Philanthropist, Former Chair and CEO, Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group
Sherry Lansing is the founder and current chair of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, a philanthropic organization focusing on cancer research, health and education. Ms. Lansing was the chair of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures from 1992 to 2005, where she oversaw the release of more than 200 films including Academy Award® winners “Forrest Gump” (1994), “Braveheart” (1995), and highest grossing movie of all time, “Titanic” (1997). A pioneering studio executive, Lansing was the first woman in the film industry to oversee all aspects of a studio’s motion picture production. Among other blockbusters helmed under Lansing’s management are “The First Wives Club,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Truman Show,” “Mission: Impossible,” “What Women Want,” “The Italian Job,” “The School of Rock,” “Mean Girls,” and “The Hours.”
Prior to becoming Chairman of the Motion Picture Group, Ms. Lansing headed her own production company, Lansing Productions, which produced Paramount Pictures’ “Indecent Proposal”. Before that, during her partnership with Stanley Jaffe, formed in 1983, Jaffe/Lansing Productions produced a variety of films for Paramount, among them, “The Accused”, ”Black Rain,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Racing With the Moon” and “School Ties.” From 1980 to 1983, Ms. Lansing served as President of Production at 20th Century Fox. She was the first woman to hold that position in the motion picture industry. Prior to joining Fox, Ms. Lansing served as Senior Vice President at Columbia Pictures.
Her distinguished career has earned her numerous honors, including an Oscar for her humanitarian work in support of fighting cancer and for the extensive list of charitable organizations for whom she has served. They include the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, the Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America, the Overcoming Obstacles Achievement Award for Business, the YWCA Silver Achievement Award, the Outstanding Woman in Business Award from the Women’s Equity Action League, the Distinguished Community Service Award from Brandeis University, the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Memorial Award and an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the American Film Institute. She was also the recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Distinguished Service Award for the Performing Arts and was named the 1996 Pioneer of the Year by the Foundation of the Motion Picture Pioneers. In 2004, Lansing received the Horatio Alger Humanitarian Award.
In December 2004, Lansing was appointed to the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The CIRM was established by California’s groundbreaking ballot measure, Proposition 71, which provides for $3 billion in funding for embryonic stem cell research. Lansing serves as the patient advocate for Cancer, as well as the chair of the Governance Committee and co-chair of the Scientific and Medical Accountability Standards Working Group.
Lansing serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Friends of Cancer Research and as a Trustee of the American Association for Cancer Research. She continues to lend her energy and talents to such advisory boards and committees as the American Red Cross Board of Governors, Big Sisters of Los Angeles Future Fund, Teach for America, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the board of trustees for the Carter Center and Stop Cancer, a non-profit philanthropic group she founded in partnership with Dr. Armand Hammer. She is a Regent of the University of California and serves as chair of the University Health Services Committee. Ms. Lansing also makes frequent trips to Africa as part of the Measles Initiative. Lansing graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Northwestern University in 1966.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Sherry Lansing has said she never thought of herself as a trailblazer but that is exactly what she is. In 1980, she became the first woman ever to run a movie studio when she was hired by 20th Century Fox as president of production. She was then an extremely successful producer before taking the reins as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. In this conversation, go behind the scenes of Lansing’s epic journey. You’ll learn about this dynamic, driven woman who overcame unimaginable odds, pushed boundaries and left Hollywood at the peak of her power to achieve the life she wanted.
A Successful Second Act
The late Fred Rogers once said, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Former movie executive and film producer Sherry Lansing has proven this to be true every day. Since her retirement from the movie industry in 2005, she has built a new career as a successful philanthropist, activist and fundraiser for multiple organizations, including her own foundation. In this conversation, Lansing shares her own journey, which has given her meaning and purpose and has led to the happiest time of her life.
The Journey to Eradicating Cancer
At just 40 years old, former movie executive, producer and philanthropist Sherry Lansing lost her mother to ovarian cancer. She was heartbroken. Her mom was her role model and best friend. When she died, Lansing realized the only way she could honor her was to raise funds for cancer research and awareness, so others don’t have to suffer as her mom did. In 2005, she made good on that promise by founding the Sherry Lansing Foundation, which is dedicated to funding and raising awareness for cancer research, health, public education and encore career opportunities. In this conversation, Lansing shares her insights on the importance of cancer screenings, education and health equity. She’s ready to answer questions how we can someday eradicate cancer and how everyone can help.
The Story of Stand Up to Cancer
When the media unifies around a cause, it has an incredibly powerful voice. And that’s exactly what happened when Sherry Lansing came together with eight other influential women in the entertainment industry who had all been affected by cancer. Together, they created Stand Up to Cancer, an initiative that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars since 2008. The organization changed the way cancer research is done and works relentlessly to offer the newest, most effective, and most promising cancer treatments to patients quickly by bringing together the best minds to collaborate, innovate and share cancer research. In this inspiring conversation, learn the story of Stand Up to Cancer and how it has accomplished so much. And the very real lesson that when we stand together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.
The Solution to the STEM Crisis
As a movie executive and producer, Sherry Lansing was known for getting things done. So when she learned of the massive shortage of STEM teachers in California, this former high school math teacher came up with a solution. In 2007, she founded the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program. The organization recruits and transitions experienced STEM professionals into second careers as math and science teachers. “They can both lead and revolutionize our most underserved school districts,” she says. “Who better to teach and inspire our next generation of engineers and innovators than STEM professionals who have invaluable insight and real-life STEM experience?” The program has been incredibly successful and is an example for school districts across the country. In this conversation, Lansing shares the story of EnCorps and answers questions from educators on how they can do the same.
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“Sherry was great . . . So genuine, so real, such a great speaker. We had a packed house – close to 1,000 women. Our most successful breakfast ever…”
- | Tammy Klinger, United Way Miami