Amy Neben, partner and talent manager at Select Management Group.

Amy Neben, partner and talent manager at Select Management Group. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Amy Neben, 28

Title: partner, talent manager, Select Management Group

Company: Carthay-based SMG is a talent management and entertainment group specializing in young talent.

Employees: 19

Financials: SMG represents 80 clients and projects $30 million in revenue for 2019.

What led you to join Select Management Group?

I started (at SMG) in January 2016. I was working at Collective Digital Studio (now Studio71) … and I was hired there on the digital side to start working with more digital native talent. I learned very quickly there was this new type of creator who needed representation. Now my focus is not on managing digital celebrities, or whatever you want to call them, but just talent. You have to have a digital strategy regardless of whether or not your end goal is digital.

How is SMG funded, and how will it be funded going forward?

We have always been profitable. We have never taken on any funding or any capital — we have never needed to.

Are there advantages/disadvantages to having this role in your 20s, and if so, what are they?

One of the biggest struggles on the more traditional side of the industry, especially on the acting side, or the music side, is to be young and to be taken seriously, especially coming from the digital (arena). We can represent actors as well as any more traditional manager (but) we come from a different perspective. More seasoned executives don’t want to learn this side, don’t want to adapt.

Do you have a mentor?

I learned so much from reading different people’s memoirs. I look at trailblazers, especially women who are doing things that aren’t super common. Sue Mengers was a powerful female talent agent — there were not many of her back when she was doing it. I look up to (YouTube Chief Executive) Susan Wojcicki.

Where do you go for advice regarding your business?

A lot of my advice comes from Scott Fisher, who founded the company. We were in this very early on together. Also, Brian Medavoy, a very well-established talent manager on the traditional side, (has) been very supportive.

How much time/money do you spend on social media for your business?

We have someone who manages our social media account. It’s not their full-time job; it’s folded into the job description. I flipped my Instagram account public (from the private setting). It’s mostly about my clients. You get a lot of DMs (direct messages) from potential clients. It’s kind of the new way of finding people.

Does social responsibility play a role in your business?

Our division Select Impact has three pillars: fostering diverse communities, mental health and innovation. Every quarter, we do some form of internal or external volunteer or industry event that embraces one of those pillars.

Do you feel that your business is particularly tailored to the Los Angeles market, or do you feel you could have launched it in another location?

Our talent reaches globally because we are making decisions on film and TV projects. It’s not like a local business.

What do you do for fun?

I love hiking and nature and camping and traveling, doing all those activities with my dog. We also volunteer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Luna, a husky, is a therapy dog who hangs out with kids and jumps on their beds.

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