Nov 30, 2020
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Beating the odds: a profile of Penny Watier

By Lowell Schrieder
TO411 Daily

A recent study by WIFT (Women In Film and Television) saw that while women have made tremendous advances in most areas of film and television, they are still significantly underrepresented in senior management, creative and technical jobs. Penny Watier is one of the women bending the curve, having rapidly risen through the male-dominated ranks of the production services sector to help carve open yet another glass ceiling.

Following a stint in Africa as a special ed. teacher, Watier came back to her native Canada in 1989 as a single mother looking for work. She answered an ad for Arri Canada and, according to her, “the rest was history!”

“I was first hired to do inside sales, where I focused my attention on lighting and audio,” said Watier. “After a few years, I was promoted to Lighting Sales Manager because I spoke French and was a quick study due to my flare and curiosity for all things technical.”

Watier left Arri after six years and began working for Strand Lighting, where she was hired as National Sales Manager.

“They put me in charge of all of their dealers across Canada,” she said. “It wasn’t my favourite end of the business, but I learned a lot there, gaining even more opportunity to hone my combined technical and management skills… so I continued that, eventually becoming one of their top sales people worldwide for film and television lighting.”

After three successful years at Strand, Watier went back to work for Arri, which had changed from a Canadian company to a daughter company of Germany. “They asked me to come back in the position of National Sales for camera and lighting,” she said. “With the Arri 16 SR3 coming out at the time, along with the 435, the company really began to grow. From the time I started, we increased sales from about $1 million to $17 million in 4 years.”

Around the year 2000, Watier went over to William F. White International to run their sales department, which got her back to representing many lines like Chimera, Arri, Strand, Mathews, LTM and also ETC dimming and control. “I left Whites in 2005 and have been at PS Production Services ever since, first running their camera department and then the entire sales department,” she said. “Now I’m back on the camera end, as General Manager of PS Camera, leading PS’ RED product launch and their introduction of digital cameras into the marketplace.”

Among Penny’s mentors was the late Gerd Kurtz, from Precision Camera. “Gerd was a huge supporter of my career, along with a woman named Donna Appleton of Strand, who was one of the only women in that area of the business,” she said. “I would go to CSC meetings or CICA meetings and would often be one of the only females in the room. Not surprisingly, this was also the case for me at Arri, where I was the only female manager. It actually took them quite a while to hire me because I was a woman, which was a bit difficult at the time.”

Throughout her 20-year career in production equipment services, Penny Watier has quickly risen through the ranks, becoming one of Canada’s most respected industry sales managers. Well-known for her in-depth technical knowledge and immense flare for customer service, Watier is well regarded for her thorough professionalism.

“At first, it seemed hard for men to even talk to me about technical matters, as they probably thought that I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions because I was woman,” she said. “Now I have men calling me all the time about the technical stuff.”

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Headline, Industry News

Beating the odds: a profile of Penny Watier

By Lowell Schrieder
TO411 Daily

A recent study by WIFT (Women In Film and Television) saw that while women have made tremendous advances in most areas of film and television, they are still significantly underrepresented in senior management, creative and technical jobs. Penny Watier is one of the women bending the curve, having rapidly risen through the male-dominated ranks of the production services sector to help carve open yet another glass ceiling.

Following a stint in Africa as a special ed. teacher, Watier came back to her native Canada in 1989 as a single mother looking for work. She answered an ad for Arri Canada and, according to her, “the rest was history!”

“I was first hired to do inside sales, where I focused my attention on lighting and audio,” said Watier. “After a few years, I was promoted to Lighting Sales Manager because I spoke French and was a quick study due to my flare and curiosity for all things technical.”

Watier left Arri after six years and began working for Strand Lighting, where she was hired as National Sales Manager.

“They put me in charge of all of their dealers across Canada,” she said. “It wasn’t my favourite end of the business, but I learned a lot there, gaining even more opportunity to hone my combined technical and management skills… so I continued that, eventually becoming one of their top sales people worldwide for film and television lighting.”

After three successful years at Strand, Watier went back to work for Arri, which had changed from a Canadian company to a daughter company of Germany. “They asked me to come back in the position of National Sales for camera and lighting,” she said. “With the Arri 16 SR3 coming out at the time, along with the 435, the company really began to grow. From the time I started, we increased sales from about $1 million to $17 million in 4 years.”

Around the year 2000, Watier went over to William F. White International to run their sales department, which got her back to representing many lines like Chimera, Arri, Strand, Mathews, LTM and also ETC dimming and control. “I left Whites in 2005 and have been at PS Production Services ever since, first running their camera department and then the entire sales department,” she said. “Now I’m back on the camera end, as General Manager of PS Camera, leading PS’ RED product launch and their introduction of digital cameras into the marketplace.”

Among Penny’s mentors was the late Gerd Kurtz, from Precision Camera. “Gerd was a huge supporter of my career, along with a woman named Donna Appleton of Strand, who was one of the only women in that area of the business,” she said. “I would go to CSC meetings or CICA meetings and would often be one of the only females in the room. Not surprisingly, this was also the case for me at Arri, where I was the only female manager. It actually took them quite a while to hire me because I was a woman, which was a bit difficult at the time.”

Throughout her 20-year career in production equipment services, Penny Watier has quickly risen through the ranks, becoming one of Canada’s most respected industry sales managers. Well-known for her in-depth technical knowledge and immense flare for customer service, Watier is well regarded for her thorough professionalism.

“At first, it seemed hard for men to even talk to me about technical matters, as they probably thought that I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions because I was woman,” she said. “Now I have men calling me all the time about the technical stuff.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Beating the odds: a profile of Penny Watier

By Lowell Schrieder
TO411 Daily

A recent study by WIFT (Women In Film and Television) saw that while women have made tremendous advances in most areas of film and television, they are still significantly underrepresented in senior management, creative and technical jobs. Penny Watier is one of the women bending the curve, having rapidly risen through the male-dominated ranks of the production services sector to help carve open yet another glass ceiling.

Following a stint in Africa as a special ed. teacher, Watier came back to her native Canada in 1989 as a single mother looking for work. She answered an ad for Arri Canada and, according to her, “the rest was history!”

“I was first hired to do inside sales, where I focused my attention on lighting and audio,” said Watier. “After a few years, I was promoted to Lighting Sales Manager because I spoke French and was a quick study due to my flare and curiosity for all things technical.”

Watier left Arri after six years and began working for Strand Lighting, where she was hired as National Sales Manager.

“They put me in charge of all of their dealers across Canada,” she said. “It wasn’t my favourite end of the business, but I learned a lot there, gaining even more opportunity to hone my combined technical and management skills… so I continued that, eventually becoming one of their top sales people worldwide for film and television lighting.”

After three successful years at Strand, Watier went back to work for Arri, which had changed from a Canadian company to a daughter company of Germany. “They asked me to come back in the position of National Sales for camera and lighting,” she said. “With the Arri 16 SR3 coming out at the time, along with the 435, the company really began to grow. From the time I started, we increased sales from about $1 million to $17 million in 4 years.”

Around the year 2000, Watier went over to William F. White International to run their sales department, which got her back to representing many lines like Chimera, Arri, Strand, Mathews, LTM and also ETC dimming and control. “I left Whites in 2005 and have been at PS Production Services ever since, first running their camera department and then the entire sales department,” she said. “Now I’m back on the camera end, as General Manager of PS Camera, leading PS’ RED product launch and their introduction of digital cameras into the marketplace.”

Among Penny’s mentors was the late Gerd Kurtz, from Precision Camera. “Gerd was a huge supporter of my career, along with a woman named Donna Appleton of Strand, who was one of the only women in that area of the business,” she said. “I would go to CSC meetings or CICA meetings and would often be one of the only females in the room. Not surprisingly, this was also the case for me at Arri, where I was the only female manager. It actually took them quite a while to hire me because I was a woman, which was a bit difficult at the time.”

Throughout her 20-year career in production equipment services, Penny Watier has quickly risen through the ranks, becoming one of Canada’s most respected industry sales managers. Well-known for her in-depth technical knowledge and immense flare for customer service, Watier is well regarded for her thorough professionalism.

“At first, it seemed hard for men to even talk to me about technical matters, as they probably thought that I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions because I was woman,” she said. “Now I have men calling me all the time about the technical stuff.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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