THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
When it comes to running a record company, Greenwald likens her role to that of Mel Gibson's character in Braveheart. "It's the best feeling in the world to know that when I'm storming the hill, I've got 225 people running behind me, like, rawr!" says the 42-year-old mother of two (her husband, Lewis Largent, is a former MTV executive).
A devoted lieutenant for more than 20 years to Warner Music Group chairman Lyor Cohen, Greenwald was first hired as an assistant at hip hop label Def Jam Records. Soon after Cohen brought her over to run the legendary Atlantic Records in 2004, the company saw its market share balloon on the back of hits by James Blunt and Paramore. "He gave me so much wisdom, encouragement, and strength to let me grow," she says. "Loyalty is underrated, but for me it's the most important thing."
And clearly it's paid off for all, as Atlantic, riding another wave of chart-topping success with Bruno Mars and Cee-Lo Green, had been one of the few companies hiring during the recession. "We're beefing up in the digital area," says Greenwald. "It's helped monetize our business in so many ways."
Still, the New York native acknowledges that "it's a tough time for a lot of people," and she is doing her part to offset some of the excess that fueled the music industry in the 1990s and doomed it a decade later. "I fly coach and I'm the queen of the subway," she says, beaming. "[My employees] still get a kick out of seeing me try to catch the F train in seven-inch heels, and I'm like, 'This is how I roll!' At this point, the message isn't, 'I'm big Willy over here.' It's all for one and one for all. I still walk with swagger. I may not have a town car or a private jet, but I've got a lot of subway stories if you want to hear them."
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