How DreamWorks Animation Became One of Hollywood's Most Female-Driven Studios

10:00 AM PST 12/05/2012 by Pamela McClintock
Joe Pugliese
From left Soria, Avery, Morita, Bernstein, Steinberg, Globe and Daly

Jeffrey Katzenberg now employs far more women producers than men: "You can have a life and still work here."

This story first appeared in the Dec. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Right hand man? Try right-hand women.

At DreamWorks Animation, the proverbial C-suite and creative stables are filled with a disproportionate number for a studio of the fairer sex. Among top-tier management, Jeffrey Katzenberg's Nos. 2, 4 and 5 are female: COO Ann Daly, chief accounting officer Heather O'Connor and worldwide marketing chief Anne Globe, respectively.

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"Much of our senior leadership and over 85 percent of our producers are women, and we couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments," says Katzenberg. Those producers include Mireille Soria (the Madagascar franchise) and Rise of the Guardians' Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein.

DWA routinely is high up on Fortune's list of the 100 best companies to work for (No. 14 this year), further boosting the company's ability to retain and attract females. More recent additions to the exec ranks include Annie Morita, chief of staff of Oriental DreamWorks, the company's new China venture; and head of worldwide franchise strategy Kelley Avery.

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Part of the female appeal? Katzenberg inspires abiding loyalty by grooming stars from within. He gave longtime in-house animator Jennifer Yuh Nelson the chance to direct 2011's Kung Fu Panda 2 (all the way to an Oscar nom and $655.7 million in global ticket sales), making her the first woman to direct a big-budget animated film solo.

"Jeffrey has always been very supportive of women," says Globe. "You can have a life and still work here. He understands how important it is to be flexible."

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