Channing Dungey, ABC Entertainment Group
Channing Dungey oversees the development and production of all drama pilots, movies & miniseries for ABC. Series Ms. Dungey has developed and launched include “Scandal,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Resurrection,” and “Nashville.”
Ms. Dungey, who graduated magna cum laude from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, is a founding member of Step Up Women’s Network, a national non-profit membership organization dedicated to strengthening community resources for girls. She also teaches a graduate level course in Drama at UCLA.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by art – in whatever form it takes. I love when I see a painting or a photograph that captures my attention. I love the physical movement and beauty of dance. I love love love when I hear a new song that transports me. Creativity can’t help but be inspiring – it’s so exciting to see how an artist’s vision manifests itself in their work.
Who has had the most impact in your life?
I have to say my parents. I feel so blessed because of the opportunities they gave me, and for the fact that I always felt supported in my endeavors, even when my dreams didn’t necessarily align with theirs. And I love the fact that they raised me to believe that there’s nothing that I can’t accomplish if I set my mind to it. My dad used to always recite a quote from Calvin Coolidge that begins, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence,” and that has been a guiding tenet for me to this day.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
I think I’m still learning it – that you can’t be everywhere at once, no matter how you try. The issue of work/life balance is a real one, and yet I still find myself frustrated if I feel like I’m giving some aspect of my life short shrift. The lesson, I think, lies in being able to make peace with your choices, and to be in the moment wherever you are without thinking about the thousand other things you should be doing at that moment. Definitely still working on that!
What cause(s) or nonprofit(s) do you support?
In terms of charitable giving, it’s a pretty long list. I’m fortunate to be in a position to support nonprofits that align with my personal priorities, which include women’s health issues, cancer research, environmental concerns, and education for women and children domestically and globally. I have been an active supporter of the I Have A Dream Foundation which supports education for at-risk youths, and I also support Baby 2 Baby which provides low income children with basic necessities.
What is your favorite city and why?
Ooooh this is a tough one. I do love some of the usual suspects – New York, Paris, London, Barcelona… they’re all great. But closer to home, I’m a big fan of Portland – the people, the food, the music, Powell’s Books! – it’s a fantastic, very livable city and I could see myself there someday.
What creative person, e.g. writer, architect, fashion designer, do you most admire and why?
Again, there are a lot of possible answers. I think the one that pops to mind for me first, though, is Diane von Furstenburg. I love how she launched her brand and helped millions of career women build their wardrobes with her wrap dresses. I love the fact that she broke into a very male dominated business on her own terms and has continued to live her life the same way. And I love that she’s aging in such a classy and elegant way.
What advice would you give to other women starting out?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to use your voice. Remember that your opinion matters – the minute you cease to have one, you cease to have value. Be willing to put in your ten thousand hours to get to where you want to go – cutting corners may seem smart in the short run but eventually you’ll pay for your lack of knowledge and experience. And do what you love – life’s too short to pursue something that you’re not truly passionate about.