Women's Steering Committee Co-Chairs Elected

WSC Co-Chairs 2019

May 29, 2019

Directors Maria Burton and Hanelle Culpepper and UPM Liz Ryan have been elected co-chairs of the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC).

Director A. Laura James, UPM Jodi Ehrlich and Associate Director Barbara J. Roche 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.


Named by Variety as a “talent to watch,” Burton has directed six feature films including Just Friends, Temps, Manna from Heaven, A Sort of Homecoming and For the Love of George. 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, Burton 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 and previously served as a Co-Chair of the WSC.


Culpepper earned her B.A. from Lake Forest College and her M.A. from USC's Annenberg School, before being selected for AFI's prestigious Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) where her short, A Single Rose, won numerous awards. Her filmography includes the features Within and Murder on the 13th Floor. After participating in NBC Universal’s Directing Initiative, she has also helmed episodes of the series Parenthood, Counterpart, Mayans M.C., Criminal Minds, Grimm, American Crime, The Flash, Gotham, and the upcoming AMC series, NOS4A2. In 2019, Culpepper was chosen to direct the pilot for Star Trek: Picard, making her the first woman to launch a new Star Trek series in its 53-year history. She has been a DGA member since 2012 and has previously served as the Directing Category representative of the WSC.


Ryan honed her skills working alongside some of the most notable Directors in Hollywood. Starting as a DGA Trainee in New York City, she has since worked on over 70 movie and television productions throughout the world as a Director, Producer, Production Manager or Assistant Director. Her credits include the features The Green Mile, Alien 3, Brokedown Palace and Waiting for Guffman; and the television series Station 19, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, The Office and Freak and Geeks. She is an elected member of the DGA National Board and the Western AD/UPM Council and is a member of the DGA Diversity Task Force. Prior to her work in Hollywood, Ryan worked as a reporter and photographer for Time Magazine and the New York Times. She has been a DGA member since 1985 and has previously served as a Co-Chair of the WSC.

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.