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Blog: Launch of the 4th UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme

On 30 June, in a special UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme session, graduating participants of the third edition passed the torch to the new intake of mentors and mentees.

While CineEurope usually marks this celebratory moment each year, the 2020/2021 edition was launched online. The enormous interest that we received in the past months highlighted that, during these challenging times, our industry needs support and empowerment schemes like ours more than ever. Therefore, for UNIC it was imperative to ensure the continuity of the programme, even if it meant temporarily switching our in-person meetings to virtual gatherings.

Monica Chadha, Independent Director, moderated the session and made sure that all 34 participants felt at ease to network, connect and engage - even virtually.

As is tradition, we kicked-off this year’s get-together with an inspirational speaker. We were honoured to be joined by Mariam el Bacha, CEO of Cinepax and a previous mentor in the programme, who shared her learnings and path to leadership. Afterwards - reflecting on the conversation with Mariam - the group further explored the topic of Leadership in times of crisis by exchanging their own experiences.  

Following this, together with Sharon Reid, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Cinema Next, we discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and what our industry could do to ensure wider diversity and more inclusive leadership.

The last part of the meeting was focused on the stars of the evening: our mentors and mentees. Graduating mentors and mentees shared their mentoring journey, individual highlights from the past year and also advised the new intake on what worked, and what didn’t work, for them.

We then exchanged thoughts with mentors and mentees from the fourth edition, both on their motivation to join the programme and to give back to the sector. In particular, it was extremely rewarding to hear from Grainne Peat, Managing Director at the Event Cinema Association (ECA), who shared her journey from a mentee in the pilot edition of our mentoring scheme to a mentor in the newly launched one.

All in all, it was an empowering session and we cannot wait to see how the mentoring journey of the new cohort of mentors and mentees will take shape over the next 12 months!

A press release on the launch of the fourth edition of the programme can be found here.

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