Barb Bialkowski makes magic happen in Hollywood as executive producer and showrunner at Den of Thieves. Established in 2007, the production company has ushered in a diverse range of live events, scripted shows, and non-scripted programs, from Taylor Swift's Netflix documentary, to Ken Jeong's Netflix comedy special, and E!'s Live From The Red Carpet. Bialkowski also personally oversees dynamic cultural events like MTV Video Music Awards and E! People’s Choice Awards.
Here she tells Refinery29 how she finds her power day-to-day in the fast-paced role.
I feel most powerful when...
“I’ve done the work. When I’m prepared and focused, I feel like nothing can stop me. There’s great power in knowing what you’re talking about, and there are no shortcuts to that.
“I work in an intense high-pressure environment — controlled chaos is my day to day. Managing that with confidence and grace makes me feel powerful.”
Power to me means...
“Having vision and inspiring others to share in that vision. Power lies in my creativity, my passion, my knowledge, and the trust I have earned from others. Power is bringing out the best in my rockstar team because we rise and fall together.“
What do you do when you feel powerless?
“I sit in that frustration for a moment…or two. I try to pinpoint what is making me feel like my voice isn’t being heard. Regardless of what it is, it’s a distraction. There are so many things outside of myself that I cannot control. So I keep moving forward. I ground myself, put my head back in the game, and get to work.”
What's your power anthem?
“I’m having a vision of Matthew McConaughey pounding his chest in “The Wolf Of Wall Street.” Ha!
“There are too many songs to name! I’ll say this, I’ve definitely blasted Kendrick Lamar ‘DNA,’ Robyn ‘Dancing On My Own,’ and Stevie Nicks ‘Edge Of Seventeen’ one too many times on my way to a pitch meeting.“
Who's your power icon?
“I pull a ton of inspiration and wisdom from badass women — creatives, leaders, mothers, and activists.
“But honestly, on a daily basis I look to anyone around me who works hard as hell and puts pride into their work whether they’re a junior assistant or a network executive. I am constantly inspired by people who lead their life with vision and remain humble in the process.“
What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
“It’s all about the shoe game: dope heels or good sneaks. Let’s do this!”