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Hires, Wins & Business

AICE & AMP to Launch PrePro, a New Diversity Mentorship Program

Initially debuting in New York and Chicago, the effort will help local students explore careers in post production and music for advertising

AICE & AMP to Launch PrePro, a New Diversity Mentorship Program

AICE and AMP, the trade associations for post production houses and music studios serving the advertising industry, have partnered to launch a PrePro, new mentorship program designed to expose culturally diverse students to careers in post production and music and sound for brands and ad agencies. The program will kick off this coming semester in New York and Chicago, where both AICE and AMP have active chapters. Information on the program can be found at its web site,  

The PrePro program will be open to students between the ages of 17 and 23. The initiative will include both an outreach to AICE and AMP members to solicit and identify prospective PrePro mentors as well as an outreach to schools to build awareness for the program. While initially launching in New York and Chicago, AMP and AICE members are located around the country, with concentrations in other cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Austin and Minneapolis.  

PrePro mentees will get hands-on learning opportunities in editing, audio mixing, visual effects, music scoring and related disciplines. They’ll not only get a chance to see the day-to-day operations of professional post, audio post house and music studios, but will also receive guidance to help them obtain the skills needed to land an entry level position in the industry. The kinds of professional relationships they’ll develop through PrePro will be invaluable when they’re ready to launch their careers.  

The plan to mount a mentorship initiative was the result of like-minded thinking. Marlene Bartos, Managing Director of Yessian Music in New York and Past President of AMP, was talking about the need to attract a more diverse talent pool with Gloria Pitagorsky of Heard City, a member of AICE’s International Board. Meanwhile, in Chicago, AICE International Board President Craig Duncan of Cutters and Chicago Chapter Board Member Jon Desir were discussing the same issue. When both shared their thoughts with Rachelle Madden, Executive Director at AICE, a connection was made.  

Duncan pitched the idea to the AICE Board, which enthusiastically supported the effort, while Bartos pitched it to current AMP President Jason Menkes, Partner and EP of COPILOT Music + Sound. The program was unofficially announced last May at both the 2016 AICE Awards presentation in Chicago and the AMP Awards in New York. A joint AICE/AMP committee comprised of Bartos, Pitagorsky, Duncan, Desir and Menkes, along with Dee Tagert of Sage Ideas, then came together to develop the plan.  

Committee members say there was almost instantaneous support from the two associations on getting behind PrePro. “The need for a mentoring program like this is indisputable,” says Pitagorsky. “As an industry we have much work to do in terms of increasing inclusiveness. Through PrePro we hope to target prospective students by introducing them to the many facets of our business, including some they might not have previously considered or known about.”  

Adds Bartos, “Our goal is to engage and empower young people with a direct, behind the scenes look at a vibrant and creative industry that has such a wide range of opportunities and possibilities. Ultimately, this should also bring some much needed diversity, along with fresh perspectives, to our own companies as well.”  

According to Desir, there are a number of important reasons why AICE and AMP members should participate in the PrePro program. “One of most pressing is the urgency of the issue,” he adds, “not only in our industry but in our country as a whole. The best lessons I’ve learned in my life were from those who are not like me. And we believe there’s nothing better for a community to have a level playing field for its up and coming professionals. To that end, we have a very successful and diverse committee that’s passionate about working towards this goal.”  

For more information on PrePro, contact Alex Shannon at AICE at