ArtsForce sits down with Salt Lake Film Society CEO Tori Baker

December 20 2019
From L to R: Laurie Anne Larson, Tori Baker, Sara Kenrick and LeAnne Hodges From L to R: Laurie Anne Larson, Tori Baker, Sara Kenrick and LeAnne Hodges

By LeAnne Hodges 

Hello all you rad artists! Last month, ArtsForce interns got together with the CEO of Salt Lake Film Society, and a University of Utah alumna, Tori Baker. For those of you who may not know, Tori has been CEO of the Salt Lake Film Society for 15 years. Before being part of this awesome non-profit, Tori had also worked for Sundance, helped out with the 2002 Winter Olympics, and worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Based off of her experience, Tori gave great advice for undergraduate students coming out of college to focus on professionalism, leadership, and relationships.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation with her:

One of the first things Tori advised us on was to have core ethics in your work, wherever you are working, and to not forget your soft skills. Core ethics are essentially values that you, or a company, may live by and apply to your work. Some examples of these ethics could be honesty towards others or adaptability in stressful situations. A few examples of soft skills are communication, teamwork, or creativity. Having both core ethics and soft skills will help give you a leg up on competitors, since oftentimes younger people go into the workforce without identifying them or without developing these skills.

You may be wondering “how do I develop these skills?” One of the best places to get help with that is the Career and Professional Development Center on campus! They’re super helpful with anything that helps you prepare for your career -- from what to put on your resumé, to how to build professional relationships with others.

Getting your first job out of college, or even just getting a new job, seems like a daunting task. However, fear not because Baker gave us some wonderful insight on how to nail a common interview question! A lot of interviews now pose cultural questions such as “tell me a time when…” This is done to see past behavior, so as to predict future behavior, as well as to identify how authentic you are being during the interview. When answering these questions, make sure you are answering with “I have done” rather than “I would do”. These answers let interviewers know that you have gone through a similar situation before and you know how to handle it, rather than you guessing what you might do.

Tori also discussed with us the importance of having curiosity in your jobs and how this could help you stand out as a leader. “If you see the need, meet the need,” Tori said. She also talked about creating pathways to success instead of demanding for them to be made for you. This means creating your own opportunities, as opposed to waiting to be told to do things. “Things are never instant, she said, “you need to ask ‘what does the road look like?’” 

As with most areas in our lives, developing relationships is important for success. Tori stressed to us “When choosing opportunities, never close doors.” Most importantly, NEVER ghost a job! Even if you hate it, you never know how that job or the relationships you make could affect you in the future. It is always about who you know. 

We love the advice Tori gave us and we hope you all did as well!

A few ArtsForce takeaways:

  • Identify your work ethic to know what it is you value.
  • Have creativity in the workplace. When you see the need, meet the need!
  • Always be authentic, especially when being interviewed.
  • Don’t forget to develop those soft skills!

We hope you all will keep these in mind when preparing to transition into jobs after graduation. Stay tuned for more helpful tips from professionals that we will be interviewing in the next couple of months!
If you are interested or want to learn more about ArtsForce, join here!

Author LeAnne Hodges is Film & Media Arts major studying with an emphasis in Animation and a minor in Drawing. She is an Emerging Leaders Intern at ArtsForce. ArtsForce is a student-led organization dedicated to articulating the value of your arts degree and helping you transition from college to the workforce.