About the Women's Steering Committee

The Women's Steering Committee (WSC) was created to advance the professional interests of its members, and to heighten their visibility and career opportunities in the entertainment industry.

The WSC currently promotes diversity through sponsoring networking events, screenings and seminars. The committee fosters relationships between the members to provide support, mentoring and networking opportunities. The WSC is continually evolving new concepts to elevate awareness of the strengths of its members.

All women members of the Guild are invited to attend WSC meetings and events and to share in the benefits that come from cooperative activity.
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History of the Women's Steering Committee

The DGA Women's Steering Committee was created in 1979, when six female members of the Guild -- Susan Bay, Nell Cox, Joelle Dobrow, Dolores Ferraro, Victoria Hochberg and Lynne Littman -- convened to research the facts surrounding employment opportunities for women directors.

On March 1, 1980, they presented a report to the National Board of the DGA that highlighted the under-utilized talents of women directors and suggested ways to improve the situation. The Committee continued to grow, with the support of the Guild, and by 1986, a new generation of members, formally organized as the DGA Women's Steering Committee (WSC), began to explore new ways to achieve their goals. Realizing the importance of communication and interaction, in 1992 the WSC held its first informal employment mixer for women members, as well as other industry professionals.

The continuing mission of the Women's Steering Committee is to represent the interests and needs of the women members of the DGA; develop strategies that help women achieve greater access and visibility within the industry; pursue ways to improve employment opportunities; and create a forum where women members can build work relationships and enhance their skills.

The Committee now sponsors well attended annual employment mixers for television and feature film which bring together producers, production executives and other industry professionals with the membership. The WSC designed the Director Mentor/Mentee Program, which enables women and ethnic minority director members to receive career guidance from well established directors. Another important endeavor has been the Santa Monica City TV Program, designed to develop and showcase the directing talents of women members through the production of shorts for community organizations.

The WSC's many other accomplishments include various clinics, events featuring industry speakers, The WSC Cafe, quarterly Roundtable Meetings, creation of the DGA Women and Ethnic Minority Members Contact Lists for Employers and the formation and implementation of the Fellowship Program. From its exposure of the equity problem in the 1970s to its challenge for change in the 1980s to its spectrum of activities in the 1990s, the Women's Steering Committee has played a dynamic role within the Guild and the industry as a whole.

For more information about the DGA Women's Steering Committee, contact contact Frank Bennett Gonzalez at 310-289-5377 or via email at FGonzalez@dga.org.

DGA Members: Please log in for meeting times and other Women's Steering Committee information.

Mayra Ocampo
Field Representative
(310) 289-5336
Patti Lake
Executive Assistant
(310) 289-2007
Committee Chairs
Liz Ryan
Karen Gaviola
Director Category Representative
Jodi Erhlich
AD/UPM Category Representative
AD/SM/PA Category Representative
Video: Founding of
the WSC

The DGA Women's Steering Committee was created in 1979, when six female members of the Guild – Susan Bay, Nell Cox, Joelle Dobrow, Dolores Ferraro, Victoria Hochberg and Lynne Littman – convened to research the facts surrounding employment opportunities for women directors.

Joan Micklin Silver

Director and writer Joan Micklin Silver (Hester Street, Finnegan Begin Again, Crossing Delancey) shares insights and stories from her career directing independent features and movies for television.

Lee Grant

Actor/Director Lee Grant (Nobody’s Child, Down and Out in America) discusses her long career in entertainment and transitioning from being an award-winning actress to an award-winning director of documentaries, movies for television and feature films.

Lee Shallat Chemel

Television director and producer Lee Shallat Chemel (The Middle, Gilmore Girls, Murphy Brown) discusses her long career directing episodic comedy, how she got her start on Family Ties, and the importance of her Guild service.

Agnès Varda

French director Agnès Varda (La Pointe Courte, Cléo from 5 to 7, The Beaches of Agnès) discusses her long career creating documentaries, features, and mixtures of the two that pre-dated and inspired several film movements of European cinema.

Randa Haines

Director Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God, The Ron Clark Story) discusses her career in feature films and movies for television, sharing, among other highlights, how she selected Marlee Matlin from a background role and directed her to an Oscar-winning performance.

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris discusses her career as a filmmaker, directing documentaries like The Decline of Western Civilization and studio films such as Wayne's World. Spheeris talks about growing up in her father’s traveling carnival, as well as major influences in her life, including Janis Joplin and punk rock music.