While the internet is still buzzing with comments from the Anne Marie Slaughter article “Women Can’t Have it all” (My Response) along comes Marissa Mayer. Six months pregnant at 37 years old she is hired as the new CEO of Yahoo, a Fortune 500 company, bringing that total to 20 (Forbes). She is the first woman to be hired pregnant to a Fortune 500 top position! The FIRST!!!! (For further reading on Marissa Mayer and this topic check out these recent articles by CNN, New York Times, and Huffington Post.) The media is alive with questions along the lines of ‘can she do it?’ ‘Is it too big of a challenge for a pregnant woman?’ and more….
I had my own Marissa Mayer type experience recently. Women Moving Millions put out an RFP to a number of filmmakers to do a short film for our upcoming launch in September. We went to our friends at Impact Partners, Sundance and more to some recommendations. We quickly got down to an outstanding list for final interviews and selected the team at Break-Thru Films co-led by Annie Sundburg. Annie has written, directed and produced for film and television. Her films include “Tully” which was nominated for four 2003 IFP Spirit Awards, it also won best film at eleven film festivals including the Los Angeles Film Festival. Her most recent documentary film “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” premiered at Sundance in 2006 and has won more than twenty festival awards to date. Annie also has many well known TV credits including “Trailer Fabulous” for MTV, “Behind the Bash with Giada DeLaurentiis” for Food Network, and “Family Plots” on A&E. She is one accomplished woman!
In the first interview Anna informed us that she was 8 months pregnant with her first child and thus would be having her baby in the middle of our aggressive production schedule. She introduced us to her team and said together we will make a great film. Without a second thought we moved forward and Annie and her team at Break-Thru Films. Over the past few weeks we have been charging forward with production. We have had calls, lots of emails and yesterday we did a full day of shooting in a studio in Brooklyn. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Annie for the first time and she was there with her three week old gorgeous baby girl. I was the third, two hour long interview of the day, and Annie was amazing. Not only was she prepared and poised, but her questions showed a deep knowledge and appreciation of our mission and purpose. The wonderful community member who followed me specifically emailed to say how impressed she was with Annie and loved that her baby was there with her.
My point is women are making work and pregnancy and motherhood happen everyday all together, all the time. Dangerous assumptions are being shattered with every story we tell and celebrate. There is no one magic formula and the key is figuring out how to make it work for you. It seemed such a coincidence that the day of this important announcement about Marissa, I was seeing it happen for another woman so beautifully and naturally right before my eyes.
So congratulations Marissa on this new role. There is no doubt you were the best person for the job and it takes a courageous board to leap past any potential controversy over your pregnancy and just do it. Congratulations Annie on the birth of your beautiful daughter, and for doing what you do so magically. It is truly an honor to be working with you and your fabulous team. Thank you.