When I accepted an entry level position on the video team of a major media company, I’d never shot on anything other than my iPhone. My only real qualifications were an obsession with movies and a successful stint as a production assistant on a photo shoot that the producer deemed, “the day from hell.” That same producer, who is now a dear friend, must have seen some fire in me because he offered me this job at Vox Media after that one day of work and a resume that was more than a little light on relevant experience. Going with my gut is something I’ve relied on to make all major decisions in my 28 years. That includes picking a lunch spot, an outfit, and making a career change.
When I first started assisting the production of sports videos, I was the only woman aside from our on-camera talent. As you can imagine, I was surrounded by bearded, brunette, white males. This was my introduction to online video production, and my experience was exactly what you would expect in that situation. To be clear, I’m not interested in criticizing my male peers. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not learned from them through their hard work, creative talent, and down right scrappiness. However, for the first couple of years I was asked if I was my boss’s personal assistant more times than I care to admit. The stigma is that female employees are simply there to support their male supervisors; not to be assets to the team as a whole. This perception is possessive and ubiquitous. I cannot understate my frustration at the manner in which it is accepted throughout the industry.
Throughout my years at Vox Media, the gender ratio did start to evolve. The video team grew and with that growth came more women making creative decisions. But the industry in general is whitewashed and male-dominated. A homogenous workforce often limits audience reach and tailors a product for a specific profile that accounts for a fraction of the population. In order to tell visual stories that resonate with everyone, it’s important to diversify the voices involved in creating content.
While at Mashable I produced a series of profiles on three incredible women. Women in everyday life who are working to change the world around them. I was honored and incredibly inspired to be able to help share their story- stories that need to be told, and that people care to hear.
Though I’ve learned from both male and female coworkers alike, it’s my female cohorts that inspire me to kick ass. The women I’ve worked alongside have been brilliant, supportive, encouraging, talented, and they’ve challenged me to work harder and be better. Our role models are badass women who fight for what they want in their careers and personal lives and don’t apologize for it.
I bring that spirit to work everyday as a senior editorial video producer at Mashable. While at Vox, I held four titles in less than four years and those promotions all came from learning on the job. I was not trained, specifically, in this field before I started. It’s important to remember that it is possible to succeed in a field that has nothing to do with your college major. I’m thankful for my education, but I don’t necessarily think you need to have a degree saying you’re qualified; your work should speak for itself. With dedication and hopefully some excellent mentors, you might be surprised by where your career can go.
I recognize that I’m lucky, I have a supportive family and partner. If I’d taken a risk and it hadn’t panned out, they would be there for me. Not everyone has that, and not everyone is able to go to college. Essentially, I’d be a lazy, privileged, shit if I didn’t work hard and apply myself. My role models are confident, unstoppable, hard working women and I want to follow their example – caring about equality in the workplace is a large part of that.
These landscapes are changing constantly, as everything having to do with the internet seems to do. It’s my hope that media outlets take equality seriously from the inside out and we start to see the shift toward a more diverse workforce.
Lindsey is a video producer living in Brooklyn, New York with her boyfriend and no puppy. She has worked on content ranging from major gaming conventions, technology reviews, a scripted comedy series, to short form docs profiling inspiring women. She loves movies, museums, good bourbon and puppies (to reiterate, she has none).