by Garrison Snell
In the music industry and elsewhere, all too often ‘networking’ becomes a substitute for developing a relationship. Young professionals understandably come to Nashville looking to make connections and open doors. But only rarely does someone arrive with the desire to learn and help others.
Andrew Cohen, who graduated from Belmont University in 2009 and currently works at Crush Management, had some of those unique qualities when he asked the innocent question that founded the Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP) network—“Can you bring your friends to Tin Roof tonight so we can all meet?”
Andrew and his buddies met their friend’s friends over drinks and small talk, because simply put, it’s hard to find a job without hearing about it from one of your friends.
And thus began YEP, a truly transformational movement in Nashville, not because of its business model, but because of its attitude. According to Cohen, he envisioned YEP, “As a way to connect his peers and develop stronger relationships among them to foster success as a generation.”
Overnight a groundswell began. YEP’s first mixer packed the Tin Roof with friends of friends looking to meet new people. People got jobs, connections were made over silly jokes and spilt beer, and true networking filled the air. Cohen said in a recent interview, “We’re trying to bring everyone in the industry together because one person’s success within the group is everyone else’s success within the group.”
Now nearly three years old, YEP has a digital network of over 4,100 members and is growing daily. Its mission states, “The YEP (Young Entertainment Professionals) network creates a platform for the entertainment industry to thrive in a supportive and creative environment for the betterment of its members as well as the industry as a whole via networking events, showcases and educational development.”
Part of the organization’s appeal is its free events that offer members a chance to interact with other young entertainment professionals, turn colleagues into friends and have fun at the same time.
YEP’s 15-member Board includes young music professionals from various segments of the industry including publishing, management, marketing, video, entertainment law and record labels.
Garrison Snell is a member of the YEP Board of Directors, a digital strategy consultant and an artist manager.