Executive in Residence Jack Sussman to offer industry insight, one-on-one mentorship

Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music and Live Events, CBS Entertainment, will serve as Tulanes Executive in Residence for the spring 2018 semester.

Courtesy of Career Wave Programming

Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music and Live Events, CBS Entertainment, will serve as Tulane’s Executive in Residence for the spring 2018 semester.

There are those of us that watch the Grammys — live tweeting from the comfort of the couch in sweatpants — and those of us that produce them. Jack Sussman, executive vice president, specials, music and live events, of CBS Entertainment, is among the latter.

Sussman, in an effort to pass on his knowledge of entertainment and event production to a new crop of industry hopefuls, will be hosting lectures next week to kick off his semester as Tulane’s executive in residence.

The Executive in Residence program at Tulane, coordinated by Career Wave, invites industry professionals with a connection to Tulane, often parents or alumni, to come to campus and share their experiences, career advice and industry insight with an audience of interested students over the course of three months.

The program kicks off with two presentations, the first at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 in Rogers Memorial Chapel and the second at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 in the Freeman Auditorium at the Woldenberg Art Center. These lectures are open to everyone who registers  — you don’t have to be the person aggressively live tweeting every moment of the Grammys (or the Tonys, or the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, or the finale of “Survivor” or any of the other major productions Sussman oversees) to attend. You may just be the type of person who likes to hear career success stories and, okay, maybe hopes to catch a little bit of entertainment industry gossip.

Courtesy of Career Wave Programming
Sussman, as the head of CBS specials, oversees events and specials such as the Emmys.

“I’m looking forward to speaking to larger audiences of all types of students — freshmen through seniors  — and across all degrees,” Sussman said. “And also working more closely with Tulane student leaders, faculty and staff to identify areas of interest that might be applicable for their specific audiences and classes.”

The following month, teachers and student organizations have the opportunity to invite Sussman to meet directly with their classes and groups and tailor smaller group conversations to their interests and needs. In the final month, students who attended a lecture session or met with Sussman in a classroom or student organization setting can apply for one-on-one mentorship. 

“The way it’s built is that you get to know Jack as efficiently as possible before you sit down with him, so that the time that you have with him is as effective as possible.” Director of Career Wave Programming Byron Kantrow said.

So, what’s in it for Sussman? He’s been the head of CBS specials for 20 years, with an illustrious career and a wildly busy schedule (before the dust from the Grammys had even settled, he was already hard at work producing the Elton John special airing two days later.) Why would he spend time mentoring college students? As the parent of multiple alumni, Sussman has a special place in his heart for Tulane.

Courtesy of Career Wave Programming
Sussman is primarily involved in programming specials and music-related events, such as The Grammys.

Besides that, he sees the relationship as mutually beneficial and enjoys the opportunity to learn from students as much as he teaches. Having worked with Career Wave many times in the past as a panelist for the event Tulane to Hollywood and as a resource for Tulane’s career centers, Sussman brings experience as a mentor, as well as industry information, to the table.

“[Today’s students] are far more engaging, smarter and better informed than the ones I went to college with back in the day,” Sussman said. “Being able to be a sounding board for them as they develop ideas about their future is a privilege. Having them as a sounding board for ideas we are considering is an incredible bonus and asset for me. They think about things I might never have thought about in ways I might never consider.”

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