The glass ceiling has never been more apparent than in media production, which makes the success of AJ Media Services LLC even more compelling.
The Franklin, Tennessee-based, female-owned professional video production company has opened doors previously closed to women … yet there remains much work to be done.
Managing partner Alba Gonzalez-Nylander has been down this road before. She was the first female to work behind the camera in her native Venezuela.
“My country would have women in front of the camera but not behind it,” she said. “That was a male job. I was the first one to say no, it has to change. I can do the job and I don’t want to be in front of the camera. I wanted to be behind the camera.”
After arriving in the United States in 1984 she learned English at UCLA and completed her education at Columbia College in Los Angeles.
Gonzalez-Nylander’s wealth of experience includes stints at FOX Sports, CBS, Sony Studios, Univision, TNN in Nashville and more. She has more than 20 years of experience in the broadcasting industry.
“You don’t find too many females in media production,” Gonzalez-Nylander says.” I’ve been in the industry for a long time.”
Together with managing partner Jennifer Goldstein Fritz, AJ Media was created in 2010. Gonzalez-Nylander had hired Fritz to do some freelance work and the relationship blossomed into a business.
In the beginning, he women took whatever work they could get, but soon decided to streamline their focus. The first step was securing certification to work with government agencies – still a lucrative part of their business. They’ve since added corporate video and complete audio/video production services to their portfolio.
It hasn’t been easy. The difference in working for others … as opposed to working for yourself … is stark.
“The hard part is that when you’re working for corporations they take care of you, and you get paid,” Gonzalez-Nylander said. “You don’t have to worry about marketing yourself. You just prove that you can do the job … and you don’t have the pressure of having to look for projects.
“As creative as we are, and knowing the business, we are women so we have to prove we can do the job as well as any man … or a big company. We’re not a big company … we’re only two.
“We have to do a lot of the work. We have people who supplement what we need – writers, camera, makeup – but basically we do production together,” she said. “The difficult part is to be a business person, because we didn’t go to business school. That part is really challenging, trying to sell what we do, and make the sales and look for all those marketing opportunities. That’s always the biggest challenge we face, to convince people to hire us.”
After six years the company is on solid footing. The long hours and struggles are paying off.