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Veteran industry executive Iris Grossman has been named president of GreenLight Women, an organization that advocates for professionals over the age of 40.
Grossman succeeds Ivy Kagan Bierman in the post, balancing nonprofit duties with those at her day job as a manager at EchoLake Entertainment where she reps talent such as Unorthodox star Shira Haas, Mandy Patinkin, Patti Lupone, Christine Lahti, Waleed Zuaiter, Frances Conroy, and others. Grossman spent 12 years at ICM (now ICM Partners), nearly a decade at TNT as senior vp talent and casting, and three years at Paradigm, among other positions. She served as president of Women in Film, won a CSA Award and scored an Emmy nomination for casting TNT’s George Wallace. She has been honored by Big Sisters, Hadassah, WIF (Business Leadership Award) and the National Organization of Women. She also sits on the board of directors of Film2Future.
Grossman states: “When I started in the business it took a good ten years before anyone took you seriously. By the time you had confidence in your abilities you had about ten years to do the job. After that, the marginalization began to happen. Older executives, creatives ]and talent were systematically being moved aside around the age of 40. Ironically, it was at a time that they were doing some of their best work.”
Founded in 2016, GreenLight Women seeks to “fight ageism and provide a community of support and encouragement for the thousands of women who are navigating getting older in a youth-oriented business; to help each other achieve our individual goals, to promote diversity, to share our knowledge and experience and to change attitudes about aging,” per the organization. Along with Grossman and Bierman, the board consists of Marion Rosenberg, personal manager and literary consultant; producer Lucy Webb; Pamela Rodi, CEO of Rodi Marketing and Sony consultant; Betsy Pollock, formerly of the American Film Institute; and Hollace Davids, onetime Universal Pictures special events executive.
Of the nonprofit’s formation Rosenberg explained: “At dinner with Ivy I mentioned that I had heard myself referred to as an ‘old biddy.’ She almost dropped her knife and fork. That’s when we realized that the question of age in our industry had never been addressed. It took us a mere 20 minutes to write down a long list of names of women we knew who had been impacted by ageism or who we thought might see it looming in their future. At 83 years old, I am still a functioning member of our industry, and I wish the same and more for all our members. Experience is invaluable.”
Added Bierman: “Women in their 60s and 70s were coming to me to handle their severance negotiations after being pushed out of their long-term entertainment industry positions. Marion and I envisioned an organization that would embrace experienced senior women to ensure that their talent is utilized and celebrated. We recognized a genuine need and so, with our founding members, we mobilized and created a space to support and promote older women and the diverse content that they create.”
“Ours is a space for seasoned professionals who want to remain vibrant and current in the business.” says GreenLight vp and producer Lillah McCarthy, a former senior vp original programming for TNT and TBS. “We are determined to break down the stereotypical perception of age in our industry. Age has nothing to do with our abilities.”
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