Female Leaders in Art & Design: Jana Sue Memel

As an Oscar-winning producer, Jana Sue Memel is as expert as it can get in the entertainment industry. Reaching that success, especially as a woman, did not come easy, though.

In this last, but most definitely not the least, iteration for our Female Leaders in Art and Design Series, the Executive Director for Academy of Art University’s School of Entertainment Arts (film school, music production, and writing for film and TV) shares her experiences toughing it out in a male-dominated industry.

Anyone thinking or dreaming of getting into this particular career would do well to listen to her story and heed her advice. She recalls the time she was working on Showtime.

“I was called tough but worth it, and the tough part always puzzled me because I was just doing my job the way any man would.” Despite the glaring disparity in treatment, she forged on ahead knowing that she is simply doing what is required of the job.

Do It Afraid, As Long As You Do It

Unfortunately, she also notes that not a lot of her female students who aspire to be in the industry feel as empowered as they should be. To this, and to anyone who might be feeling discouraged, she gives this excellent advice:

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of failure, don’t be afraid of being afraid. Every time I do something new, part of me is scared to death. But I just do it, because I know if I fail, tomorrow I’ll get up and I’ll try again.

Jana Sue Memel, Executive Director, Schools of Entertainment

And that’s a wrap for our Female Leaders in Art & Design series. We hope we were able to impart much needed encouragement, inspiration, and wisdom from our very own female leaders in art and design. Truly, we are proud to have them all as part of our art school community!


Academy of Art University will be open throughout the rest of the academic year. We are accepting applications now for summer and fall. Request information from our admissions representatives on our art and design degrees and how to register for our online education program.