Lorrie Bartlett is beginning the new year with a pioneering elevation, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The longtime co-head of ICM Partners’ talent department has been named the 12th member of the agency’s board of directors, joining Esther Newberg, Jennifer Joel and Janet Carol Norton as the fourth woman. Furthermore, Bartlett is considered to be the first black board member of a major Hollywood talent agency.
“It’s pretty obvious when someone’s distinguished themselves like Lorrie has,” managing director Chris Silbermann tells THR, adding that the December board vote in New York to add Bartlett was unanimous. “Lorrie continues to break barriers in our industry as an outstanding agent, department head and powerful advocate for gender, transgender and racial equality in our business. She is a consummate team player, role model and mentor, and will be an active and compelling voice that will make our board even stronger.”
Bartlett’s clients include awards season frontrunner Regina King as well as Linda Cardellini, Michael Keaton, Ruth Negga, Laverne Cox, Busy Philipps, Lucy Liu, Scott Foley, Laura Harrier, Nazanin Boniadi, Anna Gunn, Josh Duhamel, Rodrigo Santoro and Lucy Hale. Bartlett, a founding member of Time’s Up, is also credited within the agency for mentoring younger employees and helping the company realize its inclusion goals.
“I’m always much more about letting the clients’ work speak for itself, but in an era where we want to ensure that women, the LGBTQ community and people of color are represented in our businesses, we do have to be intentional about it, and you can be intentional by being an example,” Bartlett tells THR.
ICM was the first company in Hollywood to publicly take the “5050by2020″ gender parity pledge, in December 2017, and since then has upped the female share of its department heads from 40 to close to 50 percent and unveiled a gender-balanced 2018 new partnership class, in addition to creating a new chief human resources executive position in order to, as Silbermann says, “professionalize” the HR department to protect as well as develop its employees.
“The issue wasn’t the population of the company” — which already was about 50 percent female employee-wide, says Silbermann. “The issue was the balance between women and men in leadership positions. That’s where my work was, helping to grow leaders and identify people who could be future department heads, partners and board members, and making it a priority for everybody.”
And Bartlett, he adds, has shared that vision and been at the forefront of progress from the start: “She’s been very vocal in helping me form my thinking around it and helping talk to everybody else around the company about how to enact it. Saying it is one thing, but following through takes a lot of people and leadership throughout all the levels of the company.”
Bartlett, a member of ICM’s founding partnership when it bought out its former owners in 2012, broke barriers when she became the first black department head of a major agency in 2011. Of adding another historic milestone to her belt, she says, “It’s nice to be first, but I won’t be the last, and that’s hopefully what my legacy is: That I helped others become put in the same sort of position.”