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Women in Animation, the nineteen-year-old Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to promoting the role of women in the animation industry, has relaunched its organization under the leadership of co-presidents Margaret Dean (above left, director of production for Mattel’s newly formed Playground Productions) and Kristy Scanlan (Technicolor’s vice president of business development, animation and games).

In their roles as co-presidents, Dean and Scanlan will lead the restructured WIA, and communicate the organization’s current role and future vision to its members worldwide. “Women have always played a vitally important role in animation in spite of history’s having overlooked or underplayed many of their contributions,” said Dean. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with Kristy and WIA to organize and represent the collective interests of women engaged in all aspects of animation, whether as independent filmmakers, studio artists or business executives, and believe that by working together we can create greater opportunities for us all.” Dean and Scanlan will lead an executive committee that also includes:

  • Barbara Cimity (line producer, Robot Chicken) as treasurer
  • Dawn Rivera-Ernster (director of talent development and recruitment at Walt Disney Animation Studios) as secretary

They will also serve on the board of directors with the addition of:

  • Jinko Gotoh (executive producer, The Little Prince for Onyx Films) as Chair of Chapter Support
  • Tracy Campbell (senior manager studio training for Walt Disney Animation Studios) as Chair of Programming
  • Anna Jordan-Douglass (interactive producer at The Jim Henson Company) as Chair of Marketing
  • Karen Kirkland (executive director, talent outreach and development for Nickelodeon) as Chair of Member Services.

Retiring WIA co-presidents Rita Street and Jan Nagel will continue to serve on WIA’s new advisory committee that will include:

  • Bonnie Arnold (producer, DreamWorks Animation) as Chair
  • Jenna Boyd (senior vice president animation development for Nickelodeon)
  • Ann Le Cam (vice president of human resources and production planning for Walt Disney Animation Studios)
  • Lenora Hume (production and programming executive for Shut Up! Cartoons and LA representative for TeamTO)
  • Adina Pitt (vice president, content acquisitions and co-productions, Cartoon Network and Boomerang)

The aims of Women in Animation are worthwhile, but it’s disappointing that they didn’t include a single creative person within their executive ranks or advisory board. The executive leadership of an organization generally serves as an indication of its focus, and WIA’s exclusive committee of women who are currently in corporate, management and producer roles would seem to suggest that their focus is narrowly limited to that segment of the industry.

In fact, women have been entrenched in management and producer positions for decades. It is within the creative realm (directors, artists, story, vfx) that women have lagged noticeably behind and where they have made rapid gains during the last decade. An organization that focuses on the creative advancement of women in animation is just as much needed, if not more, as one that focuses on executive and managerial concerns.

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