Disney Television studios pushes forth with Jewish woman at the helm

#19 - Disney’s boss: Dana Walden

Dana Walden (photo credit: REUTERS)
Dana Walden
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When Disney Television Studios Chairwoman Dana Walden was interviewed by Keshet CEO Avi Nir at the INTV conference on innovation in television in Jerusalem in 2017 (when she was an executive at Fox Television Group), Nir asked her an interesting question: Given that she was near the Western Wall, if she could contact one person from the past or present, going back 3,000 years, who would it be?
According to an account in Variety, she answered without hesitation, “I would call my Grandma Rose.”
Rose Freedman, her maternal grandmother, who died in 2001 at 108, was the longest-living survivor of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and her quick thinking as that tragedy unfolded saved her life.
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Walden has displayed a similar talent for working fast and smart – although, thankfully, she has only had to navigate the boardrooms of the entertainment industry and not life-threatening peril – throughout her stellar career.
In August, she oversaw a major rebranding of three of Disney Television Studios’ units that received a combined total of 47 Emmy Award nominations this year: 20th Century Fox Television, Fox 21 TV Studios and ABC Studios/ABC Signature. Disney Television Studios currently produces the No. 1 scripted series on 10 networks/platforms. Previously, Walden was a chairperson/CEO at Fox Television Group.
A mother of two, Walden and her husband are close friends of Democratic vice-presidential hopeful Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.
Walden has spoken about how she managed to triumph professionally in a male-dominated industry, and said at Variety’s Power of Women event last year, “It’s impossible to overstate the importance to young women how important it is to see female leaders.” Now she is surely inspiring girls to dream big, just as her Grandma Rose inspired her.