We're excited to announce MyDomaine's Second Life podcast, a series spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief innovation officer at MyDomaine's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields.
Jenna Bans's resume is scarily similar to the list of TV shows we love to binge-watch. As a producer and writer on Grey's Anatomy, co–executive producer on Scandal, and creator of NBC's new crime drama, Good Girls, she's the creative force behind some of the most popular shows of this generation. But in the second episode of Second Life, Bans explains how breaking into the industry wasn't easy—it required serious hustle.
"My husband and I both arrived [in L.A.] not knowing anyone," she says. Feeling isolated in an industry built on connections, Bans eventually found a way in. "Someone I went to college with was an assistant at an agency, so that was my first job out here. It was a weird, quick education in how TV works, or at least the business side of it," she recalls. "I was assisting a lit agent and sending out his scripts, but secretly trying to get my script in the lands of these agents."
Fast-forward to 2018 and Bans is poised to launch Good Girls, a new drama she created and executive produced. While she now oversees a team of staff, Bans admits leadership hasn't come easily. "I'm constantly battling with myself and trying to be better—it's probably the biggest challenge I face day to day," she says.
Download episode two of Second Life to hear Jenna Bans talk about ditching law school to pursue screenwriting and the most valuable insights she's learned along the way. Here are a few of our favorite highlights.
On choosing a career path:
"I got into law school and deferred for four years. I was scared—I just couldn't pull the trigger on going 'this is what I want to do.' Now I look back and laugh because all that fear was so unfounded and misplaced. But coming from Minnesota and [having] practical parents, I felt like I needed a safety net."
On learning from Shonda Rhimes:
"The most important thing [I learned] is just to run your show with a sense of fearlessness. I operate from a base of fear, caution, and practicality. [Shonda taught me] to carry that sense of fearlessness into storytelling and the way I manage people. A lot of being a manager is telling people how they could do a better job, and I could not hate that more.
"I can't tell you how many times she would come into a room and tell us, 'This is going to happen.' Writers would look at her like she was crazy, but she would be so set in her convictions that we would do it, and that would be the hit that people would talk about later."
On working on Real Housewives:
"My first real 'job job' was on Desperate Housewives, which was so lucky. I think the first episode got something like 40 million views, and I thought that was normal! So you know, there's nowhere to go but down after that. It blew my mind. I was 27 years old and living the dream every single day."
Stay tuned for more. We'll be releasing new episodes of Second Life on Mondays.