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Ep. 4: Ellen Martin's Road to the Top in Animation

Two-time Emmy Award winner Ellen Martin is co-creator of the Nickelodeon series ‘Blaze and the Monster Machines’, which airs 3 times a day and reaches 20 million people worldwide. Ellen worked her way up in the animation industry, starting as a receptionist and moving through finance, merchandising and production to her current role as show co-creator.

Advice for women:

  • To reach your full career potential: 
    •  Seek out and consult older people, both men and women, to learn from their experience and to get perspective, and;
    •  Identify who can be an advocate for you in the workplace, who will remember you and make your presence known.
  • If you’re feeling Impostor Syndrome, just keep going. The skills and experience come with time.
  • To her younger self: you will feel confident when you get here; be reassured.
  • Convey confidence even if you’re not feeling it.
  • Always meet business contacts in person, even if it means going to them.

Key Notes:

  • Each episode of Blaze and The Monster Machines is based on the STEM curriculum and contains an element or game for each STEM topic.
  • Before animation, Ellen started her working life in a legal office and noted a significant difference between the two industries in how women were perceived.
  • Animation has a high number of female executives and decision makers compared to many other industries.
  • Ellen benefitted from this empowering workplace by having many role models and mentors when struggling with Imposter Syndrome.
  • Imposter Syndrome is common among men and women, but anecdotally it appears to affect more women.
  • Ellen describes working in animation as like being the captain of a cruise ship; everything moves very slowly, but it’s huge and has a lot of passengers and you’ve got to get them from one place to another while making them all feel like they’re having the time of their lives!
  • As for systemic changes that would make the working world more conducive to women's success, Ellen would implement more accessible child care and structured paternity leave.