NONPROFIT EXEC WORKS FOR INDUSTRY GENDER EQUITY
STORY: Michael Jacobs
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna
Sandy Springs resident Jennifer Long has taken a roundabout route to becoming the executive director of the nonprofit Women in Film and Television Atlanta. A native of Albuquerque, she studied broadcast journalism at Hampton University in Virginia, then got her start in television in Atlanta by doing affiliate sales and marketing with Starz Entertainment and The Weather Channel. She went to Los Angeles, where she worked for MTV Networks and NuvoTV, and earned an MBA at Pepperdine before returning to Atlanta 13 years ago.
As a young mother, she started working in education, getting nonprofit experience at The Galloway School and the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education. After taking up voiceover work as a hobby and doing radio, she gravitated to WIFTA. When the position of executive director opened last year, Long says, “It just seemed like a natural fit.”
What is WIFTA’s purpose?
Advocating for gender parity is number one. The other thing we focus on is education and professional development, ensuring [women] have lots of opportunities to flourish and grow in the industry.
How does it do that?
I like to talk a lot about nuance. One of the things I noticed in Los Angeles was oftentimes you’d get information and content and context just by being in a space that’s focused on film and television. Just through osmosis. Because Atlanta is still growing, and there are so many other different types of industries, those kind of nuanced conversations don’t happen as organically. So we do things that focus on that nuance. For example, we host fireside chats where we bring in producers or directors or owners of production studios to talk to women about the work they’re doing.
Why is an organization needed that focuses on women in film and TV?
We are able to be specific to issues that are related to women in the industry— not only being attuned to but being able to advocate for that. The beautiful thing about Atlanta is that this space continues to grow, and so we want to make sure we’re cultivating an environment and culture in which women and the work they do is valued and is also relevant, and that their stories are heard.
What are women looking for at WIFTA?
They’re either trying to build their careers or they have established careers and want to get connected in a way that’s more meaningful or that can help take them to the next level. They’re also looking for support.
What are your goals for the organization?
I want to ensure we have meaningful programming that’s relevant to what’s happening in the industry here in Atlanta and also relevant to our members. Things that are meaningful to the work they’re doing and will help them expand the work they’re doing. Another obvious goal is we’re always trying to grow our membership and expand the network for women so that there’s a great space for them to be able to engage. And then developing strategic partnerships.
Jack-of-all-trades writer covering almost anything but beauty and fashion at Simply Buckhead; fond of flamingos and sloths.