Four winners will be chosen out of eight candidates for the 2021 Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH) Leadership Awards, scheduled to be presented March 8, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
Attendees of the event will also be treated to a keynote presentation and a charity panel, before the awards presentation. The WiTH Foundation will be donating 100 percent of all revenues from Awards sponsorships to local charity organizations that consistently deliver on the goals as the organization, which include professional development, mentoring and networking, and community engagement.
Here’s a brief look at the eight nominees:
• Christina Aguilera, head of creative engineering for Amazon Studios, is among the most highly committed leaders in the women-in tech-space, and currently serves as president of WiTH. Prior to Amazon, Aguilera served as head of production asset management for Concentric Advisors, and worked for five years in asset management with Disney. Before entertainment, she spent more than 10 years in digital asset management with McDonald’s.
• Melanie Hildebrandt, SVP, corporate IT, Sony Pictures Entertainment, is an accomplished leader who actively encourages women to pursue careers in technology and volunteers her time to further this goal through her work as fundraising chair for STEM Advantage and by being corporate sponsor of the Sony Pictures Women in Tech group. She’s considered a role model within both Sony and in the greater L.A. tech community.
• Katie Hinsen, executive producer of dailies and digital intermediate for Nice Shoes, is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Post Collective, the largest non-profit in post-production dedicated to supporting emerging talent and increasing diversity in the industry. She has spearheaded numerous programs, including PDAP, paying for all costs allowing emerging talent from underrepresented backgrounds attend major industry events and conferences. She’s known as the “mother of mentorship” in post-production.
• Davida Johnson, managing director of the office of information technology for UCLA, has IT experience in telecommunications, managed an IT team during the home entertainment boom days, and has experience developing business continuity plans across a wide group of IT units for Warner Bros. Her current focus is in higher-level education IT organizations, developing technology focused partnerships at UCLA.
• Nicole McMackin, CEO of Irvine Technology Company, is responsible for the creation of a robust 12-week education program that trains and develops female CIOs in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas, which includes guest speakers, networking and mentoring. She has played a key role in getting a joint venture spun up between WiTH and the Hollywood IT Society to provide learning, connection, and community opportunities for people looking for work or wanting to improve their skills and marketability.
• Jade McQueen, senior managing director, M&E, retail and CPG for Box, began her career in entertainment working first in music and later for Dreamworks and Fox. She transitioned to a leadership role at Box while they were a start-up and built the media and entertainment practice there. She’s a trusted advisor to the founders of the company and acts as an M&E insider representing the challenges of our industry and making sure that Box can address those needs.
• Kimberly Minarik, senior director of information security at Discovery, conveys strength and confidence to deal with obstacles and setbacks in the male-dominated cybersecurity field, and has the ability to reach her and her team’s goals in a field that regularly throws curve balls at them without notice. She continues to create women-empowered environments across the organization and Discovery.
• Jason Spaltro, SVP of information security at Sony Pictures Entertainment, has more women reporting to him than men, more female VPs reporting to him than male VPs, and actively recruits women to his cybersecurity team. He was asked to speak in 2019 at the Mount St. Mary’s University’s Center for the Advancement of Women Leadership Conference on the topic “Collaboration is Key: Men and Women Advancing Gender Equity.”
The Four winners will be voted on by the WiTH Foundation’s Board of Directors. WiTH is an organization that serves as a catalyst for the advancement of women in entertainment technology, and the WiTH Foundation Board of Directors, which selects the Leadership Awards winners, includes representatives from women’s organizations at Amazon Studios, Discovery, FilmTrack, Google, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, WarnerMedia, and The Walt Disney Company.