'Go for It—at Every Level': Career Advice From the CEO of DreamWorks

Stacey Snider describes how she worked her way up from the mailroom (literally) to become a top Hollywood executive. 

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"One day I was asked to pick up $50,000 worth of gold chains for Mr. T," Stacey Snider smiles, remembering her early days in an entry-level job at a Hollywood agency. "For real!" She had already earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA Law School but realized that, to break into the entertainment business, she'd have to start at the bottom.

Passionate about stories and the "exponential" impact of cinema, she quickly rose through the ranks to become a development executive and eventually served as president of TriStar Pictures and then chairman of Universal Pictures. Credited for Universal's comeback during her tenure, she went on to join DreamWorks Studios in 2006, where she is co-chairman, CEO, and partner alongside Steven Spielberg. In the course of her career, she has overseen dozens of films including Lincoln, Brokeback Mountain, Transformers, Lost in Translation, The Help, A Beautiful Mind, the Bourne series, Seabiscuit, Erin Brockovich, and more.

"I have always felt that my career was not going to be a straight shot up, but more of a kind of rolling wave, so that I could raise my children," she reflects in this interview from Atlantic Video's series Advice to a Younger Me. "So I got pregnant when I was the head of production at a studio, and I became chairperson at a bigger studio when I was pregnant with my second daughter. You just do it!"

Snider's perspective is warm, funny, and inspiring. "You can't do everything, at the same time, always, and forever," she explains, "but if you look at your life and your career as a long, winding river, you can get to your destination." 

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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