Commercial Directors Diversity Program Launches 50/50 Honorable Mentorship Initiative
Tamika Lamison, CDDP executive director
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The Commercial Directors Diversity Program (CDDP)--created by the AICP and the DGA to increase representation of women and other under-represented groups in the spotmaking/branded content directing ranks--has launched the 50/50 Honorable Mentorship Program. This mentorship effort has teamed 50+ emerging directors with 50+ commercial industry professionals who reviewed the directors’ work and then mentored them on a one-hour Zoom call, offering advice, guidance, suggestions and possible next steps to move their careers forward.

The aim of the 50/50 Honorable Mentorship Program is for the directors to receive invaluable professional advice from advertising industry professionals that will inspire them as they continue to advance in the industry. “This new initiative was created out of a desire to give more opportunities to the incredibly talented pool of women and other under-represented directors that apply to the CDDP each year,” noted Tamika Lamison, CDDP executive director. “It’s an excruciating process of elimination when there are so many worthy directors. We hope this moves the needle. In addition, we wanted to give a viable avenue of making a difference to people in the commercial industry who have reached out to us with a sincere interest in supporting diversity and inclusion--but more importantly representation and equity.”

The directors for this inaugural program were selected from previous CDDP finalists, semi-finalists and by recommendation of the CDDP Advisory Committee.

Response from mentors and mentees has been decidedly positive. For example, director Roberta Munroe shared, “The meeting was fantastic. We talked for almost an hour and a half. It ended with them asking to see more of my shorts/work, and they were excited to bring me into their fold, and see if they can help me get my first gig.  It literally could not have gone better save them offering me a job on the spot. THANK YOU SO MUCH! You seemed to have picked the perfect people for me to be mentored by.”
Mentor, company owner and executive producer Rebecca Wray of Durable Goods related, “As an EP I’m always looking for the star player who can rise me up because that’s how I’ve been trained. What I’ve learned in the 50/50 program is that I should be looking for the diamonds in the rough who are just as good and with a little coaching can be great. #believe”

Director Meredith Berg said, “Even one hour can open up a whole new world. I now feel like a career in commercial directing is really possible for me, and I’m deeply excited about that. My mentor is amazing!!! I love her! She was so generous with her time and wisdom. I took copious notes and we’re going to continue connecting. This may sound dramatic but I truly believe this was life-changing. I’m very excited to start acting on all of her advice. I cannot thank you enough for this incredible opportunity.” 

All participants, both mentors and mentees, received evaluations. The feedback and testimonials have underscored the importance of initiatives like these, and how they can truly impact the journey of these talented, directors.

Saatchi&Saatchi LA has partnered with CDDP’s new mentorship initiative, taking it one step farther by inviting some of their mentees to shadow the production process on several new projects. This is in addition to their support of the CDDP in which they offer real client scripts for the directors’ spec spots.  

The Following directors were chosen to participate in the 2020 CDDP’s Honorable Mentorship Program: 

  • Aemillia Scott
  • Anne Hollowday
  • Bobby Yan
  • Brian Tan
  • Camila Martens
  • Camilla Hall
  • Caralene Robinson
  • Carlos Hurtado
  • Corey Grant
  • Desha Dauchan
  • Devante Blackwell
  • Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour
  • Erika Bagnarello
  • Grace Kim
  • Iggi Ogard
  • Jayjit Dasgupta
  • Joab Carlos
  • Jose Ho Guanipo
  • Kellie Madison
  • Lara Everly
  • LeRon Lee
  • Li Lu
  • Maegan Houang
  • Mahesh Pailoor
  • Maja Fernqvist
  • Maria Burton
  • Mariette Monpierre
  • Mateen Kemet
  • Meredith Berg-Erwin
  • Michael Ray
  • Mitchel Dumlao
  • Mragendra Singh
  • Nanea Miyata
  • Neil Payne
  • Nicole Taylor Roberts
  • Pat Santana
  • Patrick ‘Praheme’ Ricks
  • Pedro Bermudez
  • Princess Monique
  • Puja Maewal
  • Rachel Knoll
  • Reynier Molenaar
  • Roberta Munroe
  • Rudy Gold
  • Ryan Brown
  • Sara Cross
  • Sarah Sellman
  • SJ Main-Munoz
  • Star Victoria
  • Suha Araj
  • Sylvia Saether
  • Tara Atashgah
  • Tatyana Kim
  • Temi Ojo
  • Tiffany Frances Wang
  • Toni Thai Sterrett
  • Tracey Aivaz
  • Varda Bar-Kar
  • Wanjiru M. Njendu

The CDDP recently announced five Fellows for the third cycle of the CDDP program to be held in 2021. Those directors will receive a stipend to create a spec commercial, participate in a workshop series and be paired with a mentoring production company who will produce their spec commercial. The program also announced 15 finalists who will be invited to attend the program’s workshop series.

For information on the program, how and when to apply click here or contact Tamika Lamison.



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