Guest Speaker Leads to Internship, Job for Music Industry Graduate
For Bradyn Van Sant ’22, an engaging and inspiring guest lecture in one of her classes presented a unique networking opportunity, leading to an internship, and, later, a job.
September 16, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Bradyn Van Sant ’22 was taking an “Artist Management” class with Prof. Mark Tavern at the University last fall, Erinn Knight, an artist manager, booking agent, and entrepreneur, spoke to her class. Van Sant says she and her classmates were inspired by Knight’s “unmatchable energy” and her personable demeanor.
Van Sant was so moved by her talk that she followed and thanked Knight, co-founder of the creative agency and lifestyle brand Build Your Own Dreams (BYOD), on Instagram. Later, while pursuing an internship in the music industry, she reached out to Knight, explaining that she was a student in the class she spoke to. The interaction led to Van Sant’s graphic design internship with Knight.
“She is such an inspiration to so many,” said Van Sant. “Having her speak in my class gave me the chance to stand out and have the opportunity to have a conversation with her. After she spoke to us, everyone was chiming in on a conversation about how inspiring it was to feel such an energy coming from a successful woman in the music industry.”
The students’ enthusiasm and passion came through to Knight as well. She wanted to teach them that there are people in the music industry who genuinely care deeply about others and about doing good work, and she hoped to inspire the students to model that behavior.
“I remember everyone being really engaged, which was encouraging to me,” said Knight. “It seemed like they were super interested in who I was and what I was doing. So, I enjoyed that. They all seemed very passionate and asked me great questions.”
‘Watch an idea turn into a success story’
As an intern, Van Sant initially focused on graphics and social media content. She then began serving in more of an assistant role, communicating with clients and helping with touring budgets while also creating TikTok videos. Since Knight had recently begun creating The Excellence Academy, an artist mentorship program, Van Sant helped her create a program that brought together inspiring artists and entrepreneurs, enabling Van Sant to connect with them and expand her network.
Her time as an intern ultimately led to her landing a part-time job working for Knight as an executive assistant and community manager for The Excellence Academy, and she is now moving toward a full-time position. She creates a content schedule, assists with booking flights and handling tour budgeting, and even hosted her first meeting recently.
“To be alongside Erinn while she is creating her dreams is extremely inspiring, and it creates an abundance of excitement for my future,” said Van Sant. “Experiencing her thoughts and ideas and watching them flourish is insanely impressive, and working closely with The Excellence Academy is allowing me to watch an idea turn into a success story.”
‘This has prepared me’
Knight has been impressed by Van Sant’s hard work and dedication, noting that she flew to Atlanta to help with a festival a week after graduating and then headed to Boston to help with a conference. Knight says Van Sant is very organized and has helped her discover her voice when it comes to her personal brand.
“Everybody needs to be like Bradyn – and when I say be like Bradyn, that means be like yourself,” said Knight. “Do what you feel led to do, lean into that, and find your way. Bradyn felt like she should direct message me, and seven months later, she is working for me. Lean into what you believe in. Every day we are working to empower ownership by helping people build their own dreams, and we are excited for Bradyn to be on board.”
Van Sant says the courses she took at the University equipped her with a range of skills that prepared her to handle a variety of responsibilities. She cites her live music planning and promotion course as having been particularly helpful – in particular, when she assisted with the HOLY SMOKE! Festival in Atlanta shortly after Commencement.
“The past four years at the University allowed me to be comfortable with becoming hands-on very quickly,” she said. “This has prepared me for situations in which I must be adaptive and creative, which has allowed me to have the experience I had in my internship and my current position and to thrive at it.”