From her early role as a child assassin in The Professional to her real-life stint at Harvard to her Oscar-winning performance in Black Swan, Natalie Portman has actively sought out professional challenges.
Amy Heckerling’s quirky directorial style and her knack for discovering fresh angles on classic stories led to her popular and critical successes with films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless.
A folklorist by training, Susan Levitas has used documentary and feature films to capture unexpected facets of the cultural history of the American South, from blues musicians in Washington to Jewish boxers in Savannah.
The daughter of Hollywood magnate Louis B. Mayer, Irene Mayer Selznick went on to help her husband, David O. Selznick, run his movie production company before becoming a theater producer in her own right.
Jenette Kahn rebranded National Periodical Publications as DC Comics, reviving the failing company as a proving ground for both experimental titles and reboots of iconic characters like Batman and Superman.
Amy Pascal has regularly been named one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes and the Hollywood Reporter for her management of Sony Pictures’ run of commercial and critical successes from Casino Royale to The Social Network.
Lena Dunham became the first woman to win a Director’s Guild Award for Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series for her HBO series Girls, for which she writes, directs, produces and plays the lead character.
Sherry Lee Heiman Lansing broke barriers as the first woman studio executive when she became head of 20th Century Fox in 1980, going on to lead Paramount Studios to create wildly successful blockbusters like Forrest Gump, Braveheart, and Titanic.
Gail Berman made history as part of the youngest team of producers in Broadway history before becoming a television executive known for her genius in picking hit shows and turning failing networks around.
Ruth Hagy Brod’s varied career as a journalist, documentary filmmaker and literary agent made her the ideal publicity director for Job Orientation In the Neighborhoods, helping high school dropouts train for careers.
Disturbed by growing anti-Semitism in the women’s movement, Gloria Greenfield left the movement and began creating documentary films that brought national attention to anti-Semitism in America and around the world.