Shana C. Waterman on Dr. Deirdre Holloway Waterman

“That's what you do as a Black woman in America-- you uplift your community.”

When Essence Magazine named Dr. Deirdre Holloway Waterman one of their “Woke 100” Black women she asked her daughter what “woke” meant. After learning it meant being an activist and being aware of what’s going on in your community she replied, laughing, “Well I’ve been woke then!”. Entertainment executive and proud daughter, Shana Waterman tells the story of her trailblazing mother, Dr. Deirdre Holloway Waterman. Deirdre was the first Black female ophthalmologist in the state of Michigan, running her own surgical practice for more than 30 years before being elected the first female mayor of Pontiac, Michigan, serving two terms and being credited with revitalizing the city. Dr. Deirdre Holloway Waterman is a fantastic and inspiring example of how Black Women Lead. Take a look. Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Shana C. Waterman

Shana C. Waterman is Head of Film & Television, Royal Ties Productions, based at Netflix. Prior to that she was Head of Television of Universal-based, One Race TV where she developed The Chronicles of Riddick, a companion series based on the sci-fi, feature trilogy, and co-produced Netflix’s Fast and Furious: Spy Racers. Prior to her tenure at One Race, Waterman served as Senior Vice President, Event Series Development & Production at Fox Broadcasting Company. In this capacity, she commissioned special events and long-form series including 24: Live Another Day, Wayward Pines, Grease Live, People v. OJ: American Crime Story and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Before taking that role, Waterman was Senior Vice President of Current Programming where she oversaw several prime-time, scripted series including House, Glee, Fringe, Raising Hope, Family Guy, American Dad and The Mindy Project. Also while at Fox, Waterman produced the company’s inaugural Seizing Opportunities Forum, spurring dialogue among creative partners about shifting racial and ethnic audience demographics. In addition, she conceived and oversaw the Fox Innovators Group; an internal think tank designed to foster entrepreneurial thought and innovation among Fox employees. For her efforts, Waterman was named a 2014 NAMIC Next Generation Leader, and in 2012 she was awarded a FOX Excellence in Innovation Award for her forward-thinking efforts. Sustaining her ongoing interest in the theater and performing arts, she served as Board Chair of Cornerstone Theater Company and currently sits on the Yale School of Drama Advisory Board. Alongside her professional pursuits, she was a recent member of Angel City Chorale and a Big Brother/Big Sisters mentor. Waterman is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

Featured Woman

Dr. Deirdre Holloway Waterman

Dr. Deirdre Holloway Waterman was born in New York City and grew up in Detroit. From a young age, Waterman was surrounded by community leaders, which sparked her interest in activism. She comes from a family of firsts — her mother, musician Dorothy Byrd Holloway, was the first Black woman to serve on the board of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; her father, Dr. Horace Holloway, became one of the first black doctors on staff at Highland Park General Hospital. Waterman graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Biology and Political Science, then later received her medical degree to become the first Black female ophthalmologist in the state of Michigan. In 2014, Waterman was elected Mayor of Pontiac, becoming the first woman elected to the position. As Mayor, Waterman stabilized the City of Pontiac’s finances and with great tenacity revitalized the community she’s lived in for four decades.