EXCLUSIVE: Ashley Holland, a TV lit agent and partner at WME, is leaving the agency to join Onyx Collective, Disney’s curated content brand for creators of color and underrepresented voices. I hear her deal is still being finalized, and she will stay at WME for a few more weeks, but Holland is expected to be a senior scripted executive at Onyx.
WME President Ari Greenburg sent the a note to the agency this afternoon, announcing Holland’s career move.
“Ashley will be a superstar at Onyx, because everywhere she goes, she has tremendous impact,” he wrote. “We are sad to lose her, but we are so excited to watch her ascend at the Walt Disney Company as part of the leadership at Onyx.” (You can read his memo in full below the post.)
At Onyx, Holland will join her longtime client Prentice Penny, who has an overall deal there, and another A-list client, Ryan Coogler, who is one of the collective’s founders.
Holland had been at WME since 2017 and was named partner a couple of years later. In addition to Coogler and Penny, she represented such top-level talent as Boots Riley and Janelle Monáe and was involved in WME’s inclusion efforts.
A Stanford graduate, Holland started her career at CAA where she spent eight years, beginning as a floater and rising through the ranks to an agent. She serviced such agency clients as Ava DuVernay, Melina Matsoukas and Yara Shahidi and worked with Penny who followed her to WME. She also helped spearhead initiatives that champion diverse voices, like CAA Amplify.
Launched last May, Onyx, led by Tara Duncan, won its first Academy Award last month for Questlove’s feature doc Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised), which, like all of Onyx’s output, streams on Hulu.
Here is Greenburg’s note to WME staff:
Our partner Ashley Holland is making a career change.
Ashley joined us five years ago. She quickly made a name for herself through her dealmaking and client roster. During her time at WME, she rose quickly to Partner and helped guide our TV packaging meetings.
Aside from her day-job putting together TV series, Ashley was an integral part of our growth as a company – helping develop our next generation of leaders, and accelerating our diversity and inclusion efforts.
Now she is going to bring those skills to the Onyx Collective. At the nascent studio, Ashley will work to bring underrepresented voices to the screen. This is a huge initiative for the Walt Disney Company, and one that WME has been involved with from the start:
- Onyx made a splash with Oscar winning doc SUMMER OF SOUL, produced by 215 and Questlove,
- This is the tv-studio home of signature WME clients Ryan Coogler, Prentice Penny and Destin Cretton,
- Obsidianworks, the JV between Michael B Jordan and 160over90 is on board to help with the launch of Onyx,
- And notably, WME has repped Onyx founder Tara Duncan for years.
Ashley will be a superstar at Onyx, because everywhere she goes, she has tremendous impact. We are sad to lose her, but we are so excited to watch her ascend at the Walt Disney Company as part of the leadership at Onyx.
Ashley will be around for the next few weeks wrapping things up. Today, we are starting to inform clients and rebuild teams.
Please join me in congratulating her and wishing her all the best in her next chapter.
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