Nancy Etz is a Literary and Packaging Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Etz works in the Los Angeles office and represents many of the world’s leading writers, directors, and producers in television including Noah Hawley, Courtney Kemp and Jerry Bruckheimer Television. She has been central to the sale of several of the most impactful shows on television in the past 10 years. Find out more about Nancy in this interview.
How did you pave the entrepreneurial road for yourself? Who inspired you?
When I left college, I had a strong interest in having an adventure, so a friend and I decided to move to Paris. We made this move without knowing what we’d do, but we had to take that chance. I ended up working as an executive for many years in a ready-to-wear fashion business. That was an exceptional experience in learning how to build a business in a truly entrepreneurial way. When I decided to move back to L.A. after five years of living and working in Paris, I came back knowing I wanted to try to work in a different industry, and that is how I found myself in the entertainment business. I faced many challenges at first, but I have a self-starter entrepreneurial spirit and this drive was exactly what I needed to achieve my goals in this industry. I like to think that my experiences at the beginning of career shaped me into who I am. Nancy Jones was a role model for me at a time when there weren’t many female agents, and she was a great mentor and inspiration to me.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
I think it’s important to find mentors. People you can learn good habits from and people who can inspire you as you encounter the challenges that are a natural part of every career. I think it’s essential to work hard, be honest, figure out the things you’re good at, and work hard to do those things to the best of your ability. No one is good at everything. It is important to understand and capitalize on your strengths and present that authentic self to the world.
The wage gap in the U.S. continues to make headlines – what advice can you offer women on making sure they’re being compensated fairly?
Compensation is always an overly sensitive subject, and I think that’s especially true for women because we’re almost taught that being assertive can negatively impact us. That being said, equal pay is not only what we all desire but something we should all expect. I think it’s important to have an understanding of what your peers are getting paid. I also think there’s nothing wrong with speaking to your supervisors when you sense there is a gap between what you and a male colleague are making, especially when you have the same job. Those can be uncomfortable conversations, but they’re necessary if we want to close the wage gap. I know many younger colleagues will share information about their compensation to work against the wage gap. That can be uncomfortable, but it might be another path to consider.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Having just dropped my son off for his freshman year at college, that’s a good question. I work very hard while I’m at the office, and there are times when my job bleeds into evenings and weekends. However, I’ve always made a point to create space where I could be completely present for my family. For many years, that meant not scheduling work dinners or evening functions unless they were absolutely necessary and only if my husband was going to be home. I felt it was important that one of us was always home for our son.
What three tools (apps, books, podcasts, etc.) would you recommend to anyone trying to start her own business?
First, I recommend finding a mentor, preferably in the same field. Secondly, specifically in my field, I would suggest some websites that specialize in the news, like Variety or Deadline Hollywood. It is crucial to have a sense of how the industry works. Finally, for anyone aspiring to start their own journey in the agency business, I’d recommend the book, “How to Talk to Your Agent.” This book is a good introduction to the business.
Do you think that scholarships inspire young entrepreneurs to pursue higher education?
Higher education is particularly important to me, and I’m mindful that, for many kids, it is a financial challenge to find the resources to pay for room and board, books, and travel. Scholarships are an essential tool to help bridge the gap between what financial aid can offer a student and what a student needs to make college work.
Written by Callum Jackson