Women's Steering Committee Co-Chairs Elected

WSC 2017

June 2, 2017

Directors Mary Lou Belli, Maria Burton and A. Laura James have been elected co-chairs of the DGA Women’s Steering Committee (WSC).

Director Karen Gaviola, UPM Liz Ryan and Associate Director Barbara J. Roche were also elected as 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 NCIS: New Orleans, Devious Maids and Hart of Dixie. 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.


Named by Variety as a “talent to watch,” Maria Burton has directed five successful feature films including Just Friends, Temps, Manna from Heaven and A Sort of Homecoming. Her sixth feature, For the Love of George, is currently in post for a 2018 release. Other directing projects include the documentary Sign My Snarling Movie about the popular a cappella singing group, The Bobs; the short film Stephen Kanner: A Retrospective, about the visionary architect; and the web series Old Guy. Through her production company, Five Sisters Productions, which she formed with her real-life siblings, she has also worked on social and political campaigns including commercials for the #MarchingForward viral video, the Mamas for Obama campaign and the campaign for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. She has been a DGA member since 2014.


A. Laura James, better known as LJ, began her television career as an Acting/Dialogue Coach at Disney Channel. She used that opportunity as her film school and springboard to open the doors to directing episodes of series such as Bunk'd and Austin & Ally. She has also directed several digital shorts for Disney Channel. As a member of the DGA’s Women’s Steering Committee, she has served as the Coordinator of the Communications and Publicity Standing Committee and spearheaded the hands on Online Presence Workshop which gave participants the opportunity to work one-on-one with experts to help shape their personal brand across their digital platforms including their own web presence, social media sites, IMDB and the DGA website. She has been a DGA member since 2013.

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.