Who: Joan Webb-Ewen
Company: L.A. Studios Inc.
Has held title for: 1 year
Previous title: Director of sales and marketing and queen of schmooze
Degree: BS in communications, University of Southern Mississippi
In Hollywood — realm of the stars — achieving royal status is less about who you are than about whom you work with. L.A. Studios, founded in 1980, is the world's largest postproduction audio facility, and it works with some of the biggest names in business — from film studios like DreamWorks to big companies like Nike, McDonald's, and Cadillac. Joan Webb-Ewen's job is to keep clients coming through the door.
Persuade us that you're good.
I believe in what I sell, and I'm never at a loss for words. I'm a real person in a fantasy industry. My job isn't just about making the sale; it's about listening to clients and understanding their goals.
Where did you learn the fine art of persuasion?
I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, in a town of fewer than 400 people. Everyone knew you, and you didn't want to seem "different." But people are different. I learned that even if you can't make people like you, at least you can try to see things from their point of view.
Are you easily persuaded?
Not at all. Last year, I had 18 job offers, but I'm staying with my team at L.A. Studios. I even turned down a job at a company that tried to persuade me with a Jaguar.
A version of this article appeared in the October 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.