UTA: Making an impact
by Chris Day
With an average of 12 hours spent in the office each day, dozens of emails sent after the kids are in bed, and weekends often spent prepping for important signing meetings, the life of a Hollywood agent is always filled with work. Every year, however, United Talent Agency (UTA) is able channel some of that tireless work ethic back into the community.
During the week of July 22-26, United Talent Agency conducted its 2nd annual Project Impact, a week of philanthropy and volunteerism that engaged the agency’s entire workforce in both its Los Angeles and New York offices. The week kicked off with a talk from Jeffrey Katzenberg, the co-founder CEO of DreamWorks Animation and one of Los Angeles’ most prominent philanthropists. UTA managing director David Kramer moderated the hour-long discussion, which ended with Katzenberg’s parting words: “exceed expectations,” both professionally and philanthropically.
With Katzenberg’s comments in mind, the agency embarked on the rest of the week’s Project Impact agenda. They included the agency’s annual Summer Bash at which actors, writers, filmmakers, studio executives and other industry luminaries mingled over drinks to benefit the agency’s arts and literary programs at University High School in L.A. Unified School District. Other activities that week included a book sorting event with BookEnds and a letter writing campaign to veterans with Operation Gratitude.
The week culminated in an all-agency Volunteer Day, where 350 employees were spread across 15 sites throughout Los Angeles and New York City, where they beautified family centers, played with seriously ill kids, and cooked meals for the hungry.
The following Monday the agency returned to the hustle and bustle of its main business, representing the careers of world class artists, but something was different. Emails flew with stories of inspiration from the past week and how new actions will be taken on their own time. One employee was biking to raise money for Best Buddies International, another was participating in the Malibu Triathlon to raise money for CoachArt. And two employee groups were formed – one to attend a training session with The Amanda Foundation to walk the organization’s rescue dogs during their lunch break and another to run/walk 100 collective miles to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
It has been amazing to watch how a change of pace for one week could not only make a significant impact in the community, but also motivate new individual efforts that will last throughout the year, and possibly a lifetime.