The Woman Who Runs the World of HBO Documentaries

October 27, 2017

"Women can be just as untalented and talented as men. Just because you're a woman doesn't give you access to the throne. It's much harder. It's a man's world. There are so few places at the top." 
This is an excerpt from Sheila Nevins, the President of HBO Documentaries and the woman who has been the diving force behind the media company's non-fictional department for over 30 years.  

Over the course of her reign, Nevins has garnered 9 Academy Awards, 13 Primetime Emmys, 22 News and Documentary Emmys,  and 18 George Foster Peabody Awards. Needless to say she has had an incredible career. Nevins shares some of her most memorable and valuable lessons in her book "You Don't Look Your Age...And Other Fairytales". Appropriately titled given the fact that Nevins is on the latter end of her 70's, she has championed the aging process gracefully. Her book is tailored more towards women in the workplace. 

Nevins is known for being honest and very forward. She admits that in the beginning of her career, she would go "above and beyond" for the boss, but Nevins admits, "that's what I thought you had to do to get ahead and it worked. I wish I could say it didn't work, but it did." Inspired by Gloria Steinem and the Feminist Movement,  Nevins found an alternate route to the top. One that included hard work, passion and a fierce determination to win.

A few of Nevins' key commandments as told to Indiewire.com is to be really good at your job. "There’s too few vacancies on the climb to throne; it’s more competitive among your peers, who are invariably going to be women. The other ones have already succeeded.”

Know Your Frenemy. "They are vibrant and  real and can be the same sex. They worry about you and your career. Maybe because it’s so hard to be a woman in the workplace, women are not always supportive. But never destroy yourself in the search to destroy. See a frenemy, but don’t be a frenemy.”

Stay honest. "How are you going to reach people if you don’t tell the truth? I sit in editing rooms trying to tell the truth. It is necessary.”

 

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