No stranger to bias, Lea-Ann entered her career at a time where she had to fight for many of her career achievements. Like many women, she assumed her struggles made it easier for younger women entering the workforce. But during a heart-felt conversation on a drive to the beach, her daughter Ashley revealed bias was alive and well, and eroding Ashley’s ambition.
This revelation led them both on a journey to get answers around what Ashley and her colleagues were experiencing. After seeing the data around current stereotyping and sexism, Ashley and Lea-Ann decided to pick up a camera and produce their documentary.
Event Introduction Biographies:
Pioneers in Skirts director – Ashley Maria, is a DGA award-winning director, writer, and producer. She’s known for creating both comedy and horror films as well as content that addresses pressing social issues, especially gender equality. Ashley’s portfolio includes a range of funny (and fun), scary, musical, and impactful films with superheroes, singing neighbors, and screaming television characters — to highlight a few! Based in Los Angeles, CA., Ashley hails from the Tar Heel state of North Carolina. She received her undergrad degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and her Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) from the USC School of Cinematic Arts – in California.
Pioneers in Skirts producer – Lea-Ann W. Berst, is a filmmaker and global activation professional based in Raleigh, NC. Lea-Ann was originally known for her “first-to-market” product marketing launches and today she is known for her work as a writer and producer of documentaries focused on cultural change. Lea-Ann is a graduate of SUNY Oswego and SUNY Canton. Her career spans from Product Management to Brand Activation in the tech industry, and now Impact Producing & Outreach Activation for documentary films. She has been producing documentaries since 2009.
Fun fact, Ashley and Lea-Ann are daughter and mother!
Long Biographies for Ashley and Lea-Ann:
Directed by Ashley Maria
Produced by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria
Sound Edit by Amy Reynolds Reed
Composed by Alana Balagot
Production Sound by Rebecca Chan
Cinematography by Elizabeth Yarwood
Written by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria
Graphic Design by Tom Bloczynski
Movie Theme Song “Freeway” by Mia Yara
(Listen to it on our Spotify playlist!)