Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain is using her skills making connections to address the important issues that shape our lives. Not contented just to make movies, Tiffany chooses subjects to enlighten audiences about the truth that contradicts commonly held beliefs in our society, then constructs world-wide events to connect people, get them talking, and take action on a massive scale. In her documentary, “50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present & Future of Women + Power,” Tiffany set out to change the way we think about women leaders when she discovered that 50 countries in the world were being led by women presidents and prime ministers. She changed the story from one of scarcity, illustrating the need to claw our way to the top, to one of abundance, seizing on the strength and momentum we already have to get to a more balanced world. She then founded 50/50 Day, a global initiative to reach gender parity that had 36,334 live events in 68 countries and 700,000 live-streaming attendees in 2017.
Tiffany connects the dots, the media and the ideas about the issues that shape our world in a way that truly forges new directions. She founded the Webby Awards while in her 20’s to recognize excellence on the internet and sold it 10 years later. Then she founded her film studio in San Francisco, Let It Ripple to connect films with the power of the web to make social change, and has now presented four films at Sundance. With over 80 awards to her credit, Tiffany was honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century.” And also noteworthy is her inclusion as one of the 100 visionaries continuing Einstein’s legacy in the upcoming book, Genius: 100 Visions of the Future.
Everything Is Connected
Tiffany mentioned a feature documentary she made in 2011, called “Connected,” in which she examined how we live with all of these connections today and proclaimed that instead of declaring our independence, maybe we need to proclaim our interdependence. Every one of us affects the other in so many ways that she has come to focus her work, film, discussions, events, and even her new book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, about the importance of connectivity.
In 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, Tiffany tells how disconnecting from screens for 24 hours actually helps us get reconnected, with ourselves, what we really care about and with each other in more authentic ways. For over 10 years Tiffany and her family have practiced what they call a “Technology Shabbat” designating every Friday night through Saturday night as the day to reconnect by disconnecting from all technology. They all report how it puts them in charge of their technology, rather than the other way around, and brings balance into their lives. Tiffany says that she laughs more with the screens off and actually appreciates the internet more after being away from it a day.
Character Day is another global initiative connecting, movies, issues and people. Now in its sixth year, Character Day took place on Sept 27 and 28, 2019. You can view some of the short films about character (who we are in the world) , the importance of character, how it has developed through the centuries and shapes the things that we do as a society and individuals that connect humanity.
Connecting People—On Mentors and Mentoring
Tiffany said, “Everyone knows something that someone else doesn’t.” She used the example of her daughter’s elementary school where the 5th graders mentor kindergarten children. Her own mentors have come to her throughout her life: her mother, who is still living; her father, who was an author, a strong feminist and wrote about the goddess and rebalancing society; her film professor at UC Berkeley; the CEO of the male-lead publishing company she worked for while she was running the Webby Awards; women funders of her current projects, and many more. Tiffany regrets the current dynamics that make men cautious about mentoring young women. While she welcomes the current momentum to change, she urges balance and finding a way we can connect and help one another.
Listen to this interview for more life and society-changing ideas, details about Tiffany’s personal story and what inspired her to take her particular path. Then check out her website, watch some of her films and sign up for her newsletter, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” to stay connected and join in the Tech Shabbat Challenge (going on now!). Buy her book and learn how you can magically take control of your tech, your time, and reconnect by disconnecting just one day a week.