Believe it or not, Women’s History Month has been recognized by our country since 1987 as a time to celebrate women’s contributions to our history, culture, and society (And yes, it does pain us to see a year that feels just a little too close to present-day).
On International Women’s Day, celebrated March 8th, the world came together to honor the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of all women everywhere. The theme picked for this year was Choose To Challenge. The official International Women’s Day website stated, “A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change.”
At Koi-Fly, we consistently #ChooseToChallenge the gender biases and inequality so often found within the video production industry. For us, this starts in our own workplace – and we are proud to be a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified company. To be WBENC certified, a company (such as Koi-Fly) must be at least 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. Major shout-out to Stacey, our CEO and resident #GirlBoss.
We had the chance to sit down and chat about the women that inspire Stacey and the rest of our team. Check out the incredible women chosen and what they mean to our Koi-Fly family –– and then throw a comment below and share with us the women who inspire you!
Dave Bisson | Director of Production
Kathryn Bigelow has established herself as a powerhouse director in a genre mostly known for being a boys club and delivered some straight up action classics before becoming the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker (as well as the first to win the Directors Guild of America Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and more for this category). Also SHE DIRECTED POINT BREAK (the original not the garbage remake) which is one of the best films ever made so that automatically gets her my vote.
Dan Weidel | Director of Strategic Initiatives
Oprah has overcome much personal and professional adversity and is one of the only people I can think of that has gained the respect of the world..like who doesn’t love Oprah?! She connects with others so well, which I have always admired but off-screen she also has built a huge production and media company that she’s used to promote positivity, acceptance and education around important issues. How she uses her influence is so admirable and her consistency in being a hard working, kind, positive force in the world is unmatched.
Stacey Grant | Founder/CEO
I am absolutely crushing on Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She’s English (so everything she says sounds smart) but seriously as an actress, writer, and television producer she has broken down many typical male barriers. She created, was head writer, and the star of the BBC tragicomedy series Fleabag – one of my all time favorite tv shows. I’d have to say that show literally changed me. The creativity, humor and spot on writing was in my opinion groundbreaking. As if that wasn’t enough she was showrunner, head writer and executive producer for the first series of Killing Eve (2018–present), which she adapted for television. Both Fleabag and Killing Eve are highly acclaimed and have been named among the 100 greatest television series of the 21st century by The Guardian, with the former ranked at No. 8 and the latter at No. 30. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020. And I’d absolutely marry her if she’d have me- and if I wasn’t already married.
Eric LaCasse | Co-Owner | Editor | Cinematographer | Certified Drone Pilot | Steadicam Operator
Since the onset of her business, Stacey Grant has persevered so much to create a rich and dynamic team around her that is creative and versatile. All the while she has been met by challenges that have pushed her to adapt, grow and learn both professionally and personally. Stacey takes on these hurdles whilst supporting ALL her employees and striving to make them as happy as possible within the work environment. Failure is not an option in this arena. And Stacey believes that to her core. Her business is growing and thriving and this is a testament to her work ethic and decision making. Stacey has gathered an amazing group of talent and she inspires me to give 100% everyday. I mean, just look at what she’s accomplished…
Erin Versaggi | Associate Producer
Tina Fey & Phoebe Waller-Bridge
There are SO many incredible female leaders in the industry who inspire me. Choosing just one is an amazing problem to have. I immediately think of Tina Fey because #philly and #GOAT. But also because she’s always found a way to meet the ever-changing trends of the time in a hilarious and relatable way through her acting, producing and writing. Her philanthropic work is both motivating and inspiring. I especially love that her and her brother have established a scholarship at Temple University that supports veterans pursuing media and communication studies (Go Owls). She’s simply a legend.
The second woman who comes to mind is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her storytelling is game changing and the way she so effortlessly writes captivating characters and scenes is inspiring. A powerhouse in the industry, she’s leading the way as a showrunner and I continuously find myself excited to see what unique things she does next.
Kyra Knox | Director | Producer | DEI Lead
Ava DuVernay inspires me because she was the same age that I was when she left her job to follow her dreams as a filmmaker. Being a woman in my mid-thirties, I was scared to take that leap of faith but I thought to myself, “If she can do, it I can do it!”. Three years later here I am doing what I love as a career.
Brittany Frisch | Marketing Assistant
Annie Leibovitz & Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Annie Leibovitz is an accomplished artist in an arguably male-dominated field. She has literally set the standard for how celebrity portraits should be done, and she doesn’t shy away from the entire female form –– she embraces everything the body can do, as demonstrated in her pregnancy portrait of Demi Moore. In a world where 80% of global photography graduates are females, it’s shocking to know that only 15% of the industry is female. I’m glad that a female has set the standard for industry work.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also speak to RBG (one of my all-time heroes) and her contributions to the lives we have now as women. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a driving force for gender equality in the US. Without her we wouldn’t be able to have a bank account, establish credit, or get a mortgage without a cosigner. Women could be rejected from state-funded schools because of their gender before RBG’s work. She has helped women move towards equal pay and helped enforce their right to choose. She has done these things for women and so much more (for men and the LGTBQ community as well), and we owe her our thanks for her service and leadership.
Leslie Schmidt | Director Of Content | Senior Video Director
Koi-Fly Ladies & Annie Leibovitz
It goes without saying that I’m so fortunate to be inspired daily by the incredibly strong & talented women I work beside…so we’ll put that at the top. But under that, I would say that since I was a kid I have always been dazzled by Annie Leibovitz. There is just something about the way she leads her team and her shoots. It’s seamless, it almost feels like a dance. Her composition is easy, clean, unique, creative and most importantly impactful. I’m also incredibly inspired by her mastery of light and the way she’s able to pull the soul out of her subjects. It seems so effortless, but as we know, so much research and preparation goes into capturing pure images. To be able to pull it off like you’re right there in the room, that’s the key.
Michaela Keating | Senior Marketing Coordinator
A female leader who inspires me most is Adriana Carrig. Adriana is the founder and CEO of the Little Words Project. You’ve probably seen her bracelets on everyone’s wrists as of November 2020. She started this company with the end goal of spreading kindness throughout the world and creating tangible pieces of inspiration through tiny messages. As a strong leader, passionate entrepreneur and inspirational marketer, she inspires me to continue to realize that we are all human beings who need to be lifted up daily. Whether this be on social media, in person or even through a message on a bracelet, humans need kindness in their lives. And I want to be one of those people who spreads kindness every day. Are you with me?! Check out her website for tiny words that make ya smile.
Morgan Kruczek | Editor
Oprah paved the way for women in journalism from standing up for her self worth and then owning her own talk show. A talk show has always been a dream job of mine. She also volunteers and does a lot of charity work. Helping out so many people is another huge value to me.
Nicole Monte | Director of Project Management
My friend, Pam Martin, an Oscar-nominated feature film editor (for “The Fighter”) inspires me. Her approach to work is effortless: no problem is too daunting, no co-worker is too difficult. She simply jumps in and does the work. She doesn’t bring any baggage or expectations about the process, and as a result she is fully present to doing the work at hand.
Maddie Michowski | Content Specialist
Mindy Kaling has been a hero of mine since picking up her book “Why Not Me?” my freshman year of college. Her ability to be an incredible actress, comedian, writer, producer, director, and BOSS continues to have a huge impact on the work I do today. Mindy Kaling inspires me to push personal and professional boundaries while remaining authentic in who I am and how I feel. Her ability to make people feel safe and “relatable” inspires me to create a space like that of my own.