December has been a turbulent month for anyone even remotely affiliated with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Amy Pascal, chairman of the Motion Pictures Group, is right at the center of the storm.
Pascal has been under intense scrutiny since the hacking and data breach that Sony fell victim to earlier this month. The release of some extremely unprofessional, nasty and at times racist emails have left some wondering if Pascal will soon be relieved of her position.
Though many are upset with the exec (and rightfully so), Pascal holds a head position at a major studio in an industry widely known to be a sexist, male-dominated environment. So how did this woman rise to power? “Movies defined what was possible for a young ambitious girl growing up in Southern California,” she said in a speech to employees back in 2008, according to the New York Times.
She must be doing something right. Here’s a time line of Pascal’s education and rise to power as a woman in a man’s world.
Pascal was born to Tony and Barbara Pascal in Los Angeles in March of 1958, according to Variety. Tony was an economist and Barbara was a librarian and owned an art bookstore. Pascal attended high school in Santa Monica and then UCLA, where she worked as a bookkeeper while studying for her B.A. in international relations.
1980: Graduates from college, lands first job in entertainment industry
Upon graduation, Pascal got her first job as a secretary for producer Tony Garnett, according to the New York Times. During this time, Pascal networked with Garnett’s connections, read scripts and got to know producers. She eventually moved into a development position for Garnett’s company, Kestrel Films, and produced Sesame Street Presents and Follow that Bird, according to Variety.
1986: Hired as VP of production at 20th Century Fox
During her time with Garnett, Pascal became acquainted with producer Scott Rudin, who offered her a position with 20th Century Fox.
1987: Hired as VP of production at Columbia Pictures
Pascal quickly moved from Fox to Columbia, while still in her 20s. During her time with Columbia, she oversaw huge films such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Single White Female” and “A League of Their Own.”
1994: Appointed president at Turner Pictures
1996: Heads back to Columbia, a division of Sony Pictures
Pascal returned to Columbia as president after the folding of Turner Pictures.
1997: Married Bernard Weinraub
Pascal and Weinraub, a cultural reporter for the New York Times, wed in Los Angeles in August of 1997, according to the Times.
2002: Receives awards from Glamour magazine and Variety
Pascal was honored at the Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year Awards and was also named Showman of the Year by Variety.
2003: Promoted at Sony to chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group
Pascal fought hard for this promotion, which almost went solely to Michael Lynton, who has also gotten attention from the Sony hack regarding not-so-nice statements made about people in the industry in email chains with Pascal. Pascal pressed for the promotion, stating the case that she had been president of Columbia since 1996. The position was divided and given to both Lynton and Pascal.
2006: Promoted again to co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment
In this position, she was reunited with Scott Rudin, who she is working with in the production of the troubled Steve Jobs biopic.