Meet Mandi (Photos)
Mandi Wyndham is the training and volunteer services coordinator at Montgomery Community Media (MCM) and she is the lead instructor of the Backpack Journalism program. She also coordinates the annual Monty awards ceremony, which is scheduled for Nov. 17 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown.
I recently asked Mandi a few questions about her role at MCM and her background in television.
Tell me about your position at MCM. How long have you worked here and what do you do?
“I am the Training & Volunteer Services Coordinator at MCM. I wear many hats with my position here. I help producers with their first shows after they complete their producer class and help technicians connect with producers to help out with their shows. I am the instructor for Backpack Journalism, Citizen Journalism and the Smart series that uses one’s Smartphone or tablet for media. I also play a key role in other projects such as Power2Give, Candidates’ Spotlight and the Monty Awards. Oh, and you can’t forget my [two] blogs, Talking TV and Summer Backpack Journalism. I am sure I forgot something.”
“I did study television production in college. I have a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications with an emphasis in television and video production from Lee University in Cleveland, TN. I also have a minor in Bible. (That’s a little known fact). I wanted to be a journalist since the time I was the anchor for my class newscast in 4th grade. I wrote for my school paper and had aspirations to be a news anchor when I got out of school. That goal changed when I got my internship during my senior year in high school (Magruder) at MCPS-TV. I fell in love with the production side and went on to study that. While in college I was very involved in Lee’s Video Production Center and internship at the FOX affiliate in Chattanooga, TN. I was able to learn skills that have helped me today, such as producing and editing. MCM, MCT at the time, was my first production job out of college. I was hired as a Production Technician (PT). A few years later, I went to the [Washington] D.C. bureau of FOX News to work in production. That was great experience. It merged my two loves, news and television production! I learned a lot. I also freelanced at few other media outlets and then came back to MCM in 2009 where I began my new adventure as a Production Consultant.”
What are your hobbies? Tell me about your personal life outside of MCM.
“My husband and I live in Gaithersburg. I grew up in Gaithersburg actually. Both of our families live in Montgomery County. My husband is a hunter, so he recently took me to a shooting range to learn how to shoot a gun. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be and shooting a .22 pistol can be pretty fun and what a stress reliever! I got a bull’s-eye my first time shooting! I am also a certified Zumba fitness instructor. I am actually on hiatus from that right now because of a knee injury. I am very involved in my church and love helping out others. I am currently working on a project called Operation Christmas Child for my church. We are filling shoe boxes with things to send to around the world for underprivileged children. I try to stay busy. One of my favorite authors is Karen Kingsbury and I think I have read about every book she published. I listen to all types of music, but my favorite band of all time (and I am probably dating myself) is Aerosmith.”
What is the favorite part of your job? How do you like working with youth? What classes are coming up?
“My favorite part of my job is working with people, especially the teens in Backpack Journalism. I am a people person. It is very rewarding to work with a producer who has a show idea and take it from paper to TV. There are so many steps involved and all the hard work pays off in the end. We have some great shows that are currently airing and some that are on their way to be aired soon. I absolutely love working with youth. They are so full of creativity and energy. Their ideas are important. I am honored and humbled to be a part of their stories. They have a voice and being able to help them find it and share it is an incredible feeling. I am currently working on revamping and adding to the Smart series. This series of one-day workshops teaches you how to use your Smartphone or Tablet to create and edit videos and pictures. I am also always finding ways to make Backpack Journalism and Citizen Journalism better. Media changes daily, so we need to make sure we are as up to date as possible. We can’t tweet or post something that’s yesterday’s news. Stay tuned for more details and [new] classes coming soon.”
“The Monty’s, otherwise known as volunteers recognition night, is the event that we host to honor all of our hard working volunteer producers, technicians, and, new this year, bloggers. We want to show them how much we appreciate them and the work they do. Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t have such great shows on air on MCM or read worthy blogs on MyMCMedia.org. The Monty awards are like the Emmy awards for MCM. It’s the night that volunteers are in the spotlight and shine! Our producers submit their programs and they are judged by media professionals. Don’t ask who the winners are, because I am not telling.”
“My main role with the Monty [awards ceremony] is coordinating the event. I begin preparations in the spring. There’s a lot involved. I want everyone … to enjoy their evening and I hope to make it as perfect as possible. Training, Volunteer and Services Manager Larry Merewitz and I sit down and plan out all the details, from food to gifts to trophies, we do our best to make it a night to remember. You will usually see me running around checking to make sure everything is perfect that night. It’s a great time and I am looking forward to it.”
“I am a news and political junkie. I am very active on social media and always wanting to learn more. I am an only child and my mom is my best friend. My family is important to me and we are VERY close. My grandfather was a pastor in Gaithersburg. We have roots in southern Virginia and Tennessee. (Go Vols!) My favorite sport is football (Redskins all the way!) and my favorite color is pink!”
You can read Mandi’s Talking TV blog on the MyMCMedia.org website at http://www.mymcmedia.org/partner/talking-tv-with-mandi-wyndham/. You can also follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MandiWyndham.