Meet the Mentor is an in-depth interview with an ACP Mentor that seeks to learn his or her personal perspective on life, leadership and mentoring.
Larry Baldauf is an Executive Vice President of Marketing at Fox Searchlight Pictures. In this role, he is responsible for strategic campaigns in Audio Visual, Print and Digital mediums. Larry comes from a long line of Naval Officers and was a F/A-18 fighter pilot and instructor. In 1991, his peers voted him the squadron’s “Flight Instructor of the Year”. He has served as a Mentor in ACP's Veteran Mentoring Program since 2013.
Q: Which aspects of your military career translated well to the entertainment industry?
First and foremost, anyone who has served in our military has proven that they will work for an ideal higher than themselves. I think the translatable skills learned in the military apply to any civilian sector: the reliability of showing up and doing your job, the understanding of a chain of command – whether stated or not -- and the ability to self-start on tasks.
Q: When people imagine working at a media company, they often picture a lot of glamour. What is it really like to work in your industry?
There is some glamour. I like attending the events, the film festivals and the creative process with the filmmakers and talent. Like any job, there is some downtime. I will say that people in all facets of my industry have a respect for those who have served, which is a nice leg-up in most rooms. As a veteran, you will be taken seriously and that’s good news!
Larry's Transition Advice
Q: You suffered an injury that caused you to stop flying and make some big career changes. Do you have any advice for veterans going through similar experiences?
I did suffer a career ending injury. My rehabilitation took nearly a year and I had immense fear entering the civilian marketplace. I wasn’t sure that my specific military experience would translate to the civilian world. It did.
Because we have managed and have been managed in the military, we know what it means to work with people with varied backgrounds, all for a common goal. Companies need this. Use your military anecdotes as a means to highlight your ability to problem solve, take action, manage, and team-play. It’s a potent combination for any employer.
Q: When you were transitioning, did you do many informational interviews? Did they help with your job search?
Yes, I did over 50 informational interviews and I highly recommend them. First, the person you are speaking with is “off the hook” as he/she doesn’t have to offer you a job. Second, people WANT to help. Lastly, it will help you refine your search and become more specific as you grow your network from meeting to meeting. Each informational meeting should end with you asking who they can recommend you to speak with. Again, they will help!
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is preparing for an informational interview?
Simple. Know the person and what his/her company does in a general capacity. A lot of information can come from a simple Google search, yet it’s amazing how many people I have met that have no idea of my company. This will help you form relative, tangible questions going into the meeting.
Larry's Mentorship Advice
Q: Many of our Mentors have not served in the military, but are eager to provide guidance to their veteran Protégés. As a retired Lieutenant Commander, how would you advise them to better understand military culture and their Protégé's transition?
I think there is a perception in the civilian world of 'what veterans are all about' that can be a bit narrow-minded. The thing to understand is that the Armed Forces are comprised of some of the most free-thinking, responsible men and women this country has to offer. That empathy will go a long way when trying to zero in on what your Protégé can benefit from. Know that those who have served are not afraid of change or new ideas so don’t shy away from suggesting events or meetings that you would feel were out of their comfort zone.
Q: You coordinated a networking opportunity for your Protégé….on a beach volleyball court! How would you advise veterans to broaden their networking practices to create strong professional relationships?
My Protégé and I met over dinner with a colleague of mine and he mentioned his weekend volleyball games at the beach and extended an open invitation. It is an example of professionals in all walks of life including their co-workers in their personal lives. I would suggest talking beyond your resume in informational meetings to find that common ground and follow up on invitations. Remember that the person who you are meeting wants to help and probably knows someone who can.
Q: What do you hope your veteran Protégé takes away from the mentorship experience?
That I want to help in any way I can, because he deserves that.