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Media Executives Offer Perspective into the Media Industry During Women's History Month


From l-r: Marvet Britto, Robin Koval, Andrea Sporer, Kim Martin and Julianne Cho speak at "Careers in Entertainment: Women in Media Management."
March 20, 2009 - An engaged and empowered audience gathered at the Tribeca Film Center on March 18 to hear from some of the sharpest women in media. “Careers in Entertainment: Women in Media Management” was a discussion held by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and New York Women in Film and Television. The event, held in celebration of Women’s History Month, featured distinguished female executives who discussed their career paths and provided advice for how women can get ahead in the workplace.

Julianne Cho, MOFTB’s Associate Commissioner, moderated a panel that included Kim Martin, president and general manager of WEtv; Andrea Sporer, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at Scholastic Media; Robin Koval, president of the Kaplan Thaler Group; and Marvet Britto, president and CEO of the Britto Agency.

Martin kicked off the discussion by explaining how she was one of the first new hires for Discovery Networks. After taking a leadership role with the company in sales, she discovered that an executive programming position had opened up at WEtv (WEtv and Discovery Networks are owned by the same parent company, Rainbow Media). She received some discouragement due to her lack of experience in programming, but Martin remained undeterred. “Instead of just going to the corner with my head bowed, I said ‘I think I can do this’…for the next six months I learned everything there is to know about WEtv.”

Sporer, a lawyer who was instrumental in the creation of Nickelodeon and MTV, originally thought she was going to be a doctor. At the time she entered law school, only five percent of the student population consisted of women. But after a few years working late hours in litigation, Sporer needed a change. She found out that her firm had an entertainment division and from there, her career has been focused on media. Sporer advised attendees interested in following the same career path that they should always keep their ears peeled for opportunities. “It’s really knowing what’s happening – reading, seeing where opportunities are.”

The Kaplan Thaler Group is a marketing and communications company with a roster of blue-chip clients, but, in addition to being president of the company, Robin Koval is an accomplished author. Co-writing with her business partner Linda Kaplan Thaler, Koval has published The Power of Nice and the upcoming The Power of Small. Both books hold key insight into her success. “You hear things like nice guys or gals finish last…it’s just not true. Especially in times like now, when it’s a much tougher job market, the person who gets remembered is the person who [makes that effort].”

While Koval’s company focuses on marketing products for a number of major corporations, Marvet Britto, is focused on a different type of client – talent. Her public relations house, the Britto Agency, is the largest African American owned PR agency in the country, and Britto represents celebrities from an array of media including film, television, sports and music. “You’re never really clear when you’re young…[but] I realized that every single job I held was necessary in preparing me for what I’m doing today.”

The panelists wrapped up the discussion with an audience Q&A, and with women comprising the majority of attendees, they had one very relevant question – what can women do to create even more equality in the workplace? Sporer put things into perspective. “Women don’t toot their own horn,” said Sporer. “And if you aren’t going to do it, no one else will."
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