2019 Honoree

Kerry Ehrin

Creator, Executive Producer, The Morning Show on Apple TV+

“There are so many strong, amazing women that disappear with the tide and I identify with their struggles; their isolation and strength and perseverance when no one was taking care of them and they were taking care of everyone.”

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?

Having some power and influence in the world. Having a voice that can be heard. For me, I think of a power woman as someone who is not afraid to lift people up and fight for what’s right, even if it’s unpopular.

With all the different issues one could focus on, how do you balance your efforts in pursuit of gender equality? Is it a global approach or a specific issue that you are passionate about?

I think it is both global and personal. Education is everything. Awareness. Instilling the concept of equality for all. Getting women’s stories out there. Talking to people. Listening to people. Trying to educate on a grass roots level, which can be as simple as explaining to someone you encounter why certain things they are saying, or doing, are limiting women in different ways. I feel like just talking to someone with a different background or opinion can be so helpful and healing.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

I would like to be a stage actress and know what it is like to lay oneself bare and emotionally connect with a 600 seat audience. Connecting with people has been a powerful drive in me. I think there is a spiritual quality to it that is larger than life. It is both fascinating and meaningful to me.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

That’s a huge question. I tend to identify with underdogs who push through, no matter what; people who achieve a way of communicating with others and educating the world through the actions they take to, basically, save their own sanity: Anne Frank and Oscar Wilde come to mind. Also, the unsung heroes of everyday. After my paternal grandmother came to America from Hungary, her husband died, leaving her to raise and support a family of eight kids on her own. There are so many strong, amazing women that disappear with the tide and I identify with their struggles; their isolation and strength and perseverance when no one was taking care of them and they were taking care of everyone.

Why or why not? In what way do you work for women’s power and equality? What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take (e.g., affirmative action)?

I support candidates and legislation that advocate for women’s power and equality. On a more personal level, I have always worked to put women forward in my business life. I have mentored women. I have hired many women. I have put women into positions of authority. The women in my life were my first understanding of a “social network.” They were a lifeline. That continues into my work life.

Have you seen changes in the political landscape for women over the past few years? If so, what are they?

Yes, I have seen more women in authority. More respect for women. More of an appetite for women’s voices. It’s wonderful.

Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?

I think there were many moments of feeling invisible or powerless that gave me a lot of drive early on.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t answer business letters when you are angry.

There are many studies that support the idea that a female presence in the board room increases the bottom line and leads to healthier work environments. What can we do to continue to support and enhance the growth and presence of women in high profile positions?

I applaud the recent California legislation that requires at least one woman on the board of any corporation in the state. If women are doing business with a company, women need to insist that there is a female presence in the highest levels of management.

Is “Education, education and education” one of the top three responsibilities of a civilized society? If so, why is it prohibitively expensive? If not, why not?

Education should be available to everyone. Period. An important educational reform regarding cost would be to do all we can to make our great state universities comparable in status and value for future success with the famous private institutions. In other words, you should be as likely to become president with a University of California degree as one from Yale.

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

I studied Victorian Lit in college and I loved it because it was really all about the effects of repression. WITHERING HEIGHTS is a personal favorite. It’s really bent and ahead of its time. Everyone in it is something of an anti-hero. It’s just wild, raw, and savage–a Victorian novel on crack. Very pure. You can feel the author so much. It is a reference that comes back to me in many of the things I write because it deals with the passion of what people desire (love, fulfillment, connection) at conflict with their inability to achieve it because they don’t understand how emotionally damaged they are.

What do you most value in your friends?

Respect and unconditional love, which is a hard balance to achieve. A sense of humor and a lack of judgment are also key.

Which trait do you most deplore in yourself? In others?

I actually don’t deplore any of my traits. I suppose the trait I most deplore is arrogance. People who are so bent on how right they are that they can’t hear anyone else’s voice.

What do you consider the most over rated virtue?

Ironically (based on my last answer), modesty. I think it’s good to be able to talk about what you have accomplished and what you have brought to various jobs or situations. I did not realize how important this was until I noticed that a lot of powerful men do it all the time. They are their own best PR! But, basically, if you don’t let people know what you are contributing you can die with that secret.

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