Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2021 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready, they are making “Herstory.”
A native of Chicago, Elizabeth Krajewski joined Cutters Studios as Executive Producer of Cutters New York in 2013. Since then, through her leadership, the studio has grown its talent roster and secured starring roles in major campaigns for Getty Images, Mazda, the Emmy-nominated Savage X Fenty Show and many others.
Her creative partnership with the United Nations including UN Women’s #HeForShe movement has also been tremendously impactful. For example, in 2020, Elizabeth led her colleagues in collaborating with The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Ocean Agency, and creativity partner Adobe to launch the Ocean League campaign showcasing the power of creativity in driving positive change for ocean protection and climate action.
In the world of narrative film, Elizabeth executive produced Writer/Director Kenrick Prince’s award-winning short Gema, and the critically acclaimed indie feature before/during/after written by and starring Finnerty Steeves.
What’s your origin story?
Chicago area native, I always wanted to be a marine biologist. I worked at the Shedd Aquarium for a year after high school in the education department, teaching school groups about marine life, and handling the touch tank husbandry in the education labs. My favorite animal I took care of was an epaulette shark.
How did you get into the commercial production industry?
By accident! I had moved to Stamford, Connecticut, and responded to a job posting on Mandy.com (does that job site exist anymore) for a receptionist position with commercial directors’ reps. My next three jobs, I didn’t get the job at first but then was called in as second choice when the first one didn’t work out. I make a great second impression 🙂
Who were your mentors?
I am incredibly impressed and inspired by my sister Lauri Niedermaier, who works in advertising. She has had an amazing career and continues to hit seemingly unattainable goals for her current company. She’s one of those people that thinks she’s lucking out and doesn’t get her success.
I want to grab her and put her in front of the mirror and tell her that person in the reflection is the one doing it. She’s a constant reminder to me of everything that it is possible.
While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
I’m looking at the others that I hope to be having in the next few years, but that said, I am proud of the overlap I have found in cause related work and advertising – using our talents and resources to help create content about gender equality and climate change.
How about your biggest disappointment?
Not working on the Will Ferrell Super Bowl ad this year.
If being a woman is your superpower, how has it helped you?
Hmmm, not sure being a woman is a superpower. Being human, listening, understanding, asking questions, embracing differences, celebrating all walks of life, honoring and applauding others’ successes, raising people up, leaving room for growth, not being right all the time, knowing how to apologize, kindness, constantly educating myself, mentoring and passing knowledge on.
Is it naive for me to wish that it wasn’t a woman superpower but an Elizabeth Krajewski superpower – being the best Elizabeth I can be for myself and others?
What’s your Kryptonite?
What can the industry do better to promote true inclusion?
Stop putting out statements of change to come and just change it. Take the leap of faith especially with talent that has not been given the opportunities. They have that one beautiful piece on their reel?
Trust it and hire them. And get out of your bubble – find ways to meet more people and create opportunities for people beyond your network. It’s being willing to put in the work. We have to do it and we have to do it really well.
If you’re Batwoman, who’s Robin?
Definitely my daughter. Although I‘d be the Robin to her Batwoman.
What’s the engine that pulls you?
What does Women’s History Month mean to You?
It’s definitely a time to stop and reflect on all the women before me and all the women to come. For as far as we have come, we have a long way to go. I am hopeful this past year has taught us a few things.