Making a Difference

Pioneers in Skirts activation efforts are aimed at casting a broader scope of awareness for the need to address gender equality issues. Screening in a host of locations around the globe, we want the film to be a catalyst for:

  • meaningful conversations about taking action against cultural bias, sexism, and unfair stereotypes
  • re-igniting individuals and organizations to work towards eliminating discrimination and achieve equality in all areas of life.

With women being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, this team is also pushing for women to be at the heart of post-pandemic recovery efforts.

Ashley Maria

Director, Producer, Co-Writer

Pioneers in Skirts Director, Ashley Maria, is a filmmaker located in Los Angeles, CA. Ashley works alongside Lea-Ann to maximize the film's reach and engagement so that it can influence, and fast-track, equality in all areas in life. Ashley is known for her narrative storytelling as well as an advocate for advancing women’s opportunities. She is a North American delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

CONTACT Ashley Maria:

Lea-Ann W. Berst on Set

Lea-Ann W. Berst

Producer, Co-Writer,Movie Activation

Pioneers in Skirts Producer, Lea-Ann W. Berst, is a filmmaker and global activation professional located in Raleigh, NC. Lea-Ann works alongside Ashley to maximize the film’s reach and engagement so that it can influence, and fast-track, equality in all areas of life. Lea-Ann is known for her work on building partnerships and tactics designed to deepen and advance the positive impact a film can have on our culture.

CONTACT Lea-Ann W. Berst:

Vanessa Bennett

Segment Manager - EDU

Based in Raleigh, NC, Vanessa Bennett has served on the Advisory Board during production of the film. Today, Vanessa serves as a movie Segment Manager -- focused on helping schools utilize Pioneers in Skirts to have an honest dialogue about ambition and careers, something she has seen first hand in post-screening conversations. Vanessa is a manager at her family-owned business -- S&M Seamless Gutters, Inc. We are grateful to have her on the team making sure the movie helps to inspire a younger generation to foster greater empathy & understanding of others!

CONTACT Vanessa Bennett:

Suzette Cotto

Speaker Publicist

Based in Houston, TX, Suzette Cotto works to place the producers in front of forward-thinking audiences around the globe. Serving as an Advisory Board member and Associate Producer to the film during production of Pioneers in Skirts, Suzette took this passion to our outreach efforts and now works to help elevate women & girls by addressing gender equality issues. She is the Founder and CEO of Innovate Social Media, a digital marketing agency. We are grateful to have Suzette as our champion!

CONTACT Suzette Cotto: