MPTF’s “True North”: An “Ah Ha!” moment by Bob Beitcher

November 7, 2013

I frequently hear about organizations trying to find their “true north” and wondered what it really meant.  A few weeks ago, I had my “Ah Ha!” moment about MPTF.

The true north?  Well, in the last 6 months now, MPTF has held a Healthcare Summit (Exploring Opportunities in the Changing Environment) and a Women’s Conference (DEAL WITH IT), in both cases convening a passionately interested audience of industry members with world-class experts to advance understanding and stimulate action.  We found topics that were “of the moment,” topics that industry members were passionate to know more about and engage in dialogue around, and we combined our thought leadership with outside subject matter experts to build incredibly interesting and fulfilling day-long programs.  Coming out of both of them, we heard from a broad range of supporters/attendees who said “amazing,” “wonderful,” “inspiring,” “life-changing,” and “sure glad MPTF did something like this!”

Conferences like this may not be something many of you would necessarily associate with MPTF, but I think we do it very, very well, and can continue to act as a resource that just isn’t otherwise available to our entertainment industry members.  Think about it this way.  At its core, MPTF has always been all about sustaining the entertainment community.  Over the years, that’s taken on different forms, starting with simple charitable relief and later including residential living, a hospital, long-term care, dementia care, social service programs, and a health care system.  Different forms of sustenance focused on different parts of our community and different aspects of our community members lives, but always true to the core mission.  By adding the roles of “convener” and “trusted resource,” we’re only extending the notion of sustaining the community into a new and rich space and we think providing a “safety net” that is less about catching you in crisis and more about offering an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue, community engagement, information gathering, networking, and life-challenging and life-changing insights.

At the September 29th DEAL WITH IT conference, we engaged 150 women in our industry in dialogue on “hot” topics that women need to know about and focus on in their daily lives but tend to put off for one reason or another.  Those include issues around having a will and estate plan, having enough of the right insurances, dealing with sudden loss, handling caregiving of a parent, imagining and moving forward on a second career, and investing for retirement.  Safety nets.  Our basic instinct on this was:  Why not get panels of subject matter experts together with women in the entertainment industry and listen, ask questions, learn, and talk?  And so we did, along with 3 amazing keynote speakers – Chanel Reynolds (of fame), Dr. Dean Ornish (his latest must-read book is Spectrum), and Cheryl Strayed (her book Wild is being developed for a major feature film with Reese Witherspoon). The moderators were incredible, the panelists were amazing, and the questions, answers, give-and-take, discussions afterwards, networking, were heartwarming and invigorating.  I’m not sure if men are from Venus and women from Mars, or however that goes, but I do know that this was a conference that could only work with a gathering of generous-hearted, open-spirited women.

And it all worked because of the incredible support we had from Madelyn Hammond, Lea Pipes, and Nancy Rubin, an incredible team of volunteers from inside MPTF and from our community, and some generous sponsors, including MetLife, Wells Fargo, UCLA Health, Cedars-Sinai, and Select Medical.

Watch here for other ways that MPTF helps sustain our community!  We will be carrying on the DEAL WITH IT conversation in digital interactive spaces, so look for more information about that in the future.  And in the meantime, join our healthcare blog at as we continue that conversation and look out for a new blog around caregiving that we’ll be launching soon.

About Bob Beitcher

Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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