Encantos Launches New Fellowship Program to Discover the Next Generation of Underrepresented Talent
As a public benefit corporation, Encantos puts diversity, equality and inclusion at the heart of every brand it creates. With over half of all children in the United States now being multicultural, it is critical to have greater representation in both the content that is being consumed as well as the talent creating the stories and characters. Only by increasing the amount of underrepresented perspectives will the industry be able to reflect today’s diverse kids and families. Participants need not be published or established. Inspired by the great tradition of literary fellowships awarded to writers and artists in their formative years, the Encantos Fellowship is designed to be a transformative learning opportunity for rising stars.
“We know firsthand how hard it is for new diverse talent to break into the family entertainment industry, as we initially faced similar hurdles when we started Encantos. There are not enough women, people of color, or LGBTQ voices, and we want to make sure that underrepresented talent is seen and heard,” said Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO of Encantos. “We are thrilled to have Kayla Bowles as our first Encantos Fellow. She’s an incredible writer and just the kind of rising star that we want to nurture and support.”
A native New Yorker, Kayla is a writer, artist and aspiring filmmaker who has taken a pre-college writing course at Brown University and a writer’s workshop at Sarah Lawrence College. Her interest in writing began when she was in elementary school and started reading classic fiction novels. Many of Kayla’s stories are inspired by her own experiences and interests, ranging from sisterhood and the ocean to magic and mystery.
“I love to write more than anything. It’s part of who I am,” says Kayla. “This fellowship is a way to explore what it means to share my passions with the world. I am truly honored to be selected as the first Encantos Fellow.”
The Encantos Fellowship is comprised of the following:
Education: Aligning with the Encantos philosophy to build purpose-driven stories, Fellows will work with the Encantos education team to incorporate 21st century learning, literacy, and life skills into their creative project.
Length: The Encantos Fellowship is a twelve-month program.
Marketing: Fellows will be advised on how best to package and present their creative project to both consumers and industry professionals. From presentations and brand bibles to social media and digital marketing, fellows will learn the tricks of the trade from the best in the business.
Mentorship: Fellows are mentored throughout the program by accomplished industry executives and distinguished members of the Encantos Advisory Board. Over the course of the fellowship, Fellows will have regular meetings with mentors to offer feedback on their work in progress. Fellowship mentors include:
- Sabah Ashraf: CEO North America at Superunion, WPP’s Brand Consulting Group; former leadership roles at Frog Design and IDEO
- Lisa E. Davis: Partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
- Julie Dobrow: Senior Lecturer in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and Tisch College Senior Fellow for Media and Civic Engagement at Tufts University
- Susie Jaramillo: President and Chief Creative Officer of Encantos; Creator of Canticos, the Emmy-nominated and 2x Kidscreen award-winning series
- Julie Kane-Ritsch: Head of Animation and Family Entertainment, The Gotham Group
- Rick Richter: Partner at Aevitas Creative Management; former President of the Children’s Division of Simon & Schuster and former CEO of Candlewick Press
- Denmark West: Partner at Connectivity Ventures; former President of Digital Media at BET and EVP of Strategy and Business Development at MTV Networks.
Non-Profit Initiative: In line with our purpose-driven philosophy as a public benefit corporation, Fellows are expected to identify a non-profit initiative that will be tied to their creative project.
Project: Fellows are expected to work on developing their own original creative project, ranging from a book, story, art and illustration, digital design, and more that can be presented to executives in the family entertainment industry.
Public Reviews: Fellows will participate in four quarterly public readings or reviews to receive candid feedback and to discuss their creative project’s strengths and areas for growth. The fellowship culminates in a Final Reading to showcase the progress each fellow has made.
Stipend: The fellowship includes a $5,000 stipend.
At the conclusion of the program, a creative project may be awarded a publishing or development deal from Encantos. The program provides fellowship support at the high school, college, and postgraduate levels. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program who can demonstrate superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in family entertainment, show promise of future achievement as creative talent, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the family entertainment industry. The next Fellowship application process opens in Fall 2020. For more information, please visit www.encantosbrands.com/fellows.
Encantos is on a mission to inspire 21st century kids to reach their potential through 21st century skills. Using the power of entertainment and technology to reimagine education for the direct-to-consumer age, Encantos builds purpose-driven family brands focused on kids 12 and under including Canticos, Issa’s Edible Adventures, Skeletitos and Tiny Travelers. Its learner-centered approach and stage-based digital and physical offerings include apps, books, consumer products, subscription services and videos, and have received accolades and awards from Common Sense Media, Kidscreen, Kirkus Reviews, Parents Magazine and School Library Journal. For more information, visit encantosbrands.com and follow @encantosbrands on Instagram and Twitter.
Brittany Graham, Brittany@encantos.co
[Photo: Kayla Bowles, Encantos Fellow – Spring 2020 (Photo: Business Wire)]