For Donna Langley, career concerns held sway in her life for a long time. So the irony of reaching the top at the moment she began her family is not lost on her.
“I held off starting my family. I am in my early forties, and I waited, because I was really busy with my career,” recalls the co-chairman of Universal Pictures, the mother of a 10-month-old baby and the recipient of the this year’s Crystal Award for Excellence in Film. “I had just gotten back from maternity leave when I was promoted to co-chairman.”
Langley, who began her career in 1994 as a New Line assistant, worked her “way up through the ranks” there and jumped to Universal as VP of production in 2001, cites a covey of female trailblazers.
“My generation has definitely been helped by our predecessors, whether it was Dawn Steel, Sherry Lansing, Lynda Obst, even Stacey Snider and Amy Pascal,” she says. “I think those ladies, they’ve really helped forge a path. They created that path, from the ranks of the D-Girls (development girls) that we were so nicely called back in the 80s and 90s.”
Langley, who currently oversees day to day operations for U alongside Chairman Adam Fogelson, admits that being one of those women who have it all isn’t exactly an easy path to follow. It takes some serious discipline – and a good nanny.
“I am very happy to have a child at this point, knowing what I know and feeling comfortable and happy and secure in my business life. And I am in a position to know I can afford to have someone there helping me with him. You do share the raising of your child with a nanny, and that’s just what it is if you keep working,” she admits.