Selfie

“When we share these diverse images on our social networks, we are taking personal ownership and truly redefining beauty.” – Cynthia Wade

Last fall, I was privileged to meet Academy Award-winning director Cynthia Wade, who won an Oscar for her documentary “Freeheld” in 2007 and was nominated again in 2012 for “Mondays at Racine.” Cynthia also directs commercials and works with advertising agencies that want to use real people to tell engaging, emotional stories.

I had dinner with Cynthia and liked her so much that I invited her out two nights later to another dinner I was attending with some friends in advertising, as well as Michael Crook, a talented photographer (female – don’t let the name fool you) I’d met months before at a charity event.

We gathered on a rainy night at a cozy restaurant on Bleeker Street and, as with all #StilettoNetwork dinners, there was no explicit goal or agenda; we were just there to catch up and/or get to know one another.

Cynthia and Michael talked for much of the night, and within a month Cynthia pitched the idea for a short film called “Selfie,” with Michael as the featured photographer, for Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty.” On Monday, the 7-minute film Cynthia conceived and directed premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a beautiful collaboration, and it’s going viral now.
YouTube.com/Dove

“SHOWING UP to these networking meetings is the key to success!” Cynthia wrote in an email. “That dinner was challenging to get to, as I was traveling down from MA just for the dinner and back – and I’d only just gotten back home from a week business trip, so it would have been easy to stay home. I AM SO GLAD I WENT.”

So are we. Congratulations Cynthia and Michael!

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If you’re part of top leadership, you need to support this changing environment so that women can thrive. If I were a C.E.O. of a large company I’d be looking seriously at this. I’d be concerned. These women were really seriously preparing themselves to be a stronger part of the future. This could be the engine that drives the American economy forward.”

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