Sherry Lansing introduced a video showcasing The Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program on Dec. 7 at Milk Studios in Los Angeles. The clip brought guests to tears as it highlighted the mentees who have overcome life obstacles under the guidance of top female entertainment executives.
Lansing spoke to an audience including Tina Fey, Ryan Murphy, Megyn Kelly, Niecy Nash, Jon Hamm, Constance Zimmer, Susan Sarandon, Issa Rae and Eva Longoria. She recalled when there was only room for “one at the table.”
“Because of that, our friendship with other women wasn’t as close, because we always thought we may be competing for the same job — or the same project. But now, thankfully, we know there is room for all of us. We know that any woman’s success makes all of our lives better,” said Lansing.
She proceeded to introduce the video showcasing the 2017 class of THR‘s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, which placed 18 at-risk young women with top female executives. The program is a joint venture between THR and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, providing opportunity to girls who have overcome major obstacles and dealt with unemployment, violence, immigration issues, substance abuse and illness.
The video featured the stories of mentees who may not have considered getting an education due to their living conditions or other circumstances.
“They are given guidance, they have new role models and they begin to dream,” said Lansing. “They begin to dream of a future with unlimited options, and for the first time in their lives, they have the opportunity to make their dreams become a reality.”
Lansing added: “As all of you have done, these young women will redefine what success means on their own terms and by their own values. And I am highly confident that, like you, they will use their success to create a platform to fight for the causes they believe in and to give back.”
Lansing then introduced actress Emma Stone and five-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles, who presented scholarships to the 2017 mentees. Donors including Lifetime, EIF, WME, ICM Partners and Loyola Marymount contributed to the scholarships, with ICM additionally providing two paid internships for the girls.
Lansing also spoke of Tina Fey, this year’s recipient of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award. Lansing, who greenlighted Fey’s first film, Mean Girls, when she was CEO of Paramount, praised the actress for always remaining the “same authentic and caring person” and thanked her for being an inspiration who makes “us laugh. Thank you for your intelligent humor, which we all need now more than ever.”