I met Lindy DeKoven when the recession hit California pretty hard and I couldn’t find work in the entertainment industry, no matter how many times I’d email or physically hand my resume over to any production company I could find in Los Angeles. Lindy had posted an ad on the USC Cinema School’s Job Site, looking for an intern to help with TV projects that she was developing. Since she had been the former NBC EVP of Movies and Miniseries responsible for Emmy award-winning “Merlin”, “Gulliver’s Travels”, “The Odyssey”, “The ’60s”, “A Woman of Independent Means”, “Crime and Punishment”, as well as many other projects, I knew I had a lot to learn from her. I immediately responded to her ad, and since then, she has become a mentor to me.
Besides having a long and successful career in entertainment, Lindy is an advocate for women and has served on the Board of Directors of the Governor and First Lady’s Women’s Conference of California, the AFI Women’s Directing Workshop Advisory Committee and the Women in Film Executive Committee. She is also the former Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women, which fights for gender, economic and educational equity for women, as well as reproductive choice, maternity services, pregnancy leave and health care coverage and safety against domestic violence. Academy Award-winning actress and founder of the Institute of Gender in Media Geena Davis is now the Chair of the Commission and is focusing specifically on women in business, military, education, health, safety and gender equity in media, while Lindy still stays heavily involved in the Commission.
In April of 2012, Lindy wrote two incredibly influential articles on the Huffington Post that brought awareness to the fact that the California Commission on the Status of Women was going to be shut down because of budget cuts. With the help of her articles, more people were informed about what the California Commission of the Status of Women has accomplished, and they wrote to Governor Jerry Brown, influencing Speaker John A. Pérez and Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal to transfer savings from cuts they made to their operating budget so that the Commission could last through this year. And now, Geena Davis is working to get funding from private sectors so that the Commission can last beyond this year. What Lindy has stressed to me is that more young girls need to find out about what our government does and what non-profits can do for women, and participate. She recommends Googling female leaders you admire and reaching out to them by attending their conferences, or volunteering for their organizations. Geena Davis, for example, can be reached at seejane.org, and there are many opportunities to get involved in her institute.
In addition to the political change Lindy has made, she has been featured in the Jennifer Siebel Newsom documentary “Miss Representation“, which seeks to empower young girls to challenge limiting media labels that tell women their value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. Lindy not only helps contribute to this strong message that helps young girls realize their potential, but she also has, over the years that I’ve known her, helped me realize my own potential in the entertainment industry.
Lindy just wrote a novel about a young woman struggling to make a name for herself in media and says it was inspired by our talks when I interned with her, which is a pretty big compliment. The book will be released Memorial Day 2013. Lindy is an incredible mentor, and I feel honored to have discussed, in the video below, women in entertainment, the importance of getting involved in politics, and how to stay tenacious even in our current economic state.