Danielle Carrig, Public Relations Netflix
Prior to Joining Lifetime, Carrig was Executive Director of Step Up Women’s Network, a National non-profit membership organization based in Los Angeles. There she directed the organization’s national objectives of raising awareness and strengthening resources for women’s health initiatives, educational programming for underserved girls and women’s professional development while managing the organizations three offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who buck convention and decidedly maneuver outside of the status quo. A very dear friend of mine is undergoing a life transition. Smack in the middle of her working years, she decided to pursue a new career path and become a yoga instructor. She wasn’t searching for it or disillusioned with what she was doing previously. She simply went after something that felt good. Boy is that hard to do – to commit to something because it’s the right thing for you. When do we ever put ourselves first? I’m inspired by people who are so steadfast in their beliefs, pursuits and passions that all the superficial things society tells us we “should” be seeking do not play a part in their life equation.
Who has had the most impact in your life?
When I moved to Los Angeles after college, I had nothing other than a newly leased apartment that I couldn’t afford and a few hundred bucks in my bank account. I had never held a “professional” job and I had never really known anyone with one either, outside of school and university. The woman who first hired me had a profoundly significant impact on me, mostly because her example set a tone for my future. Observing her navigate the workplace with such a strong moral compass, I learned very early the importance of presence and what it means to be a strong executive with integrity and values. She believed in me more than I believed in myself and, now, looking back, the vision she laid out for me has a direct correlation to where I am today. Most importantly, she continues to teach me the most valuable lesson, which is to enjoy life. Work is not an end in itself, but a means to finding fulfillment, and I learned this from watching her grab every opportunity and dedicate just as much time and energy toward her personal life as her professional life.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
When it comes to work, a project or product is only as good as the combined energy and excitement of the people involved in creating it. For a long time, my focus was primarily on the bottom line and all the numbers that I needed to get there. I was less concerned with getting everyone on the same bus to get to the same location together. As I’ve grown in my career I’ve learned that working toward shared goals is often the most important element to long-term success.
What cause(s) or nonprofit(s) do you support?
My partner heads the ceramics area at Cal State Northridge. Arts education and support for working artists is our common passion and because of her leadership on the board with the National Council for the Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), we are determined to ensure that there continues to be a place in the world for makers of all kinds.
If I wasn’t in the entertainment industry I would probably be living in Washington, DC by now because I’m passionate about getting more women elected to public office. The US ranks 85th in the world when it comes to women’s elected representation. In Los Angeles alone, only one of the fifteen city council seats is held by a woman. For me, this disparity is a glaring reminder how far women still are from places of influence in our society.
I also have five rescue pets at home and am a huge advocate for adoption and animal rights.
What is your favorite city and why?
I have a framed map of Chicago in my office. It’s not a particularly rare or beautiful map, just a simple reminder of home. I once read that the more you become entrenched in your career and the more senior you become, the harder it is to keep outside influences from shaping your character in sometimes not-so-great ways. It’s so easy to lose yourself when every day you are bending and maneuvering to meet deadlines and navigate the stress that comes with any job. I always come back to reality and find my center when I think about home. For me, home represents values that are squarely rooted in Chicago – it’s a place of pride, honesty and a work ethic that goes unparalleled. And, the pizza isn’t bad either.
What creative person, e.g. writer, architect, fashion designer, do you most admire and why?
I’m fortunate to be in a creative business and I love working with some of the best minds in the entertainment industry. Our General Manager at Lifetime wows me every day with his innovation, and perseverance….and, like a true creative, he has an insatiable curiosity in and knowledge of all art forms, from literature to music to film to great television content. When I can barely drive myself home after a long day at the office, he’s going to an 11pm show of some underground band I’ve never heard of and then I just wish I was that cool. Not many men would love being at the helm of a woman’s brand as much he does. But, respect for and admiration of women is in his DNA and it inspires all of our work every day.
What advice would you give to other women starting out?
I talk to a lot of women at all places in their careers and, time and time again, I find that they are drastically under-estimating their capabilities. To the woman just starting out: stop reading job descriptions and trying to tick off every box before you even apply for a job. I would love to see women think bigger about how they can contribute and walk into an interview with the strength and confidence of persuading a potential employer on why they are the perfect fit for a job. So often, hiring isn’t about the skills, but about the vision of how you are going to grow and lead in a particular position. Confidence, determination, and passion with a sprinkling of humility will always win.