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HPA Women In Post Comings and Goings

The new year has brought new faces to important roles at HPA! After several years of visionary leadership, Kari Grubin and Loren Nielsen have handed the WIP chair batons to Payton List, General Manager of Dailies and Media at Picture Shop Los Angeles, and Belinda Merritt, Director, Media & Entertainment North America, pixitmedia. We asked them a few questions about their history with HPA and their vision for the future of Women in Post.

1. How did you first become involved with HPA and WIP?

Payton: I was encouraged early on in my career by my mentor to attend the WIP events, and participate in the Tech Retreats. While still a shy newbie in the industry, I learned a lot and gained confidence in my networking, organizational, and leadership skills by attending and eventually participating in these events. In 2017, when encouraged again by the same mentor, I decided to give back by joining the Young Entertainment Professionals committee as a Co-Chair. It was then that I grew close to the amazing folks in both the HPA and WIP.

Belinda: I can’t ever recall a time when I wasn’t involved as an attendee of the many Tech Retreats we’ve done over the years and before that, the ITS. About 10 years ago, my then-client and always-friend Kari Grubin, myself and another friend went to dinner. Kari said “I think I’d like to put together a group that will support the women in post-production. If I do, would you like to be part of it?” I said yes and never looked back!

2. What have you gotten out of your time as a WIP member?

Payton: The benefits of participating in WIP have been endless. I’ve gained amazing and everlasting industry relationships, mentorships, and personal friendships. I’ve gained confidence in myself as a leader, and have learned a lot about the industry and, beyond that, life itself. Most importantly, I’ve learned the value of participating and giving back to the community that has given me so much. I hope to give back to the community that continues to inspire. Participating reminds me of why I love filmmaking and technology, and also the people behind the magic.

Belinda: I have met and become friends with so many wonderful women in our industry, and those friendships have lasted through the years. We count on each other for information and support. I’ve given a lot of time to Women In Post but the return has been unmeasurable. It’s an honor to work with an organization that gives back to the community, fosters knowledge and diversity and gives our members the opportunity to learn from each other.

3. What are you looking forward to as you begin as co-chair?

Payton: Learning from and getting to know better all the amazing people that are a part of this organization. Also, hopefully bringing more new faces into the community!

Belinda: I think we reached our goals during the first decade of WiP, post covid. Payton and I are looking to bring some new ideas on how we connect with each other and we are also looking forward to interacting with other women’s organizations within the M&E community. As well as our sister (or is it brother?) committee NET – Networking, Education and Technology. We’ve already been discussing co-producing a summer event with them to bring the two committees together so we can learn even more from each other.

4. Any exciting WIP plans for 2022?

Payton: I hope to continue the trend of creating a more inclusive and equitable environment in the industry through collaboration, and bring new ideas to build upon the already amazing WIP group that Kari and Loren have created.

Belinda: We are very excited to kick off the new year at the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Springs next month. We’ve always had an overflow crowd at our WiP lunch at the Tech Retreat and although I can’t reveal the speaker just yet, it will be a lunch you won’t want to miss!

Join and follow HPA Women in Post on LinkedIn so you can stay up to date on WIP gatherings – and reach out to Payton and Belinda if you’d like to be more involved!

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