January 27, 2015

Women Taking Control: Part Two

Back in December, we posted part 1 of this blog (link here) interviewing 2 women breaking barriers in their perspective industries. We spoke with 3 more women doing the same in media, banking, and fashion. These women are such an inspiration to us and we hope that you also get inspired!

Jamie Divenere, Project Manager of Viacom, is working to make the music group’s library completely digital.  Viacom, who consists of MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo has a content library of thousands of physical production, master, and audio tapes. Jamie is creating a self-service digital library that allows these tapes to be accessed digitally which saves the company time, space, and money.

Photo via Sarma Ozols

MF: “How did you get to where you are today?”

JD: "The social skills I learned through the service industry (yes, waiting tables and bartending) still serve me well today. It’s really about having the confidence and the ability to talk to all people no matter what position in the company they rank and no matter the situation you find yourself having the conversation. I do try to engage the right groups to help make decisions, but make an effort to stay away from analysis paralysis as sometimes you just have to make quick decisions and suffer the consequences later… Taking chances to develop your interpersonal skills are part of it too.”

MF: What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced being a woman in a position of power?

JD: "Wow, providing this answer is not easy. I never thought of myself as a woman in "power" but more as someone who has earned the opportunity of working with people who are best in class and has had some say on how a job should be done…I brought this question to some great friends who are leaders in the filed to get a gut check and to keep me honest and they rightfully reminded me that women in positions of leadership sometimes have trouble owning that status and now I know what they mean!  Video production has definitely been a man’s world until recently. This industry has been democratized due to the affordability and increased availability of new tools and technologies. Because of these changes, it now provides more people with the opportunity to become visual storytellers. It's a content hungry world out there and it is becoming less important whether you're a man or a woman if you create the right content and know how to tell your story."
MF: "What is the most exciting part of working at Viacom?"
JD: "I love the fact that the work we do will have an impact on the future. We are making sure that the most important content will be preserved so future storytellers can be accurate and have access to the most amazing moments of the collection. We dig for treasure everyday and I feel so privileged to help preserve the legacy of the Viacom’s archive of music which includes performances, interviews, behind the scenes footage and other programming moments.”
Katia Bouazza is a managing director at HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations. Being the Co-Head of Global Capital Markets, she is responsible for managing transactions among corporates, sovereigns and financial institutions.

Photo via Katia Bouazza

MF:  "American Banker has dubbed you one of the most powerful women in finance – Do you think this is an appropriate title, or do you wish to not be categorized by your gender?"

KB: "I am very honored to be recognized by American Banker as a leader in Finance. In my view, such recognition helps promote Banking and Finance as a career path for women, and I'm happy to be a part of that. I do not want to be defined by my gender only. Women and men should be recognized for their merits, achievements and passion for their industry and career."

MF: "How do you empower women?"
KB: "Over the years, I have become more pro-active in hiring and promoting high-caliber women... I have tried to increase the awareness and visibility of, and opportunities for talented women, as well as connecting junior associates (both men and women) with senior management. I consistently work to build a support structure that substantially improves our ability to retain and promote top performing women (and men) into more senior roles. Equally as important for me is mentoring and guiding the junior women (and men) of my team. I want to inspire them and always try to create opportunities for them to succeed."
MF: "As a mother and philanthropist, how do you manage your time between all of your activities?"
KB: "This is always a work in progress, and ongoing. It's very difficult to find the right balance between work and family. I dedicate the majority, if not all, of my free time to my family, and participate in activities that set a good example for my daughters, whether it's in acts of charitable giving, doing yoga, learning to meditate, and being part of a spiritual community.  I have a very supportive, loving family that is a basis for a solid foundation, which has been key to my success. I also have a strong support at work to keep me sane with my heavy work and travel schedule. For all of that, I am very grateful."
Summer Rayne Oakes is a model-activist who is taking initiative in instilling sustainable-thinking and practices into the heart of the fashion industry. Summer has co-authored a best-selling book, and even co-founded Source4Style, an award-winning marketplace that connects thousands of designers in 80 countries to sustainable material suppliers in over 30 countries around the world. Moving from what we wear to what we eat.

Photo via Summer Rayne Oakes
MF: "Have you had to deal with much adversity being a female activist?"
SO: "Not particularly, but I do feel the word "activist" carries some connotations. Perhaps it's largely because I do try to meet people where they are at—or just try to live my life as a person who tries to inspire...vs. trying to push any major kind of agenda. I think there are those of us at times that really put our neck on the line—sometimes in very trying and difficult situations—and that invites far more adversity. I should say, however, that's not always a bad thing."
MF: "Source4Style is a marketplace that connects designers to sustainable material suppliers – How did this develop?"
SO: "Countless designers whom I had been working with always in conversation said sourcing was the most difficult aspect about their career. As you can imagine, sourcing more environmentally- or socially-sound materials provided an added challenge. It really was borne out of the desire to make sustainable design possible for designers."

MF: "Can you tell us about your involvement with Good Eggs?"
SO: "You can think of Good Eggs like a farmers market meets online grocer. My friend started the company out in the Bay Area and I was lucky enough to help spearhead the launch of it out in the New York market. It's really given me the opportunity to understand a whole other side of sustainability—moving from what we wear to what we eat." 
MF: "What are the next steps in your professional career?" 
SO: "I find that I'm the most creative and feel the most challenge when I enter into a world that I know nothing about and then try to figure out how to bring a message of health, wellness and sustainability to that world. In a way, I feel as if I have been able to accomplish that to some extent with the world of fashion and the world of technology—so I'd love to take what I've learned from those two worlds and begin applying it to some other industry—perhaps a more virtual one like animation and gaming. That whole world and psychographs fascinates me!"

We would like to give a special thanks to all of the women that participated in this blog series! We hope this inspires you to break some barriers of your own!

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