I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Women in Hollywood IT Society (WHITS) meeting this past week in LA. The meeting was hosted by the Media and Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) with lots of organization from two female IT executives from Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures already has a Women in Technology group and initiated expanding this to their peers. In attendance were 130 plus IT executives (primarily women) from the various Hollywood studios plus participants from technology vendors and systems integrators.
The event consisted of a luncheon, a FABULOUS panel with members from Miramax, Zaszou, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Quantum, and a decadent dessert networking reception, which kept the networking going.
The panel discussion was a highlight for me. It was incredible to be among these highly successful women talking about everything from, “What is the best career advice you can give?” to “Is it possible to balance work, life and family?” I personally learned a few things and found humor in several of the responses.
The panel made me reflect back on my own 17-year technology career at SAS. Not only have I been lucky to work in really cool industries like Media and Hospitality, but I am fortunate to work for a company with strong diversity - a hot topic these days. Our headquarters in North Carolina is a melting pot of cultures plus SAS has lots of female employees, managers and executives, and always has.
For 10 years, I reported in through Annette Green, VP of Sales for the Communications, Content and Entertainment business unit. During this tenure, I became pregnant with twins. While I was very excited about embarking upon motherhood, I wondered how this would affect my career at SAS, which I was so passionate about.
When I went in to tell Annette that I was expecting with twins, she was elated for me! And, she insisted that I take an extended maternity leave so I could enjoy my babies and be ready when I came back to work. She also promoted me to manager of an industry presales team while I was out. Now that was certainly motivation to return to work! Over the years, I have always been able to balance my work and family life thanks to SAS' management philosophy and many of the amenities we have on our campus like on site healthcare and daycare.
SAS is thrilled to be part of the MESA, HITS, WHITS and Second Screen organizations! We feel the Media and Entertainment industries are primed to adopt big data analytics. SAS can help to gain insights and improve business practices on: content pulse, digital & DVD supply chain, data driven marketing, big data and revenue optimization. For more information please visit: www.sas.com/media.