I actually was never inspired to be a CEO, but I’m so happy I’m here. I have always been passionate about movies, the power of storytelling, and its ability to inspire audiences to drive change. At Picture Motion - which was originally founded as a small consultancy - we led impactful marketing campaigns with award-winning filmmakers, and the experience taught me that traditional distribution is sometimes a bottleneck for creative projects and can limit their reach and social impact. I believed I could lead a team to break down those barriers and help filmmakers, studios, and audiences connect more meaningfully. So I just started doing that. One foot in front of the other. And then I got to bring on my partner, Wendy Cohen, and it grew into a real business. Then that required CEO leadership, And with Kinema, I saw an opportunity to revolutionize how films are distributed, making it more accessible for filmmakers to reach audiences and create meaningful social experiences. So I just moved in that direction.
I think all good companies are mission-driven. To me, a company’s mission is what real-world problem they are solving and how that creates value. For us, our mission is to innovate and progress the entertainment industry, because the current system is resulting in artists getting paid less and independent films struggling to get seen. We’re providing a new avenue of distribution to bring more revenue to artists and storytellers while delivering powerful, global cinema to audiences locally. That is important to me because I think it’s better for society and the economy to support systems that create opportunity and access, not just enable the monopolies and big players. And also I think there’s money being left on the table that can be accessed with
Running (and even moreso starting) any business is harder than anticipated. If we knew just how hard it would be before starting or the myriad of factors it would take to make it work (much of it in our control and some not), then most of us probably wouldn’t do it. It would seem insurmountable. It takes a combination of naivety and audacity to do it. There’s a saying in the film business: “It’s a miracle a film ever gets made.” I think it’s similar to launching a company. You can have all the market data and all the belief in the world, but success is found in the love of the day-to-day grind, dedication to the team you’re building with, and willingness to make mistakes and keep going. If your mission is to solve a problem, and it is a problem you understand well and can communicate it clearly to your team, partners and supporters, then the difficulty is not in being mission-driven but in finding the solution and effectively executing it. Because it takes a crazy ton of factors to pull it off.
My biggest challenge has been embracing the title and role of CEO and what that really means. I don’t vibe with the concept of being a CEO, in what I think is the traditional sense. I recoil at keynotes. I’m not savvy with investors. And I’m terrible at LinkedIn. So the biggest challenge has been discovering what it means for me personally to be a leader, to effectively manage a business model that ensures we live up to our mission. And that re-framing has made a world of a difference to me.
I am so thankful for the peer mentors I’ve met along the way, and the other female founders with whom we create space for work and personal-related support. Coming up in my career, I didn’t know how to look for mentorship or ask for it. I worked for brilliant women, and I gleaned what I could from watching, but I could have gone deeper. I now see mentorship as building a real relationship with someone who is further on the path you see for yourself, and that I’ve been able to do with an incredible range of women, and men.
I regularly and genuinely admire many women in this WIE community. Susan McPherson and Cindy Gallop for their inspirational ability to be genuine connectors. Shoshana Hecht for taking the leap into podcasting and crafting incredible stories we can all relate to and learn from. Kathryn Minshew for her fearless leadership and being a trailblazer - and also her quarter million followers on LinkedIn. Like, damn girl.
I’m fully addicted to my airpods. NPR in the morning, podcasts for commutes, music for running, work & family phone calls & zooms, Audible for falling asleep. I lose one and have a meltdown. Also it’s strangely always the right one I lose and I now have drawer full of lonely lefties.
I have two on my mind. I can’t stop reading about female artists boosting the economy - Beyonce, Taylor, Greta. I’m bsessed and loving it. Taylor Swift taking her concert film straight to theaters, bypassing the studios and distributors, is going to have a massive positive impact on our industry.