Editor’s Note: Five years ago we had an idea. Being a woman-owned publication, it made sense to us to celebrate women who were making a difference in the industries we cover. So, we started a “little” feature for Women’s History Month called “Reel Women.” To say it blossomed into something special would be a vast understatement. It exploded. Over the last four years, we have gotten to know leaders, mentors and visionaries from a variety of creative industries. We have learned about their ups. And how they get back up after being down. This is our 5th Annual REEL WOMEN. For the month of March, let us introduce you to some very special women like Honor Society Founder/Managing Partner Megan Kelly.
Megan Kelly is the Executive Producer and Founder of the bicoastal production company Honor Society. She brings nearly two decades of experience on both the agency and commercial production sides of the business and was an early adopter to the digital content space. While honing her skills for every facet of production with a hands-on approach, she has also earned a reputation for curating and developing creative talent.
Prior to founding Honor Society, Megan led production teams for such top industry shops as Savage, Shilo, The Sweet Shop, Public Domain and Cza, as well as launching the Live Action division at Click 3X. Kelly’s work has garnered some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, including One Show, AICP and Cannes Lions accolades.
Honor Society has produced spots for top brands including Burger King, SKYY Vodka, M&M’s, Michaels, JetBlue, Chase and Tylenol, among many others.
Let’s meet Megan!
What’s your origin story?
I’ve been in the business for over two decades on both the agency and production sides and was an early adopter for digital content. Prior to founding Honor Society, I led production teams for such top industry shops as Savage, Shilo, The Sweet Shop, Public Domain, Czar and Click 3X.
Most recently, I helped to co-found OWNED, a global coalition of female business owners devoted to championing women in all aspects of commercial production. I’m also a board member of the AICP East chapter.
How did you get into film and advertising production?
I was a Theatre major in college, and production was similar and paid the bills better.
Who were your mentors?
I was so fortunate to have worked for a number of men who were amazing teachers and mentors. Sometimes when we talk about women, we forget to mention all the men who held the door open for us and pulled us through. In a business that was so male-dominated at my point of entry, I am thankful for the men who looked for change and made it happen.
While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Raising two amazing daughters and starting my own company.
What drives you to create?
My drive is innate. I can remember being three years old and having this urge to create things. In first grade, my friends and I produced, directed and choreographed a Fame inspired dance performance in our school cafeteria for our classmates to enjoy during lunch. I have always been that person who cannot sit still and always gets overly excited about great ideas and making cool things.
What shows are doing the best job of portraying strong women on TV?
I think we’ve made a lot of progress with showing wonderfully complex female characters. Characters who show that we are more than just wives, girlfriends, etc. Creating women who have depth and complicated motivations is more interesting and more important. The Handmaid’s Tale and Ozark are two shows who have done this well, and are also shows who have used a lot of female directors.
Is there still a boys club in the filmmaking industry?
Yes, but things are changing.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled against Roe v Wade, what can women in your industry do to defend a woman’s rights?
Speak out and often. Work with brands that support women and their own employees. Make sure the women on my team have access to good healthcare and keep communication open.
What keeps you up at night?
That the progress we’ve made, as women, is temporary or will be viewed as “enough”; that society thinks we should be grateful for the rooms we have been let into, but we should not expect more.
What’s up with Beyoncé being nominated for four Best Albums of the year but never winning?
I think we all know the answer to this, but this is why we keep fighting. Keep holding the door open and pulling people through.
Nominate Someone You know For Reel Women