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Women Rising Adds Maverick’s Catherine Connors as President

Production company Women Rising has added veteran entertainment executives Catherine Connors and Marissa Garcia, Variety has learned exclusively.

Connors, a former Disney executive, former head of content and co-founder of female network Maverick, has become president. Garcia has joined as head of strategy & partnerships after spending more than 14 years as an agent at CAA.

Five-year-old Women Rising is attempting to become the first female-founded collaborative entertainment studio in Hollywood history, creating and amplifying content for and about women. The company is a hybrid model of a traditional studio, a tech-style incubator, and a collaborative mentorship community.

In 2019, Women Rising will open a global call for submissions: writers, artists, directors, performers, photographers, designers, programmers, creators from all communities. Women Rising is gearing up to start raising its Series A of investment for the next phase of the company.

Women Rising produced the feature documentaries “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story” and “Tightly Wound,” an exploration of chronic pelvic pain authored by Shelby Hadden. Women Rising directed and produced the ProtectHer Documentary Series, in partnership with Vice President Biden’s It’s On Us campaign to help prevent sexual assault on campuses by empowering male athletes.

Women Rising is also producing “We Go Higher” as a feature documentary and short series sharing messages of hope from survivors and surviving loved ones from terror attacks around the world. Sara Hirsh Bordo, CEO and founder, is directing and producing “We Go Higher,” directed “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story” and directed and produced “ProtectHer.” She has directed all content and streaming for The United State of Women Summit, featuring Former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Connors is founder and publisher of the website Her Bad Mother, and co-author of “The Feminine Revolution,” released this month. She was editor-in-chief of Babble Media and led development of that platform’s influencer-based contributor network and creator-driven content strategy, which led to Babble’s acquisition by the Walt Disney Co.

Garcia represented digital marketers in the motion picture, television, and video game arenas. Clients included Mondo, Red Bull, Digital Kitchen, 42 Entertainment, NowLive, Five33, IMAX, Prima Cinema, NCM, and Signature Creatives. In 2015, Garcia co-founded M+C Collective, a specialized marketing, film distribution and sales agency.

“In the last 10-15 years, we’ve seen a real transformation in media, one that has made it possible for more stories to be told and more voices to be heard,” Connors said. “The evolution of digital and social media has made creators out of ordinary people — especially women, girls, youth and other communities that have historically not had meaningful opportunities to shape media and culture. But that evolution hasn’t yet fully reached traditional media like film and television — and there’s a very rich opportunity there to push that evolution forward and bring the innovations of new media to those spaces.”

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