For all Pioneers in Skirts® media inquiries, to request specific information, or to schedule an interview, please contact PioneersinSkirts [@] #BEtheChange  #BEaPioneer

Content for your story

Are you writing an article or producing a piece about what’s holding women back in their careers? Are you wondering about what parents need to be doing today in order to carve a successful career path for their daughters’ future?  Well, we have a story for you.

Interview our daughter/mother team — Director, Ashley Maria and Producer, Lea-Ann W. Berst. We want to share what we’ve experienced over the past 5 years.


Filmmaker Ashley Maria grew up in a world where girls were told, “If you dream it, you can be it.” But, as an adult, Ashley felt held back and ill-prepared to confront the bias eroding her ambition.

Determined to find a fix, Ashley began a nationwide journey to reveal the obstacles women face in their careers, what realistically can be done about them, and how we all can play a role in dramatically changing the outcome for the next generation.

After discovering progress for women has stalled out, that things haven’t changed much for working women over the past 40 years, the DGA-award winning director set out to make a film that answered the question: What will it take for women to take control of their careers?

The most important answer she found: women aren’t broken.

Bringing in the experiences of other ambitious women like her, Ashley asks experts and achieving women for solutions women can implement today to take control of their careers in a backwards system.

Pioneers in Skirts is a social impact documentary that aims to educate people on recognizing workplace bias, encourage women and their advocates to confront that bias and, finally, empower women to take back their ambition.

Pioneers in Skirts will premiere in the fall of 2018.

–Our Story–


Pioneers in Skirts is aimed at the 20-something woman who –

  • feels she has done all the “right things” in college to position herself for success as she entered her first job,
  • has high ambitions for her career and the life in front of her,
  • is aware that she should own her own success but can’t understand (or get past) cultural and systemic challenges that hold her back,
  • is feeling like a wall has come up in front of her…and that it is all her fault
  • feels she is to blame and is wondering how she can “fix” herself.

Pioneers in Skirts has a secondary audience of parents & mentors who –

  • want to help girls carve a successful career path,
  • have already seen the girls in their lives begin to doubt their capabilities, and
  • have agonized as to why the girls in their lives are dropping out of a career path that seemed to once energize them.


Pioneers in Skirts is currently in post-production, with a targeted premiere date for the Fall of 2018. –Meet the Team–


Our FIRST step is to have a worldwide premiere at a festival that seeks to foster equality, inclusion and diversity. As the film hits the festival circuit, we will work to secure broadcast distribution for shared home streaming and educational distribution to get the film into educational institutions.

Our LONG-TERM goal is to regularly screen Pioneers in Skirts in educational and corporate-sponsored venues that have an engaging, festival-type setting. We want audiences to have custom experiences that activate experiential opportunities where they can learn to identify and confront sexism and bias in the culture around them. Weaving in the energy of people around them, we want audiences to have the opportunity to meet the filmmakers and speak to people we feature in the film.

Our end game: to engage diverse audiences in fruitful dialogue that challenges biased cultural beliefs.

It is our desire to have the screening of Pioneers in Skirts be part of a safe space where issues that have the potential for polarizing communities are discussed in a meaningful fashion; addressing the problems without accusation or creating division.


Designed for our friends in the media, these images and video clips can be freely reproduced when credited to “Pioneers in Skirts® / Ashley Maria.”

VIDEO – Clips can be found on our Vimeo channel. We’ve organized the video clips into 4 buckets: Career Advice, General Purpose, The People in the Film, and Production Update Videos.

IMAGES – Here you’ll find a sampling of images relating to the movie. Please contact us if you need a specific image that is not shown.

Producers Lea-Ann Berst and Ashley Maria

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We followed Lily’s life and career from pregnancy to when Carter was 2.

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We followed Maddy, Sophia and Iman from ages 13-16 to capture their ambition story.

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Millennial interviewees striking a Rosie pose!

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Ashley Maria

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Ashley Maria learning about the importance of having a work-life-blend from global executive, Nicole Jefferies.

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Ashley Maria on set; directing the Norman Lear and Joan Darling interview.

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Producers Lea-Ann Berst and Ashley Maria

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Producers At White House Summit

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Daughter-Mother Producers

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