"This is a room full of women who get it gone," declared Marie Claire's editor in chief Anne Fulenwider during her opening remarks at Marie Claire's 2nd annual luncheon honoring The New Guard, or as we like to call them, the 50 most connected women in America.
The 44th floor of Hearst tower was filled to the brim with powerful women, from Hollywood shot callers to Silicon Valley VIPS. The event's theme was women flipping the script, and the afternoon boasted an unparelled line-up of women who've done just that. The first speaker was Betsy Beers, executive producer of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder — in other words, Shonda Rhimes partner in crime. Beers gave us a hilarious, no-holds-barred rehash of how television saved her life, and drove one very important message home: "Women on TV are not a fad."
Next, Fulenwider invited Rashida Jones, Amanda De Cadenet, Frozen director Jennifer Lee, and VP of Original Content at Netflix Cindy Holland to speak on a panel about getting the better of the Hollywood boys' club. During the conversation, Lee spoke about her hard-fought battle to make it the film business and having to sell Frozen's feminist characters to male executives, while Holland explained she sought to create content that truly satisfied the demand for strong female characters.
When asked how she broke barriers as an actress, writer, and producer, Jones explained: "I wasn't going to get any further waiting for people to create opportunities for me." Lacing a fervent thought with a touch of humor, she had another solution. "If there's money to be made, people will embrace gender equality," said Jones.
On a final note, there was unanimous agreement that the most important part of overcoming adversity in the male-dominated industry was women supporting women — much like they were doing that afternoon.
Get familiar with The New Guard's 50 female power brokers here.
Audrey Gelman, Janet Mock, Anne Fulenwider
Anne Fulenwider, Jennifer Lee, Rashida Jones, Cindy Holland, Nancy Cardone