Year of Graduation: 2004
Current Job: Executive Producer of "Twin Cities Live"
Mandy is the Executive Producer for the afternoon show, "Twin Cities Live" on the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. For this "lifestyle" show, she calls all the shots. Mandy helps guide her team in producing all the content for the show. She also supervises all operations from the talent on screen to the technicians behind the scenes. After a show airs, she works with the talent and crew to critique the show and look for ways to continue to improve the production. Mandy says, "This is a fast paced career and I love it! It is deeply satisfying being able to see the show come together and knowing that people are watching my work. I am extremely proud to lead a team of passionate individuals to create local programming that is positive and uplifting."
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
During my time at the College of St. Benedict, I worked in the I.T. Help Center and Career Services. These two positions taught me how to problem solve and work with professionals from all walks of life. I also participated in several internships. I spent a summer interning for Target Market (a non-profit media campaign designed to keep teens from smoking) and two summers interning at KARE 11. I also interned during the fall of my senior year at a cable access station in St. Cloud. My internships gave me a first-hand look at what it takes to work in media and the skills I needed to develop to be successful in this field. After graduation, I worked at the NBC affiliate in Eau Claire, Wisconsin as morning show producer and fill-in reporter. I worked overnights and for less money than I paid in tuition the previous year but I still loved my job! It was then I knew I was hooked on TV. From there I went on to become a morning show producer at KARE 11. After a few years at KARE, I decided to leave news and take a job as producer for a nationally syndicated kids show on PBS. I loved that job and that's when I knew I wanted to focus on lifestyle programming. When that show wrapped, I was lucky to meet the right people at the right time and was hired to develop Twin Cities Live. The show launched on April 21, 2008 and it was one of the most stressful and yet satisfying days of my career.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Networking and internships! The work experience from the internships will give you the skills to set yourself apart from others. Build positive relationships with people that have similar values as you and look for guidance from your mentors. My personal mentors really helped me figure out when and where to go with my career. They also kept me going when things were tough. Starting out in TV is not easy. There are a lot of talented people and entry level jobs are hard to come by. Be flexible and willing to move or take less pay. Experience is priceless and you can't get anywhere in TV without it.
What skills are important in your field?
Good writing skills often transpire into good verbal skills and better overall communication. For my job, good communication is critical because I need to work with a lot of different people and ideas to produce each show. Drive is just as important, your job alone, should motivate you. You want to be passionate about what you are doing with your life.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
I encourage students to get involved on and off campus. I was involved in JEC, The Record, played intramural sports, worked on and off-campus jobs and spent plenty of time studying and hanging out with friends. Having a full plate taught me time management skills. It also taught me how to socialize with a wide range of people. I also highly recommend studying abroad. Working in TV, you have to be a good traveler and very flexible.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
The best feeling comes after having a really great show. We receive viewer comments often expressing their love for the show and I take a lot of pride in providing positive and local programming for my community.