Keeping Women in Production + the Power of Mutual Mentorship

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Do you know how many female CEOs of commercial video production companies I know? I know one. For years, I’ve looked. I’ve hoped to find a mentor or two who could help me start to build the foundation of my own successful company. And when I met Erica, I had already been about a year into my business venture. But meeting her and many other female CEOs of other creative businesses made me realize something: Maybe the answer to getting more women into production and staying isn’t about traditional means of professional growth.

Maybe, the key is in mutual mentorship. Fact: there are very few women working in top-level roles at production companies or in production. As a result, there are fewer models for women who want to get into the industry to turn to for advice, much less build relationships. And while women can turn to men, the dynamics that play out in finance and tech and many other male-dominated industries play out in production too. It’s important not to pretend like this is a problem that can’t be fixed.

Which is the reason I am such an advocate for collaborative career building.

Much of how I built my career was by turning to women (and men) who could help me AND whom I could help in return. I wrote about this in great detail on my own blog and you can go into that there, but here’s the excerpt that I think matters.

Mutual Mentorship says: No matter what your title, role, salary, bonus plan, career path, education – you have something to offer others professionally.

It’s funny, in all other areas of work and play and love and relationships – we stray away from the concept of top-down hierarchy because it’s largely considered ineffective at best and downright foolish at worst. It disincentives listening because it communicates that some people have more to offer than others. And it perpetuates traditional power structures by reinforcing the idea that you have to have a certain amount of it in order to be worthy of giving other people advice.

Deconstruct that idea and suddenly the available talent pool for “mentors” grows exponentially. People that have asked me to “mentor” them have often taught me just as many things about myself. Defining our relationship under traditional power dynamics limits what I can take away, which frankly, is a lot. It undermines mentors too, because it suggests that we don’t have the ability to expand into bigger roles or evolve our thinking even on topics which we are considered to be the “experts.” Perhaps challenging who can be a mentor would allow us all to broaden its value.

You can read the rest of the post here. While this one thing won’t resolve all the problems in the industry, it is a start. Here’s a few other things you can do right now if you’re a woman in production looking to get your start:

– Join the WIFTI in your area
– Check out our Resources for Women in Production
 Volunteer for women’s film festival in your area

—–

Post written by Elizabeth Giorgi, CEO and Founder of Mighteor.