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Director Ashley Maria and Producer Lea-Ann W. Berst speak on topics of overcoming unfair obstacles, learning to be better allies, empowering the next generation, and how to make people feel included in the culture we live, work, and learn in.

After years of research and traveling the country speaking to topic experts and people with stories to share, these filmmakers have been on a mission to help others achieve a truly inclusive world where women and girls can thrive.

Equal for Equal
Michelle Proctor
Michelle ProctorChief of Staff, SAS Institute
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CORPORATE: Lea-Ann and Ashley are a powerhouse who represent women everywhere! SAS hired them on several occasions for keynotes where we featured the Pioneers in Skirts documentary along with a fireside chat where they shared their experience in making the film. Just like the movie, they are a perfect mixture of humor and compassion and take a serious almost taboo topic and make it safe to talk about openly. Their message not only resonates with females but helps educate males into becoming better allies.
Snehal Bhakta
Snehal BhaktaCTE Administrator, Clark County School District
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SCHOOL: What Ashley and Lea-Ann have created with the film Pioneers in Skirts and their willingness to engage with schools, teachers, and students is something that of which everyone should take advantage. They have provided students and educators with a diverse perspective and experience outside of a person’s current view and helped to inspire action, and personal self-reflection not only to our female students, but also all students and educators toward a more diverse, and inclusive world. I know the work we have done in our school district around equity and diversity over the past couple of years during a pandemic would not have been possible without the filmmakers of Pioneers in Skirts.
Leah Arnold
Leah ArnoldCTE Director, Eastern Suffolk BOCES
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SCHOOL: What an amazing experience it was to work with Pioneers in Skirts and the Producers! Lea-Ann and Ashley Maria were amazing. Not only did they help us plan and prepare for the event, they made helpful recommendations to market, engage our audience, and attend to the little details that made everyone’s experience remarkable. Of note, the Producers’ recommendations for student moderators, what to expect, and how to prepare the moderators was incredibly valuable and insightful. The event was inspirational and eye-opening for the participants as well as our audience!
Dennis Dayman
Dennis DaymanChief Information Security Officer
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ASSOCIATION: Working with Ashley and Lea-Ann was a privilege beyond words. They are an exceptionally talented group and an absolute delight to work with. Their message and the way they tell their story was more impactful than I could have imagined within a few groups I get to work with. I most admire their creative vision, but they also add other attributes to any production: they have a strong organizational skills, a remarkable work ethic, and are both steady, positive leaders.
Danielle Mazzaro
Danielle MazzaroAssociate Director Regulations and Standards Management at BD
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CORPORATE: The global presentation of Pioneers in Skirts and the panel discussion with Lea-Ann and Ashley was the highlight of BD's International Women's Day celebrations. Both Lea-Ann and Ashley led a thought provoking conversation with our leadership. They navigated challenging topics without judgement and with respect. Their insights on how we can all make impactful changes inspired countless associates and has left positive ripple effects throughout our company.

Delivering diverse perspectives, Ashley & Lea-Ann empower organizations to educate employees, students, and memberships on how to best support people from diverse backgrounds.

Topics That Spark Action

The filmmakers travel around the globe to speak and are accustomed to speaking via Zoom or other online meeting tools.

— speaker panels, conferences, corporate events, conventions —
  • Ashley travels from: California USA
  • Lea-Ann travels from: South Carolina USA


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