In my line of work, I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to met and interview a lot of people who have me completely and utterly awestruck. Oftentimes, you (my readers), see these people as Academy Award winning actors, blockbuster movie superstars, top notch entertainers and the like. However, I can honestly tell you that some of my most life changing and groundbreaking interviews come from stories of individuals who, through both their careers and personal lives, are able to make the greatest impacts on their societies, families, communities and the entire world around them. Victoria Alonso – Marvel Studios’ EVP of Physical Production & Avengers: Infinity War Executive Producer – is one of those people. Here’s why…
We met Ms. Alonso on the morning after the incredible premiere of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. As I shared with you all, it was a star-studded thrill of an event in every sense. The film was 10 years in the making and the premiere was a groundbreaking tribute to 10 years of Marvel magic and a breathtaking collage of the stories and characters that have been a part of lives and homes for all of these years. It was also a really long night, might I add. Ms. Alonso, of course, took part in celebrating this moment that she has been critical in bringing to life. Only, after this great and magical evening, she found herself up early in the morning to take her daughter to school and head straight to work – just business as usual as she might say. Still, despite the obvious and relatable fatigue, she managed to give us one of the most candid, honest and energizing interviews any mom could ask for!
Who is Victoria Alonso?
If you’re not familiar with the name, you should be! Victoria Alonso is one of the three founding members at Marvel Studios and one of the the masterminds behind an ongoing total of 18 beloved Marvel films (of 23 in the works). She’s involved with every aspect of production – from hiring the directors and writers, to costume selection, to post production, to CG creation, to everything we experience as part of a Marvel film and premiere!
“Mommy, You’re A Change-Maker.”
Among all of her very impressive titles, Victoria Alonso is also the mother of an almost 8 year old girl. As a mom of girls myself, I understand wholeheartedly the tremendous impact we have on our daughters through what they see and experience through us. Ms. Alonso has been responsible for bringing these strong female leads such as the upcoming Captain Marvel and ethnically uplifting casts such as Black Panther to the forefront. And she does not take lightly the fact that this change means so much for the next generation. She shared how when the movie Black Panther came out a few months ago, even without seeing the film, her daughter (much like other little girls and boys in America) could understand what the film meant to her, not only as a Producer on the film, but as a woman and mother.
Ms. Alonso shared with us how, following career day at school, her daughter began reciting, “My mommy’s a change-maker.” And while each and every one of us in the room were in full agreement with that statement, she very poignantly set the record straight:
“I’m a working mother. That’s all. That’s my title. That’s what I do. I try to create a balance between home, life, marriage, friends, career. So, if that’s a change-maker, so be it, but that doesn’t make me any different than any of you. ”
Sitting at the Big Boy Table
As you could probably have guessed, Victoria Alonso is a big fish in a sea dominated my men. I know first-hand how difficult it can be to sit at and thrive at that big boy table, both as a woman and especially as a mother. She explained to us how fortunate she is to work within a group that has always understood and accepted her role and responsibilities as a mother. In fact, it was in the middle of the first Comic Con event for her career when she got the call from her daughter’s birth mom that she was going to become a mom. Without hesitation, she took off, got her baby girl, and brought her back to work with her a week later. (She joked about the fact that her daughter became the one with all of the Marvel secrets, and it’s probably true!) Not only did she do this, however, but she encouraged others to do the same. I don’t know…this sounds a lot like a change-maker to me.
In regards to how women can find their seats at the “Big Boy Table” in Corporate America, Victoria Alonso tells us this:
“When you go to that table, you sit at that table! Not on the side. Not behind. You sit at the table. And own it. That’s it. I own it every time I wanna sit at that table. I don’t make an apology for being there. If I’m at the table, that means somebody decided I should be here. So, I am here.”
“A Day to Day Hurdle”
You see, the biggest mistake so many of us make is to settle upon the idea that as women, and most importantly, as mothers, we can’t have any bit of semblance to “it all.” I, myself have been guilty of accepting that defeat. Years ago, I was on the fast track in my corporate career – senior level executive and only woman on my team, desperately trying to balance making major decisions for my company and team, all while obsessing over what to feed my family for dinner or better yet, if I’d even make it home by dinner time. On an ambitious day, I’d think maybe I can be a wife to my husband too… I remember feeling like an utter failure every single day and it all took such a toll on me that, as you all know, I ultimately made the decision to quit my job. Fast forward to nearly 3 years later, my blog and businesses have become bigger than I could have imagined and work, travel schedules, etc. still demand that I find -or rather, create – that balance every working mother finds to be one of our greatest challenges; or as Ms. Alonso would say, not a challenge, but a “day to day hurdle.” As she explained,
So whether it means traveling on a red-eye flight to return home in time for a kid’s birthday party, missing sleep or forfeiting going to party or two, she explains, it’s what needs to be done sometimes. Just another hurdle to jump over.
“If you can see it, you can be it.”
This was actually a tagline Victoria Alonso shared that belonged to the Gina Davis Foundation, but was very fitting to our conversation. With all this talk about being a working mom, change-maker, and downright superhero, we asked her for some of her words of advice for other young women who’d also hope to make this sort of contribution to the world someday and more so, what can we as “working moms” ourselves instill these important messages in our children.
“I don’t know that I know exactly how to instill that in a child. But I can tell you this. Expose them to stories that you in your true, true self believe that will inspire you, and it will inspire them. Show them all kinds of art. Show them all kinds of music. Show them the differences of this world, because I look at the room and I see you’re all very different women. And you’re all moms.
In your own right, you’re doing something for these children. Just show them. Show them that the world is better a world together, but we’re different. And the one thing that unites us really is the love-for our family, for our partners, for our children, for our country, for whatever. Whatever is the love that you feel. It doesn’t divide us. Is the love of country, the love of people, the love of kingdom… And know you can.
The strength is being who you are. Hands-down. That’s what makes you different. That’s what you bring to the table.”
We truly appreciated Ms. Victoria Alonso for taking time to let us in to her amazing world and inspiring us all in so many ways. Call her a change-maker, working-mom, wife, or Big Time Marvel Executive, Victoria Alonso is as much of a superhero as the ones she has brought us on the big screen!