CompanyIndustryInsights

Kylee Ratz: Post Production Pillar

16th March 2018
Kylee Ratz

At Adstream, we are continuing to celebrate women.
This week, we spoke to Kylee Ratz, General Manager at Cutting Edge, a leading post-production and VFX house for advertising and film. While Kylee started her career in fashion, she found her home in post-production.

Her career started with a “gal Friday” position. It was one of those entry level positions where you are expected to be on call but have the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up. Looking back, she recognizes the value of working side by side with the founders. Among them, Company Director and owner, Ray Smith, was a particularly valuable mentor.

The business was growing fast and Ray Smith needed to offset his workload. Kylee understood his business needs, and his working style that included a preference for authentic communication. She also had the capability to carry out the workload independently. Her biggest asset, however, was her strong work ethic. She gained respect from the entire team and after working her way up in various roles and was eventually promoted to studio manager. She had handled client relationships, hiring, and all other responsibilities required to make the studio run and as she said, she “couldn’t have done it without the financial department and the operations manager.”

What makes Kylee a unique asset for her team is her leadership through mutual trust and authenticity. In selecting new hires, she is looking for those same qualities. She sets out to find new hires who are open-minded and eager to learn. Under Kylee’s direction, her team has the freedom to learn from others and build their technical and artistic skills. She confirms that once interns join Cutting Edge and demonstrates an understanding of these values, they are welcome to come back and work for the company after their internship. Kylee is proud of the company’s values around inclusion and retention as it shows consistency and it is a promise of sustainable growth for the business.

One of the remaining challenges that faces Kylee is adapting the post-production working culture to women who want to balance a professional life and a personal life. In post-production, working hours and schedules can be tight and very demanding. Additionally, the time frame needed for young professionals to gain an expertise takes time. When women reach the expert level, it seems to correlate with a time in their lives when other things such as starting a family become a priority. Despite all these constraints, Kylee is hopeful. As technology and workflows continue to advance, new flexibilities may be found to give working mums (and dads) new options.

Production tools have changed and so has the ratio of men to women working in this sector – especially at Cutting Edge where women represent an unprecedented 51% of the staff. Kylee appreciates the empathy that women bring into the workplace it is beneficial for day-to-day interactions internally with co-workers and externally with Cutting Edge’s amazing clients.

For Kylee the two key components of success are mentoring and communication. She makes herself available to all her employees, mentoring them as she herself was mentored. She believes that communication is about managing the message and provides coaching to her teams on how they deliver and receive messages.

Kylee has found a home at Cutting Edge. Based on her experience, she encourages women: “do what you love. Even a dream job is a not a dream every day.”

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