Toronto-based marketing, branding and artist development company Lola Media Group has launched a new mentoring program to train the next generation of female professionals in the music industry, it was announced Tuesday (Jan. 21).
Titled the Girl Connected Mentorship Program, the initiative will connect 20 Toronto-based women with music industry executives in their area of interest for a year-long mentorship. The participants were all chosen by Lola Media Group CEO Lola Plaku, who has worked with artists including French Montana, The Weeknd, Kehlani, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and Big Sean.
“I’ve dedicated much of my career to contributing to the growth of artists, and I’m excited to do the same for women who are pursuing a career in the music business or are already a part of the industry but looking to elevate,” said Plaku in a statement. “We received 200 mentorship applications, all of which left me speechless! I’m truly looking forward to connecting one-on-one with each of the women selected for our first chapter.”
Four mentors have been announced for the first year of the program: Riggs Morales, senior vp A&R/artist development at Atlantic Records; Krystyn Price, director of talent relations at Complex Networks; Nicole Wyskoarko, executive vp urban operations at Interscope Geffen A&M Records; and Adam Zia, CEO of The Zia Firm. Each will assign project milestones to their group of mentees over the course of a year and then meet with them on a quarterly basis to evaluate their work and offer advice. Mentees will also participate in various workshops with Canadian music professionals, to be curated by Plaku and Girl Connected program lead Maria Giuliana.
The program, made possible in part by the Government of Canada and FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), will kick off with a launch event on Feb. 28 at Toronto’s Daniels Spectrum event space, which will host a Puma-sponsored public panel discussion with all four mentors. Tickets to the panel are available for purchase here.
In addition to the mentorship program, Plaku will continue to curate public Girl Connected conversations around the world, with each functioning as an open forum for women to discuss challenges and successes in the entertainment and media arena. Previous conversations, which have been sponsored by organizations such as WeWork and the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU (where she serves as a professional development mentor), have featured guest speakers including Hot 97 DJ Laura Stylez,YouTube Music’s Naomi Zeichner, Coveteur editor Jodi Taylor and Liberty Fairs Fashion Group co-founder Sharifa Murdock.
Plaku founded Lola Media Group in 2017. The company counts XO Records’ artist roster (The Weeknd, Belly, Nav, 88Glam) and Puma as clients. Billboard named Plaku as an R&B/hip-hop executive to watch in 2018.