Calvin Lam graduated from SGHS in 2012, and graduated cum laude from UCLA in 2016 with a degree in Communication Studies and minor in Cognitive Science. He currently works as a Digital Creative Coordinator with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Entertainment Marketing and Digital team.
Why did you decide to pursue this career field?
My involvement with journalism in high school got me interested in media; I was about to go to journalism school for college, but when those plans changed, I looked towards the broader media & entertainment industry instead. Because I had a background in graphic design, choosing a career that offered both creativity and content creation was a natural fit. I get to watch movies and TV shows for a living.
What obstacles have you faced in regards to your career?
My biggest obstacle was myself. This industry is a network of people who all know each other—to get a foot in the door means having to know someone. As an introvert, I never enjoyed networking, but I soon realized it was the only way I could get my resume seen. Even after that, there’s the incredibly challenging road of securing rigorous internships, learning the language of the trade, building basic professional skills, and proving your value and worth when there are thousands of other people vying for the same (admittedly popular) career. Ultimately, the most important thing was coming across the right people who believed in me and gave me the space and opportunity to get started.
What has been the most rewarding/disappointing part of your job?
I get to design and create content seen by millions of people all over the world—I try to stop and remind myself of that privilege from time to time. It’s also rewarding to see an idea or concept come to life after a lot of hard work, and then seeing that work appreciated by a huge audience.
What lessons have you learned from your job?
First: you have to love and enjoy the people you work with, beyond everything else. If you’re not in a supportive environment surrounded by compassionate leaders who care about your growth, nothing else will be worth it. Second: Always advocate for yourself. You are your best champion, so talk about your work, highlight it, share it, etc., and never rely on others to do that for you. And third: Have a lot of fun. Because if you’re not having a blast doing what you do, then why do it?
What goals did you have in mind while considering this career path?
Other than being able to make really cool stuff, one of my biggest goals is advocating for equal, diverse representation in media and entertainment. It’s important to me that representation and inclusivity isn’t just about the people in front of the camera, but also behind the camera. I often work in environments where I am the only Asian American in the room, but these rooms are where executive decisions get made about what gets created and what goes out into the world, so it’s critical that these spaces represent the people they serve. I hope I get to play a part in transforming the industry into a more diverse, inclusive one.