandua Estudio and Primavera Films will produce Directed by Emilce Avalos, “Future Woman,” a feminist-laced series mixing documentary and experimental animation. Each episode uses a  different animation technique, such as cut-out, rotoscoping, and 2D.

Program tutors include MIFA head of projects & education Géraldine Baché and Rémi Guittet, the Argentine Institut Français’ audiovisual cooperation attaché.

Also on board is Eleanor Coleman, head of international development and pre-sales at France’s Blue Spirit Productions, Heath Kenny, CCO at Canada’s Mercury Filmworks and Eloa Sahiry, a pitch coach at France’s L.A. Conseils.

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Cursed Fathers
Courtesy: Animation!

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Jets help empower women with online job mentoring event

Annette Guzman-Torres was feeling discouraged and frustrated, her anxiety fueled by the uncertainty of a bleak job market during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 44-year-old married mother of two boys is close to finishing the capstone project for her doctorate from Capella University. She has a 3.77 GPA, is a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success and has big professional dreams.

But Guzman-Torres was furloughed from her government job in March after the pandemic began and still hasn’t been able to return. She also found no leads for employment after her upcoming graduation.

“I was like, I have no job, nowhere to go, nothing to do,” said the resident of Bloomfield, New Jersey. “My fears, I was kind of letting them get to me.”

So, Guzman-Torres needed help — and found it, thanks to a collaboration between the New York Jets and Dress For Success Northern New Jersey-10 Counties.

Last Tuesday, 27 female Jets employees participated in an online mentoring program for women run by the affiliate of the nonprofit Dress For Success. The global organization is known for providing professional attire for women, but also helps build job search and interview skills with no-cost seminars and programs.

“It was a breath of fresh air, this event, because I felt like, OK, I see things a little clearer now,” Guzman-Torres said. “I can actually feel comfortable sending out my resume.”

Guzman-Torres was one of 11 women mentored during the event, which began as an idea by Jessica Mandler, the Jets’ vice president of human resources and administration. Mandler had weekly meetings since the pandemic began with the team’s three other female VPs — Jessica Ciccone (content strategy and marketing); Jill Kelley (legal affairs) and Jennifer Linn (partner management and sponsorships) — about what they could do as an organization to help encourage and empower women.

Mandler recalled being impressed by the impact a Dress For Success program had while she was working for the NBA several years ago. So, she connected with the affiliate in Madison — five minutes from the Jets’ facility in Florham Park — and traded ideas with Kim Iozzi, Dress For Success Northern New Jersey’s executive director.

“When I brought it back to the organization as a whole, they couldn’t have supported us any more,” Mandler said. “It was the first event like this that we had ever done. We had 27 women sign up right away, which was a huge win for us. … You almost got a little bit emotional at how excited people were and how much people wanted to be a part of this.”

Iozzi and the Jets huddled up to create a game plan that would benefit those participating as clients, such as Guzman-Torres, and those serving as mentors.

“They came at it with the right approach,” Iozzi said of the Jets. “They didn’t want a fluff program. They wanted to do something that was meaningful.”

The program included the Jets employees using Zoom breakout rooms to review and

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Manish Malhotra on Pandemic, Luxury Clothing, Expensive Masks And Mentoring Youngsters in His Most Heartfelt Interview

Manish Malhotra wearing a suit and tie

© Vineeta Kumar | Anjali Thakur
Manish Malhotra

Ace designer Manish Malhotra has completed three decades in the fashion world. He has dressed almost every star in Bollywood and has continued to make headlines as well as enthrall people with his design in fashion weeks across the country, and beyond borders. The designer always manages to bring something fresh to the table for the fashion enthusiasts. His latest collection, Ruhaaniyat, received much love and appreciation from both the film and the fashion fraternity. In a candid conversation with India.com, Manish spoke about how pandemic has changed his outlook towards life, his take on minimalism, his association with Myntra Fashion Superstar, and more. Excerpts: 1. Tell us about your association with Myntra Fashion Superstar? When this lockdown happened, and people were clueless about what will happen, then this show came to me and I said ‘you know what I want to try different and new things… let’s do it’. By the time we started shooting, my stores had opened, my workshops had opened but I just went ahead and did the show. It has been a wonderful experience for me. I meet models, actors, brides, and grooms that I work with. Here, I was interacting with youngsters who had bad mood swings, who had anxiety, who had depression. I could chat with them; I could hear them out. I could share with them my experiences of the highs and lows of work journey, how not to pay attention to fail, and mostly connect. While I stepped in simply as a judge, this show became more of an experience of interaction, monitoring, mentoring, and advising the young minds. I’m hoping to let them know that ‘listen, if you want to be a fashion influencer, you have to bring something new to the table’. 2. What are the parameters you keep in mind while judging the contestants on a show and what are the real opportunities for them in the industry, especially now when it’s going through losses due to the pandemic? For me the parameter was to hear them, listen to them. And honestly, I am not a person who can pretend. So, I heard them, and I said what I had to say. I just speak what I have to speak from my heart. I was enjoying the fact that I was connecting with these youngsters. I am hearing their mind, I am speaking my heart out to them. I am directing them towards their passion, encouraging them, and telling them that even I am a learner, just because I am sitting on a judgment seat doesn’t mean that I know it all. I think the real opportunity for them will be the Fashion Superstar show because it connects a lot more than you think. The interaction sessions, discussions, whether on-camera or off-camera have been a great experience. Agar who yeh opportunity aaj value nahi karte, woh definitely aage jaake value karenge (They might not value this opportunity
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