I’ve never really considered myself a feminist. The picture the word feminist creates in my mind is a women protesting with a big sign basically complaining about something that will not affect change by yelling in a group. Sorry, but it almost seems comical to me. Growing up in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world and the ‘land of hopes and dreams’ give everyone a fair chance but in reality, nothing is fair about it--and especially if you are a woman. So here’s a bit of my story some things no one will tell you and some encouragement for the up and comers, the college grads, the dropouts and all those the tenacious girls in the world.
Tenacious. You have to be out there pushing it every day. I started my career working for music mogul lawyers. No women lawyers, all guys, an all men’s club objectifying women. We just kind of accepted it and took it as the way it was. I learned very quickly to stand up for myself and drew the line at a major music attorney who decided to throw a lamp when his addiction became apparent and he could no longer use it to manically make deals with record labels and the powers at be. He doubled my salary when I called him on it. It changed the course of my career because now I was looked upon as someone who could handle crazy people. I quickly moved into a bigger league, a major studio, and then a major film company. Working for crazy people. And then I caught a break because I had put in my time and became a TV syndicator when the business was booming. The age of Oprah. Love @Oprah. No offense, but she was so good at ‘breaking the 4th Wall” that I once told Roger King I could ‘phone in those TV station deals.’ He laughed so hard and told me I was right. He actually said he should fire all his sales guys the next day. But of course, he didn’t.
Sell yourself even if you don’t know what you're selling. Fast forward from TV Syndication in the 80’s and 90’s to 2000. I was hired from an Internet posting to run a global IT division for media and entertainment. And I was hired because they wanted a woman. I thought the roles were changing. But the clients had not. Another major studio. And when I led a team that discovered $14M of lost revenue, the male CFO called me directly and asked me who the hell I thought I was? Would it have been better if it were a guy? Who wants some young girl telling a major studio head you don’t know where your money is leaking?
Flirt vs. Fact. Raising money as a woman. Now that’s fun. It’s the strategic game that honestly and unabashedly crosses the line between flirt and fact. The flirt works when they are narcissistic smaller men in stature. The fact works when they are smart and like the idea of a woman that is smart, can pitch in a room, and get it done. Combine the three and you hit a home run. I’ve hit home runs in a lunch and in a week. Millions of dollars.
Don’t be afraid of the back seat. To be a woman in this business puts you in the back seat. Be the back seat driver with some proficiency. Heck, even my fiancé lets me drive at this point. But he’s a unique creative composer genius who actually loves women – a rare find and another blog.
The new marketplace. The new young millennial girls entering the marketplace are finding out very quickly that times indeed have not changed. Even my assistant came to me recently and said “Does any guy take a girl seriously when they are networking for a job or is it all about getting my phone number?” The truth is no. No guy every takes you seriously. They want your phone number. They are primal. It’s a fact. The smart ones just curb their inner ape.
Be the woman in the deal. I am the woman in multiple deals these days and the boyz club comments still continue. You have to have a great sense of humor to tolerate the mediocrity of some men. I was actually told as recently as this week that I shouldn’t come to an investor meeting because I was a WOMAN and the investor was from the Midwest and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea!? I laughed so hard at this comment because it exemplifies the radical intimidation that we women need to bottle and use every day of our lives. And just so its clear, my other partner was banned from the meeting because he was too smart (a Yale Grad) and too nice! Talk about equality.
Create opportunity with other girls. I’ve never had the opportunity to pitch a women investor. Always wanted to get in front of Christy Walton and/or Abigail Johnson at Fidelity and definitely Marissa Mayer at Yahoo so if any of you are reading this or know them, please share. Thanks @KerryDolan for the great article on Forbes. The time will come for The Girlz Club to be Alive and Well… I’m doing my part as I always try to help women at any age. It’s not like we want to eradicate the future domination of the male corporate executive, but its time they don’t mind getting in the back seat and letting us drive.
I plan on driving that bus SOON.😜🎬