THE BLOG

Women in Business: Diana Madison, Founder of Shandy Media

06/10/2014 03:35 pm ET | Updated Aug 10, 2014
  • Laura Dunn Social Media and Communications Professional, Founder and Editor of Political Style, Director of LED Media, Journalist and Author

Diana Madison is one of the founders of Shandy Media and overlooks production and marketing. She is also the supervising producer and host for the syndicated television news magazine show Hollyscoop. Diana began her career twelve years ago, producing and hosting a local TV show in Los Angeles at age 18. While pursuing an education in communication and political science at UC Santa Barbara, she interned at E! and "Entertainment Tonight." She later worked for "ET" straight out of college and helped launch the TV show "The Insider." Diana's expertise in entertainment and creativity has helped grow Shandy Media. With her strong connections in Hollywood, this insider has become a influential scenester. Following the success of her entertainment site Hollyscoop.com, Diana Madison has expanded her empire and is now host of Hollyscoop TV and The Lowdown with Diana Madison, you can see her on the Wendy Williams Show, The Talk, Showbiz Tonight and on every red carpet including the Golden Globes.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Being first generation Armenian American, my immigrant parents always taught me to pursue "The American Dream." Both my parents fled the Soviet Union in the late 70's, where they had limited opportunities to make their personal dreams come true. In America, they were able to create a life for themselves and their family that would not have been possible to create back in Armenia. My parents have always taught me that in a country like America, everything is possible as long as you work hard for it. Although my conservative Armenian parents thought my dreams to make it in Hollywood were outrageous, they were very supportive. My mother taught me to never take no as an answer and to be a leader, not a follower. My father always taught me that it's possible to make money from whatever I wanted to do, as long as I was passionate about my work. Unfortunately my father passed away three years ago, but until this day I hear his voice in my head saying, break those doors down, make it happen!

How did your previous employment experience aided your position at Hollyscoop?
When I was a student at the University of California Santa Barbara, I interned for E! Entertianment for school credit. At E! News, I got to work with the amazing Guliana Rancic. She gave me valuable advice that I use until this day. "Learn how to do everything," is what she told me. When I co-founded Hollyscoop with my two friends Ani Esmailian, Nora Gasparian and my husband Raymond Attipa seven years ago, her tip came in very handy. There were times when I was an editor, camera operator, red carpet interviewer, publicist and the list goes on. My partners and I would alternate roles and looking back I realize how we had no clue what we were doing. However we did it anyway to get the job done! As a boss, when you own a company, it is vital to know how every branch of your business works. If I see trash on the floor, I will clean it up and not wait for the person in charge of cleaning the floors to handle it. I take matters in my own hands at all times. I also was very fortunate to work at Entertainment Tonight and The Insider right after I graduated college. I worked alongside the Executive Producer Linda Bell Blue, Brad Bessey, Janet Annino and DJ Petroro. Working with the dream team of Entertainment news, I learned how important it was to get the story first. Time is crucial and you must beat your competitors with getting the best content that can't be found anywhere else. I wouldn't be able to do what I do today if it wasn't for my two-year tenure working for one of the best and longest running entertainment news organization in the world. No school textbook could teach you the things I learned with my working experience at ET/ The Insider.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Hollyscoop?
The biggest challenge I have had at Hollyscoop is getting brand recognition among Hollywood's power publicist, studios and celebrities. Once there is brand recognition, the next challenge is trust. Once you have built the trust among your peers in Hollywood, the next step is working together to create amazing content. Hollywood is one of the toughest industries in the world. A big lesson I have learned is to have thick skin and not take things personal. When Angelina Jolie passes up an interview with me in order to speak to CNN on the red carpet, I can't shed tears, I can not be upset...I have learned to be optimistic that she will grant me an interview on the next red carpet. It has taken me seven years to not get offended when a celebrity disses me in order to talk to my competitors, I have learned to just accept it for what it is and hope for a better tomorrow or a better interview. Highlights with Hollyscoop is when I am at a remote location around the world and people recognize Hollyscoop and the brand, this makes me realize that we are doing something right. It's also exciting when celebrities on the red carpet want to talk to me, because they know Hollyscoop and myself. And the biggest reward so far has been getting our own national syndicated half hour entertainment news show, Hollyscoop.

How has Hollyscoop changed the entertainment industry?
When my partners and I created Hollyscoop over seven years ago, we were one of the first entertainment website to have video content. We would do a daily online video talking about the news stories of the day. Today, most news websites have online content, daily news video reports. This has become mandatory for most outlets. When we started doing these videos, we were the only ones doing it. One of our daily reports actually ended up in the Joaquin Phoenix film I'm Still Here. Along with that, we were the first online outlet to cover red carpets with a video crew. Most publicists for movie premieres, big Hollywood events hadn't heard of an online video outlet. Many times publicists would tell us, how confused they were because they didn't know where to place us on the red carpet. Today, when I walk on the red carpet there are over 20-50 online video outlets. I get excited and emotional knowing that we were the ones who were at the forefront of this online revolution.

What advice would you give to women who are looking to start their own business?
My advice is to anyone out there who wants to pursue his or her dreams is to know that you can do it! Never let age, gender or your ethnicity deter you from starting your own business. The only thing that matters is having a victorious mentality. When people wouldn't hire me to do on camera reports for their TV shows, I created that avenue for myself. I wasn't thinking about creating a business and making money, I just wanted my face out there. When you have a good product, people respond to it. We are currently in an age of entrepreneurship. In my opinion, as long as you are passionate and determined then success and money will follow. I truly believe if there is a will, then there is a way. That type of spirit will get you going through hard times that many business owners frequently face in the early years. I am not going to lie, it's a lot of stress having your own business, but the positive outcomes outweigh all negative. At the end of the day, you are working for yourself! It is also important to surround yourself with a staff that has the same work values as yourself. The work culture is important to have a striving business.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
The biggest challenge I have in my life is trying to balance my work and personal life. Most times, I am so tired from my work life, that all I want to do is rest on the weekends. I felt so out of my social circle in 2013, that I made a new years resolution to make more time for my family and friends. For 2014, I decided to not spread myself too thin. Being a workaholic, it's a big challenge not to work all the time, but I am learning to take it day by day. I started meditating which is helping me rest on my downtime and gain some energy to be able to deal with my chaotic life.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
A lot of women these days are having a tough time balancing work and a family. I am one of those women. I am 31 years old and I feel like I am at the prime of my career. Yet, I feel the urge to start a family, my body wants it at this point, I can feel it. I am not ashamed to admit that I am scared to start a family in fear of losing opportunities with my work. I have worked so hard to get to the point where I am and there is no turning back. I am also terrified that if I wait too long to have a child, then I will have problems conceiving a baby. I know there are a lot of woman who are in the same position as I am. I do believe that women are multi-taskers and when the time comes for me to be a mother, I will be able to handle it well! Until then, the pressure is on!

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
My mother has been a mentor in my life. To this day she tells me when I look bad on camera and when I look good. Her opinions are honest and I value them. I know she wants the best for me. My husband Raymond Attipa is also my mentor. He pushes me to believe in myself at times when I lose all hope. I am human and I go through ups and downs and when I am down on the floor, he is there to pick me up and dust the dirt off my shoulders. In recent years, I have become close to Eyebrow Guru / Entreprenur Anastasia Soare who has created an empire off of Eyebrows. She is an inspirational woman who always gives me the best business advice. I also consider my childhood friends Ani Kitsinian, Lucy Movsessian and Lucy Egho as mentors. They are real women, with real opinions. They are not connected with the entertainment industry and it's always refreshing getting their insight and takes on situations that I get stuck in.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire woman who have overcome obstacles in their careers and opened doors for people like myself. Barbara Walters has opened doors for many woman in the world to pursue a career in journalism. She has overcome many obstacles to get to where she is and I admire that. I also admire Oprah Winfrey for being able to not just have a TV show that was on air for over 25 years, but to build an empire off of her name. As a minority, it is inspiring to know that Oprah was able to beat all odds and open the doors for girls like myself. I also admire Anna Wintour, who is a force in the fashion world. She is a powerful woman who has inspired and helped to create some of the biggest fashion houses in the world. She's the type of woman who knows what she wants and has no fear of what people think about her. I admire that quality in any woman. Someone who is not afraid to follow their vision and stick with their ideals, no matter what the critics have to say.

What are your hopes for the future of Hollyscoop and your other digital ventures?
I hope that Hollyscoop can be the destination of all things related to pop culture. I want people to be entertained by our content and also take away something each day.