Agency Director Gains Leadership Skills — and Opens Doors for Diverse Filmmakers
The Stanford LEAD online business program gave JP Patterson, director of film content and partnerships at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the tools to lead and innovate.
More than 20 years into her career, Los Angeles-based entertainment executive JP Patterson had accomplished a great deal. She had produced Emmy Award-winning music videos and Super Bowl commercials, forging partnerships with some of the world’s biggest artists and brands. She then moved into technology marketing, first for Intel and then for other tech innovators, producing content that connected with and impacted audiences.
Now, she leads teams of artists and content creators for San Francisco-based advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. In 2021, Patterson knew that she wanted to not only take her career to the next level — she wanted to do more to help others in her industry. She just wasn’t sure what or how.
Patterson enrolled in Stanford LEAD to gain career-building leadership and management skills. In the process, she discovered a fire within her to dismantle the barriers for rising filmmakers who come from underrepresented groups.
Preparing for the C-suite
“A lot of us make it into management without any real training on how to manage people,” Patterson reflects. “I had gotten to a high enough level in my career, but I wanted to be in the C-suite — the true top leaders of companies. I realized to stand out, you need a sophisticated framework to tackle challenges and navigate workplace politics, power dynamics, organizational structures, and business model design.” She adds, “I never had that type of formal training, and I could only take myself so far. I needed the LEAD program to push me up to the next level.”
The LEAD program’s foundational courses in strategic leadership, finance, and critical thinking helped Patterson’s professional growth take root. And the Building Power to Lead course gave her the insights and courage to become more influential in her organization.
“All the things you think you know about advancing by getting along with people … throw that out the window,” Patterson says. “From a young age, we’re taught to get along and blend with the group, but we have biases about who we perceive as having power — and it’s not the person who goes along and blends in.”
“Attributes like confidence, assertiveness, willingness to lead, and an ability to act autonomously with total conviction — these are the things you need to invoke,” she continues. “What I learned in these courses helped me arrive at my innovation and then push past the challenges I had to get to launch [our new program].”
Becoming an Industry Innovator
As part of the program, Patterson took the elective course Creating a Life of Consequence, which helped her align her values with her work — and develop a plan to make an impact in the lives of others. She thought about the challenges she encountered as a woman coming up in the entertainment industry. “I wanted to do something to promote underrepresented filmmakers and storytellers, and to connect our clients with diverse perspectives,” she says. “Brands have a responsibility to tell stories representative of the communities we live in.”
Shortly after completing the LEAD program, Patterson approached her agency’s leaders and partners with her idea for a directors-in-residence program that would let filmmakers from diverse backgrounds shine. “My coursework gave me the methods and the tenacity to fight for something I believed in,” she said. “Otherwise, I probably would have given up.” Following her lead, in June 2022 the agency launched the RESIDENCE program with its first cohort of 12 diverse young filmmakers. Patterson is the program’s founder and executive director.
“Launching RESIDENCE is 100% from my Stanford experience,” Patterson says. “I was taught if I employed these methods, the results would work. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Patterson looks forward to working with emerging filmmakers and taking her own career to new heights, too. “The Stanford LEAD Program was a catalyst for me to think like a true leader,” she says. “It gave me the framework to go from just being a rock star producer to becoming an innovator in my industry.”