Power is fast becoming a woman's game. Used to be it was exercised by monied men on golf courses and in oak-paneled board rooms. (How dated is that?!) These days, true clout is measured by who you know and, more important, what you do with those contacts. And nobody knows how to network better than we do. Want to spot a real power broker? Start here, with the 2nd-annual New Guard list of the most connected women in America.
38, ACTRESS, WRITER, PRODUCER, CO-FOUNDER OF LE TRAIN TRAIN AT WARNER BROS. (@IAMRASHIDAJONES)
Roles on NBC's The Office and Parks and Recreation made the second-generation Hollywood Harvard grad (mom is actress Peggy Lipton, dad is uber producer Quincy Jones) a familiar face. Jones is comfortable on both sides of the camera—her hot TV production company has nine shows in development. Their first series, the rom-com A to Z, is on NBC now. Upcoming: the title role in Steve Carell's comedy Angie Tribeca as an LAPD officer.
35, CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND STAR OF ABC'S CRISTELA (@CRISTELA9)
Her start as a stand-up comedian helped her craft the image that has made this Texan one of the few Latinas on primetime in a central role. Her show, about life as a first-generation Mexican-American, was initially nixed by ABC execs who then snapped it up after seeing a bare-bones episode she bankrolled with her kill fee.
43, SCREENWRITER AND DIRECTOR (@ALITTLEJELEE)
As writer and codirector of the Oscar-winning juggernaut Frozen (which has to date raked in $1.2 billion at the box office, the top-earning animated film of all time), Lee joins an elite cadre of billion-dollar directors such as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. The first woman to helm a Disney animated studio feature, she has a Frozen short next up, as well as the screenplay adaptation of YA cult novel A Wrinkle in Time.
28, PRODUCER, FOUNDER, ANNAPURNA PICTURES (@MEGANEELLISON)
The press-averse daughter of tech billionaire Larry Ellison last year became the first woman in history to score two Best Picture Oscar nominations in the same year, for producing Her and American Hustle. (All told, Annapurna racked up 17 noms last year alone.) Next up: the Oscar-buzzed Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum.
RETURNING NEW GUARDER
45, VP, ORIGINAL CONTENT, NETFLIX
Having notched zeitgeist-tapping hits House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black (the second season was Netflix's most-watched original series to date), Holland, the Los Gatos streaming giant's programming guru, is turning her sights to comedy. She's green-lit a talk show for Chelsea Handler, a comedy series produced by Judd Apatow, and a sitcom from Friends cocreator Marta Kauffman starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.
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35, COPRESIDENT OF PRODUCTION, COLUMBIA PICTURES
As gatekeeper at one of Hollywood's most venerable studios, Minghella presided over Oscar contenders Captain Phillips and American Hustle, and logged stints at Harvey Weinstein's Miramax Films and Sony Pictures under cochair Amy Pascal. Next up: a rumored all-female reboot of Ghostbusters.
36, SVP, ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING AND DEVELOPMENT, COMEDY CENTRAL (@BAPOSCH)
The former assistant to Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is now a comedy talent-spotter extraordinaire in her own right, overseeing development of East Coast–based original programming for the Viacom-owned network. Among Posch's big credits: ratings favorite Inside Amy Schumer and the Amy Poehler executive-produced Broad City.
44, WRITER, PRODUCER, FOUNDER, SHONDALAND (@SHONDARHIMES)
Arguably TV's most powerful showrunner now owns Thursday nights on ABC with her trifecta of hit dramas, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and the most recent How to Get Away With Murder. She's also the rare behind-the-scenester with her own celebrity profile—watch for her cameo on NBC's The Mindy Project this season.
44, PRESIDENT OF PRODUCTION, 20TH CENTURY FOX
Fox's resident hitmaker shepherded a slew of blockbusters including X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Other Woman, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. (Combined box-office haul: $1.6 billion worldwide.) She's credited with coaxing überdirector David Fincher to direct this fall's gripping adaptation of the Gillian Flynn best-seller Gone Girl.
25, ACTRESS, FILMMAKER
One of the most prolific actresses in the game, with six films due out next year, she costars opposite Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler, the much-buzzed-about addiction drama.
31, ACTRESS, WRITER, PRODUCER (@BRITMARLING)
Look for the indie screen queen in the upcoming Civil War drama The Keeping Room and the Terrence Malick–produced Abe Lincoln biopic, The Better Angels.
29, WRITER, PRODUCER, YOUTUBE STAR(@ISSARAE)
The creator of the hit web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is teaming up with The Daily Show vet Larry Wilmore to develop a half-hour comedy for HBO. Her first book—a collection of funny essays—is out in February.
32, ACTRESS, COMIC, AUTHOR (@JENNYSLATE)
Last summer's Obvious Child star appears in the FX series Married and is reportedly developing a full-length filmof her Marcel the Shell character.
35, COFOUNDER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR & SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, VOX.COM (@MELISSABELL)
Bell joined the journalism digirati earlier this year when she left her prestigious post heading up digital strategy at The Washington Post to start a news venture with Beltway-blogging wunderkind Ezra Klein. The site is now part of the well-funded Vox Media empire (SB Nation, The Verge, Curbed).
31, SENIOR EDITOR, RE/CODE (@LIZGANNES)
The well-sourced former scribe for Red Herring, Gigaom, and AllThingsD is now scoring scoops for Re/code, the Kara Swisher–Walt Mossberg tech news blog. Last summer, Gannes was first to the gate with news of Google's Sergey Brin's split from wife Anne Wojcicki.
32, PUBLICIST, SXSW INTERACTIVE (@KELLJOKRAUSE)
Can't score a seat at one of SXSW's standing-room-only panels? Thank Krause, who liaises with A-list tech firms and media outlets to craft and curate the influential festival's must-see keynotes and events. Among her gets: Nasty Gal's Sophia Amoruso, Cory Booker, and Ray Kurzweil.
38, FOUNDER, CEO & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, PANDODAILY (@SARAHCUDA)
Three years ago, the former TechCrunch editor raised $2.5 million from Silicon Valley heavies like PayPal's Peter Thiel and Zappos' Tony Hsieh—while on maternity leave—to launch her must-read tech blog. Critics say she's a shill for investors, but love her or hate her, there's no denying her insider status.
31, HOST OF FUSION'S ALICIA MENENDEZ TONIGHT (@ALICIAMENENDEZ)
The former cohost of SiriusXM Cristina Radio's Power Play and host of HuffPost Live, Menendez was tapped last year to anchor her own evening news and politics show on Fusion, the new youth-focused cable partnership between ABC and Univision.
38, MANAGING EDITOR, BLOOMBERG TV/ EDITOR-AT-LARGE, BLOOMBERG NEWS (@SRUHLE)
The Wall Street veteran who logged 14 years at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse now hosts Bloomberg's Market Makers, where she's taking on CNBC's morning business roundup Squawk Box. Claim to fame: so plugged-in, she broke the news of the London Whale, the JPMorgan Chase trader at the center of the bank's mega-loss in 2012.
33, COFOUNDER, THE HONEST COMPANY (@JESSICAALBA)
Alba's nontoxic baby product line raised $70 million in funding this summer. That puts its value at over $1 billion.
28, FOUNDER & CEO, BRIT & CO (@BRIT)
The self-proclaimed Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley runs an online DIY empire, backed by Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and former Apple exec Allison Johnson, among others.
29, CEO & CREATIVE DIRECTOR, INTO THE GLOSS (@INTOTHEGLOSS)
The ultra-influential beauty blogger boasts a collaboration with Warby Parker and her own upcoming beauty brand, Glossier.
34, COFOUNDER & PRESIDENT, EVENTBRITE(@JULIAHARTZ)
Her online-ticketing site has issued more than 200 million tickets worldwide and counting.
31, FOUNDER & CEO, PEEK.COM (@RUZWANA)
The Fulbright Scholar founded this travel-booking site with funding from Google's Eric Schmidt and Twitter's Jack Dorsey.
39, HEAD OF NORTH AMERICAN CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS, GOOGLE/YOUTUBE
If you're a media outfit with a presence on YouTube, odds are good you've hashed out the terms with the Harvard Business School graduate, who's cut deals with all the biggies—NBC, CBS, Discovery Networks International, and Vice to name just a few; the former head of business development for MTV Music & Logo was recently appointed to the board of American Apparel.
46, CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, MAKER STUDIOS (@ERIN_MCPHERSON)
Yahoo's former video strategy guru last year jumped to Maker Studios, one of YouTube's biggest video creators and distributors, where she oversees content for more than 55,000 channels that generate over 8.5 billion views monthly. Among her projects: a comedy series by Ben Stiller and a collaboration with Disney on the next Star Wars installment.
44, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, DENTONS (@LORINEPENDLETON)
A former entertainment lawyer who brokered deals for Spike Lee and Stevie Wonder, she's now an angel investor in women- and minority-run ventures. She sits on the boards of the National Black Programming Consortium, which finances African-American programming to air on PBS, and WomenLEAD, an online mentoring platform. She also helped organize TEDxHarlem.
42, FOUNDING PARTNER, GREYCROFT PARTNERS (@DSETTLE)
The former Lehman Brothers banker opened up the West Coast office of this venture capital firm at a time when few paid attention to the nascent Los Angeles digital scene. Among her big bets: early investments in AwesomenessTV (sold to DreamWorks), Maker Studios (sold to Disney), and Trunk Club (sold to Nordstrom).
30, CEO, VALLEY GIRL INC.(@JESSEDRAPER)
The former Nickelodeon kid star is the creator and host of buzzy web series The Valley Girl Show.
30, VP, SKDKNICKERBOCKER (@LINDSEYMGREEN)
The in-the-know tech publicist reps a slew of notable New York startups like Of aKind and Bustle.
45, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SILICON VALLEY CONNECT (@ELLENLEVY)
Dubbed a "super-connector" by Fast Company, she's sat on more than 50 boards over the course of her career.
43, FOUNDING PARTNER, Y COMBINATOR (@FOUNDERSATWORK)
It's easier to get into Harvard than her startup accelerator, which accepts just 3 percent of 6,000 applicants every year.
36, GAME DESIGNER(@AVANTGAME)
The alternate-reality-game pioneer founded Gameful, a network for game developers.
35, HEAD OF ARTIST SERVICES, NORTH AMERICA, SPOTIFY (@BMORGANSAKS)
The longtime Sony/ATV record exec is now Spotify's artist ambassador.
44, VP GLOBAL MEDIA, TWITTER (@KATIES)
The go-to for media outlets looking to partner with Twitter.
36, COMMISSIONER, NYC MAYOR'S OFFICE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (@PABEYWARDENA)
The former Clinton Global Initiative exec was recently tapped by Hizzoner Bill de Blasio to liaise between the city, diplomats, and the State Department.
36, WHITE HOUSE CABINET COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT (@ASHLEY44)
As liaison between the White House and federal agencies, the former Nancy Pelosi spokesperson has cultivated a formidable reputation as Obama's bad-news fixer, helping craft responses to Benghazi and the botched Obamacare rollout.
31, PERSONAL AIDE, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Gatekeeper to the Leader of the Free World. Among her duties: managing his schedule. Nobody gets to see POTUS without her OK.
34, FOUNDER, HIGHLINE STRATEGIES (@DCGRETCHEN)
The Republican strategist who formerly served as press secretary for the House GOP now advises Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst's campaign.
33, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, EMILY'S LIST (@JESS_MC)
She's front and center at the Beltway institution that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women, and collaborates with media outlets and celebrity supporters (like Lena Dunham) to promote EMILY's List and its president, Stephanie Schriock.
37, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PRIORITIES USA ACTION (@BUFFYWICKS)
Known as "Buffy the Walmart Slayer" for her work on behalf of unions against the retailer, she now oversees the powerful and deep-pocketed super political action committee devoted to landing another Democrat in the White House in 2016.
37, CEO & COFOUNDER, THE WEBSTER (@LAUREHD_)
She runs The Webster in Miami, one of the most influential fashion boutiques in the U.S.
37, FOUNDER & CEO, VIOLET GREY (@MMEGREY)
Her Melrose Place outpost and website is a must-stop for Hollywood makeup artists and celebrities.
39, CEO & CO-OWNER, OPENING CEREMONY & CO-CREATIVE DIRECTOR, KENZO (@OPENINGCEREMONY)
With business partner Humberto Leon, she runs the trend-setting fashion hot spot with locations in NYC, L.A., London, and Tokyo.
32, SENIOR FASHION DIRECTOR, BARNEYS NEW YORK (@BARNEYSNY)
She scouts up-and-coming designers and trends for the fashion powerhouse.
39, EVP, KCD(@RACHNASAYS)
Shah boasts one of the most coveted client rosters in the business, handling PR, digital, and event strategy for Marc Jacobs and Givenchy, among others.
33, EDITOR IN CHIEF, GARAGE
The fashion It girl has corralled A-list artists like Jeff Koons for Garage cover treatments; she also founded a contemporary art museum in Moscow.
28, FOUNDER AND CEO, FUCK CANCER (@YAEL)
After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (she survived), Cohen founded this nonprofit to educate Millennials on early diagnosis. She recently launched StandWith, an app that helps caregivers and loved ones manage tasks during treatment. This summer, Cohen wed music manager Scooter Braun, who reps Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
35, FOUNDER, CANDESCENT FILMS
The actress turned award-winning documentary producer financed Javier Bardem's Sons of Clouds, Sundance winner The Queen of Versailles, and, airing on HBO earlier this year, Private Violence.
30, PRESIDENT, ROCK THE VOTE (@ASPILLANE)
The seasoned campaign operative—she was a Kerry–Edwards field organizer and Hillary Clinton regional field director—is now reviving the '90s-era voter registration juggernaut, just in time for 2016.