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Women in Animation Seeks Members From Toons, VFX, Games

In spring 2013, Kristy Scanlan and Margaret Dean, above, were approached with a very daunting task: taking leadership of a 20-year-old organization that seeks to empower the women that they had been working alongside and admiring for years.

Women in Animation was run by fantastic women who had been doing it for a long time, got burned out and wanted to bring in some fresh blood,” says Scanlan. “We were approached about becoming the new co-presidents and we took some time to do our research.”

Both are industry professionals — Scanlan as Technicolor’s vice president of business development for animation and games, Dean as director of production for Mattel Playground Prods. — and have not taken their new duties lightly.

In the year since their re-launch of the org in October 2013, Scanlan, Dean and their appointed board of directors have started a pilot mentorship program in addition to hosting panels for women involved in films such as “The Boxtrolls” and “Frozen,” co-directed by Jennifer Lee.

“Sitting in that panel with Lee and the others, I reverted back to being a little girl. I was so excited,” Dean says. “To be able to sit there and watch these eight women talk about themselves and the work that they do with complete authority, it was so thrilling.”

Women in Animation now counts more than 800 members, compared to the 120 members that Scanlan and Dean started with. They hope to see their impact affect the industry in the coming years, with women receiving a fairer representation as artists, designers and directors.

“If you look around in the culture, there’s a huge push for women’s issues. It’s a very popular theme right now,” Dean says. “I think we were able to attract a lot of people whom this has always been important to, but now they have the bandwidth to make something happen.”

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