Women's Steering Committee Co-Chairs Elected


May 20, 2015

Director Mary Lou Belli, Director Bethany Rooney and UPM Liz Ryan have been elected co-chairs of the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC).

Director Karen Gaviola, UPM Jodi Ehrlich and Associate Director Robin Pelleck have been elected Director, AD/UPM and AD/SM/PA category representatives, respectively.

The WSC was created to advance the professional interests of its members, and to heighten their visibility and career opportunities in the entertainment industry.


Mary Lou Belli is an Emmy Award®-winning director with more than 20 years of experience and has directed more than 150 episodes for such series as Hart of Dixie, The Game, Monk,  Wizards of Waverly Place; Sister, Sister; Charles in Charge and Girlfriends. She has also directed web-series, including 3Way, which won 2 Logo Awards, and Jenifer and Shangela. Mary Lou has served as a judge at film festivals internationally, including the Sapporo Short Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival. She has been a lecturer at the Chautauqua Institute and appeared as a panelist for Women In Film, the DGA, SAG/AFTRA and the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Mary Lou is the co-author of three books: The NEW Sitcom Career Book, Acting for Young Actors and Directors Tell the Story, which she co-wrote with fellow DGA member Bethany Rooney. Mary Lou teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She has been a DGA member since 1987.


Bethany Rooney has directed over 200 hours of prime time TV for more than 25 years, including critically acclaimed series such as Scandal, Arrow and Nashville, and the long-running classics Desperate Housewives, Ally McBeal and Brothers & Sisters. For cable television, she has directed In Plain Sight; Switched at Birth and Drop Dead Diva. Bethany began her directing career on the 1980s iconic television show, St. Elsewhere, where she also served as an associate producer. She has directed eight movies for television, including The Promise; She Cried No and When Innocence is Lost. Bethany wrote the movie for television, Absolution, which aired on Lifetime. She has co-authored (with Mary Lou Belli) Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing, published by Focal Press. Additionally, Bethany has taught directing at UCLA Extension and numerous acting workshops in the LA area, most recently through Steppenwolf Theatre West and SAG/AFTRA. She has served on several committees for the DGA and has been a member since 1985.


After graduating with honors from Harvard, Liz Ryan began her professional career working as a reporter for Time Magazine. When downsizing forced her to switch careers, she took a job in corporate finance with Morgan Stanley, drawing on the math skills she’d picked up as an undergraduate.  A chance meeting at a party of bankers led her to apply to the Directors Guild-Producers Training Plan in New York, which in turn led to her acceptance into the program.  From there, she quickly moved from Trainee to Second AD to First AD and UPM.  As an AD, she worked on such projects as The Green Mile, Alien 3, Brokedown Palace, Waiting for Guffman, and the television series Real Husbands of Hollywood, The Office, Freak and Geeks and NYPD Blue, among others. Ever since her acceptance into the Guild, Liz has worked to mentor and volunteer with the organization to which she feels she owes so much. She has been a DGA member since 1985.

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, click here to visit their webpage.