MC@Work: The New Guard

What does it take to earn a spot on our New Guard? Contacts, lots of them. But even that's only half the story. The women on this list are all masters at converting introductions into opportunities.

What does it take to earn a spot on our New Guard? Contacts, lots of them. But even that's only half the story. The women on this list are all masters at converting introductions into opportunities. In their respective fields and beyond, they are hugely influential for their valuable ability to connect—startups with financiers, writers with producers, candidates with voters. Got your own grand plans for world domination? Get to know the impressive women of The New Guard and make it happen.
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The Pioneer: Angela Benton

FOUNDER & CEO, NEWME ACCELERATOR @abenton

Age: 32 Bona fides: One of the only players providing strategy and content for African-Americans in new media. Bragging rights: Her NewMe Accelerator, an incubator for minority-run start-ups, is backed by Google and venture cap giant Andreessen Horowitz.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Veteran: Gina Bianchini

FOUNDER & CEO, MIGHTYBELL @ginab

Age: 41 Claim to fame: Stanford alum founded Ning, an early social network, with Netscape's Marc Andreessen. Current gig: Runs Mightybell, a platform for creating communities of social networks. Power pal: Sheryl Sandberg, whose Lean In Circles operate on Mightybell.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Serial Entrepreneur: Soraya Darabi

COFOUNDER, ZADY.com @sorayadarabi

Age: 30 Claim to fame: Former social media manager for The New York Times co-founded Foodspotting, a mobile app for discovering great dishes. Social mojo: 400,000-plus Twitter followers—even Barack Obama follows her. Current gig: Zady.com sources and sells stylish, ethical goods from around the world.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Party Animal: Emily Gannett

COFOUNDER & PRESIDENT, IRL PRODUCTIONS @emilygannett

Age: 33 Bragging rights: When brands such as Kraft and Pepsi want a presence at buzzy gatherings like SXSW and Davos, IRL is the party planner of choice. Power pals: TechCrunch coeditor Alexia Tsotsis and Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Hit-Maker: Cindy Holland

VP of original content, Netflix

Age: 42 Bragging rights: Instrumental in transforming the DVD rental service into a premier destination for edgy, gripping TV. Genius move: Helped to strike a deal with star director David Fincher (The Social Network) for the critically acclaimed House of Cards. Killer instincts: Renewed Orange Is the New Black before the first season had even aired.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Star-Maker: Nicole Glaros

MANAGING DIRECTOR, TECHSTARS @nglaros

Age: 39 Claim to fame: Oversees New York operations of this elite Boulder, Colorado-based startup accelerator. In good company: Helps recruit Techstars mentors like Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Warby Parker cofounder Neil Blumenthal.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Mega-Publicist: Brooke Hammerling

FOUNDER, BREW MEDIA RELATIONS @brooke

Age: 39 Bragging rights: Runs arguably the most influential startup PR firm around. Claim to fame: Gawker dubbed her the "yentapreneur" for deft match making of clients and investors, while The New York Times called her the "doyenne of who-you-know PR." Power pals: Oracle chief Larry Ellison and Curbed founder Lockhart Steele.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Rainmaker: Melissa Rosenthal

DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES, BUZZFEED @melisbuzzfeed

Age: 24 Bragging rights: With 75 million unique views per month, no one has carved out a more enviable stake in media than arriviste BuzzFeed. Rosenthal, a former BuzzFeed intern, is key to monetizing the hell out of all those eyeballs. A-list contacts: Churns out irresistibly shareable native ads for top advertisers like GE, Virgin Mobile, and Volkswagen.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Oracle: Clara Shih

CEO & COFOUNDER, HEARSAY SOCIAL @clarashih

Age: 31 Bragging rights: Her 2009 best seller, The Facebook Era, is on the reading list at Harvard Business School. Next act: Helping financial firms manage their social media with Hearsay Social. Power pal: Howard Schultz plucked her for Starbucks' board two years ago.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Tech Lobby: Katherine Oyama

Google's copyright and trademark policy expert is a former aide to Vice President Joe Biden.

Age: 35 Backstory: It takes one to know one. That's why the nation's top tech firms have tapped D.C. insiders to mind their interests on Capitol Hill. Whether it's fending off security and privacy encroachments or pushing for looser immigration laws to satisfy their employers' voracious need for engineers, Silicon Valley's front line on the Beltway know their way around town.

Courtesy of Subject
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The Tech Lobby: Marne Levine

Former White House economic adviser under Larry Summers is now Facebook's global policy czar.

Age: 43 Backstory: It takes one to know one. That's why the nation's top tech firms have tapped D.C. insiders to mind their interests on Capitol Hill. Whether it's fending off security and privacy encroachments or pushing for looser immigration laws to satisfy their employers' voracious need for engineers, Silicon Valley's front line on the Beltway know their way around town.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Tech Lobby: Margaret Stewart Nagle

Former Vice President Dick Cheney staffer and head of legislative affairs for the Office of Management and Budget now lobbies on Capitol Hill for Yahoo.

Age: 36 Backstory: It takes one to know one. That's why the nation's top tech firms have tapped D.C. insiders to mind their interests on Capitol Hill. Whether it's fending off security and privacy encroachments or pushing for looser immigration laws to satisfy their employers' voracious need for engineers, Silicon Valley's front line on the Beltway know their way around town.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Evangelist: Chloe Sladden

HEAD OF MEDIA, TWITTER @chloes

Age: 38 Backstory: Former Current TV exec jumped to Twitter after the 2008 Democratic National Convention when she saw the blitzkrieg of tweets during then Senator Obama's acceptance speech. Genius move: Popularized hashtags and handles by coaxing media outlets like MTV and CNN into using them. Bragging rights: Her 210,000-plus Twitter followers include Marissa Mayer, Kobe Bryant, and John Cusack.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Guardian: Window Snyder

SECURITY & PRIVACY EXPERT, APPLE @window

Age: 37 Backstory: Former security ace for Microsoft and Mozilla helps ensure Apple products aren't bedeviled by the viruses and crashes that afflict PCs. Inner circle: Former NSA cryptologist David Rice and Croatian cyber-savant Ivan Krstic, both now at Apple.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Scenester: Jenna Wortham

TECH REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES @jennydeluxe

Age: 30 Backstory: Former Wired scribe covers startups, apps, and social media for the Gray Lady. Social mojo: Nearly 500,000 followers on Twitter, more than big-shot colleagues Frank Bruni and Maureen Dowd. Side gig: Publisher of Girl Crush Zine, with a first edition featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Impresario: Marcie Allen

FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, MAC PRESENTS @marcieallen

Age: 40 Claim to fame: For companies in search of cool branding opportunities and musicians eager to defray the rising costs of touring, this New York–based music vet is the go-to broker on primo sponsorship deals. Genius moves: Matchmaker behind Citi's sponsorship of The Rolling Stones' last tour; hooked up AT&T and Nokia with Green Day to launch Nokia Music.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Hollywood Midas: Gillian Bohrer

EVP OF PRODUCTION, LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT

Age: 35 Claim to fame: Key member of the team that shepherded Twilight to the big screen. Bragging rights: Instrumental in casting Robert Pattinson as the smoldering Edward. Coming soon: Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, based on the dystopian YA trilogy.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Auteur: Megan Ellison

FOUNDER, ANNAPURNA PICTURES

Age: 27 Claim to fame: Daughter of mogul Larry Ellison is a killer producer whose credits include The Master and Zero Dark Thirty. Bragging rights: Reportedly told Jessica Chastain, who initially passed on ZD30, "I cannot accept that as an answer." Coming soon: A new Terminator trilogy.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Celebs: Mindy Kaling

The creator and star of Fox's The Mindy Project, now in its second season, is also a best-selling author. @mindykaling

Age: 34 Backstory: Used to be, actresses waited around for killer roles. Now they're creating them. Hollywood's most in demand performers are hat-trick superstars: writers, actors, and directors. That means more control over scripts, more influence in casting, and of course, a bigger chunk of the profits.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Celebs: Kristen Wiig

The Saturday Night Live legend produced and stars in the upcoming Welcome to Me, opposite fellow SNL alum Will Ferrell.

Age: 40 Backstory: Used to be, actresses waited around for killer roles. Now they're creating them. Hollywood's most in demand performers are hat-trick superstars: writers, actors, and directors. That means more control over scripts, more influence in casting, and of course, a bigger chunk of the profits.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Celebs: Lena Dunham

The creator, star, and sometime director of the HBO hit series Girls nabbed a $3.5 million book dearl last year. @lenadunham

Age: 27 Backstory: Used to be, actresses waited around for killer roles. Now they're creating them. Hollywood's most in demand performers are hat-trick superstars: writers, actors, and directors. That means more control over scripts, more influence in casting, and of course, a bigger chunk of the profits.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Celebs: Olivia Munn

The Newsroom's economist turned TV personality is a best-selling author and former correspondent on The Daily Show. @oliviamunn

Age: 33 Backstory: Used to be, actresses waited around for killer roles. Now they're creating them. Hollywood's most in demand performers are hat-trick superstars: writers, actors, and directors. That means more control over scripts, more influence in casting, and of course, a bigger chunk of the profits.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Celebs: Greta Gerwig

This indie It girl—once dubbed the Meryl Streep of low-budget "mumblecore" films—cowrote and starred in this summer's critically acclaimed Frances Ha.

Age: 30 Backstory: Used to be, actresses waited around for killer roles. Now they're creating them. Hollywood's most in demand performers are hat-trick superstars: writers, actors, and directors. That means more control over scripts, more influence in casting, and of course, a bigger chunk of the profits.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Tastemaker: Sophia Amoruso

Founder & CEO, Nasty Gal @sophia_amoruso

Age: 29 Bragging rights: Turned an eBay store peddling vintage threads into an e-commerce monster, thanks to her savvy use of social media. Nasty Gal boasts more than 920,000 Instagram followers and just about as many likes on Facebook. Last year's sales were $240 million. Big backer: Serial fashion investor Danny Rimer of Index Ventures, who has seeded Etsy, ASOS, and Net-a-Porter, kicked in close to $50 million.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Informer: Christy Haubegger

AGENT, CAA

Age: 45 Claim to fame: Founded Latina magazine and served as its publisher, but lately hangs her hat at CAA, where she advises actors and filmmakers on the all-important Hispanic market. Power pals: Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Pitbull, and New Guard member Eva Longoria.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Laugh-meister: Juliet Seniff

WEB PRODUCER & WRITER, FUNNY OR DIE @julietboner

Age: 31 Claim to fame: Right hand to Mike Farah, president of production for Funny or Die, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's viral video comedy site. Bragging rights: Trained at L.A.'s Upright Citizens Brigade—the West Point for sketch comics—where she still has a monthly show.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Gatekeeper: Stacey Wilhelm

MUSIC FESTIVAL PROGRAMMER, SXSW @staceyatx

Age: 33 Claim to fame: Whittles down 10,000 applications to 2,000 need-to-know performers for coveted slots at the annual music mecca in Austin, Texas. Genius moves: Pairs legendary artists like Smokey Robinson with headliners like Raphael Saadiq, giving both acts a career boost.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Beauty Queen: Katia Beauchamp

COFOUNDER, BIRCHBOX @katiawb

Age: 30 Claim to fame: With Harvard B-school bestie Hayley Barna, co-founded Birchbox, a monthly subscription service for high-end beauty samples. Birchbox ships more than 5 million boxes annually to close to half a million beauty-junkie subscribers. A-list investors: Gary Vaynerchuk, Accel Partners' Theresia Gouw, and fellow New Guard lister Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Standout: Kirsten Green

MANAGING PARTNER, FORERUNNER VENTURES @kirstenagreen

Age: 41 Claim to fame: Founded a women-led venture capital firm in 2010 after stints in banking and private equity. Bragging rights: Last year she announced that Forerunner had raised $40 million for its first investment fund, targeting primarily e-commerce startups. A-list investments: Staked a claim in Birchbox (cofounded by New Guard member Katia Beauchamp), Bonobos, and Warby Parker.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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The Digital Guru: Melissa Grillo Aruz

FOUNDER, ARUZ VENTURES @luciaaruz

Age: 36 Claim to fame: Former Gilt Groupe marketing exec is now an e-commerce consultant. Bragging rights: Boasts a cadre of buzzy fashion clients like Madewell, Bonobos, and Moda Operandi. Power pals: Still tight with Gilt alums like Christian Leone, cofounder of Vaunte, and Birchbox veep Deena Bahri.

Courtesy of the Subjects
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