As chairman of Universal Pictures, Donna Langley is one of the few women in her position in the entertainment industry. Her work with the nonprofit organization Vital Voices and its global mentorship program has also influenced her day job.
Four years ago Vital Voices, which provides women with the resources and life coaching to boost leadership endeavors, approached Langley, and last summer she officially joined the team, traveling to Qatar to work intensively as a mentor alongside a group of women leaders from all over the world.
Though a mentor, the U.K. native says the experience was mutually beneficial and gave her a stronger connection to the world outside of Hollywood. Langley notes that though it varies in degree from country to country, women around the world are dealing with similar issues of inequality and underrepresentation.
“We live in a big world, we are citizens of the world and we make movies for everybody around the world,” Langley says. “I think it’s very important to understand what people’s life experiences, good and bad, are.”
Langley says she wants to help Vital Voices expand its professional networks, particularly by connecting the D.C.-based NGO with media companies in California.
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“They could bolster their digital presence and get them connected with similarly-minded and motivated people,” Langley says. “In Hollywood, particularly, there are a lot of people who could be really helpful to them.”
Langley, who also oversees Universal’s international division, wants to make another trip with Vital Voices and walk away with more personal and professional insight.
“I gained such a fundamental connectivity. The world is not such a large place and we have more in common with one another than we might think.”