Getting To Yes
Where do you turn when launching your own venture? To your network.
David Anthony is one of scores of Bennington alumni who can trace his big break to Field Work Term. Big breaks come in many forms. Some come, as Carol Channing’s did, through auditions during Field Work Term—where she landed her first major role. Some come as bands build audiences and buzz by touring and recording (Will Stratton, Mountain Man, Spinto Band, BOBBY). Some come as writers, like Brett Easton Ellis, craft their debut novel in college. Some are businesses, NGOs, or inventions that begin during those seven weeks. David’s big break, although he didn’t know it, was in motion during his first Field Work Term experience. He was working for JSM Music, a prominent advertising jingle house that wrote, produced, and recorded music for national advertising campaigns.
While he was there he became friends with the owner and CFO. He kept in touch with both of them throughout his time at Bennington. When David finished college, he was ready to launch his first company—a DVD design and production studio—with another alumnus. “DVD was just emerging as a new video format,” he explains. “The production work dove-tailed nicely with all that I had studied, which was a lot: computer technology, video and audio production, and interface design.”
The business required a lot of startup capital. David felt confident about his skills, but he needed guidance about how to attract investors. He reached out to the owner and CFO at JSM, looking for advice. “It had not occurred to me that they would invest the money,” he says. “But they did, to my surprise. They liked the idea and decided to provide the startup capital we needed to start the business.” It was that investment that got them off the ground and launched David’s entrepreneurial career.
My Field Work Term experiences have been about pitching ideas, getting business, and learning how to get people to say, ‘yes.’
Junior Mike Goldin isn’t waiting for a big break, he is crafting one. Mike knows himself well, well enough to know that he doesn’t want a boss, he doesn’t want a “9-5” desk job—what he wants is to make work on his own terms, and his own schedule. He is figuring out how to do this using Field Work Term to generate business and buzz. “My Field Work Term experiences have been about pitching ideas, getting business, and learning how to get people to say, ‘yes’,” he explains. So far he’s succeeding. He has managed a state legislator’s website and social media redesign; he has produced videos and articles for a life sciences company; he’s the editor of the College’s student-run student newspaper; and now he is gaining experience with one of the largest independent public relations firms in the world. He wants this to lead to work with more clients who are passionate about what they’re doing and, as he puts it, “know why their work matters.”