Ava DuVernay, director and screenwriter
“Oprah Winfrey gave me some really great advice. I was having a problem with something and I had said something like ‘Why is this happening to me? Why me?’ And she said, ‘This is not happening to you, this is happening for you.' And it really changed the way I think about every single thing: In traffic, trying to get to the meeting ‘Why is there traffic on the way? Well, it’s not happening to me, it’s happening for me, because you need to slow down and you need to take a minute to prepare for where you’re going to go,' to big things that happen in my life: relationships, work… Your life is unfolding in the way that it is supposed to be going and it’s all working for your good, even when it feels like a setback. It’s a major shift and that’s what I’d like to share with young women ad they’re going about their career path or starting out. There is a flow to this that is beyond what you can control, so if you focus on your work and what feels good to your heart it will unfold in the way that it should."
Ava is the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance (Middle of Nowhere). She is also the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for best director (Selma), an Academy Award for Best Picture (Selma), and an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (13th).