Exceptional Leader – Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author best known for her hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and recently the most acclaimed Netflix series, Bridgerton. The excellence of these series speaks of Rhimes’s brilliancy as a TV producer.
Rhimes’s ability to create strong female leads is quite impressive. Rhimes was the first woman to create three hit television series with over 100 episodes which many attribute to her expertise with creating three-dimensional female characters. One of my favorite quotes from Rhimes is this, “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”
I love this quote because it speaks to how women’s success is often downgraded and how women are not given enough credit for their hard work. Studies show that often when women engage in self-promoting behaviors, they are perceived as more dominant and arrogant than men displaying the same behavior. Rhimes owns her success and has been sometimes stereotyped as an “angry black woman” — a trope in American society that portrays African American women as sassy, ill-mannered, and ill-tempered by nature. Former first lady Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, and Serena Williams are some of the many famous and successful black women who have suffered from this negative stereotype.
Rhimes’s work has garnered much recognition and awards for her tackling of important issues in terms of race and sexuality. Michelle Obama describes Rhimes as “a force like no other”, a very fitting description I’ll say. Rhimes has an estimated net worth of $135 million with her own production company Shondaland, making her one of the richest Showrunners in Hollywood. She was recently featured in Forbes 50 OVER 50.
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