July 20: Wishing a very happy birthday to Merri Howard, who made a huge impact behind the scenes on Trek, as an assistant director on TNG and producer on TNG, Voyager and Enterprise.
Fun fact: Beverly Crusher’s maiden name was even established as Howard in her honour!
According to Merri Howard:
I worked on Trek for 17 years. I am very much a people person, (and tried to) bring my managerial skill set to each show to make the productions work effectively and efficiently. I went to work every day learning something new, and always went home every night trying to figure out how to make the next day better than the previous one.
There weren’t very many female producers that I had worked with before I had become a producer. So it was just a matter of teaching myself a management style of how do you keep that balance of trying to get the job done, but at the same time trying to earn the respect of the crew…It’s hard, especially as a female, because you’re really working, still, in such a male-dominated working environment. You go ahead and you do your job, and there has to be a balance of keeping that feminine quality about you and understanding the needs of the company – but yet still getting the respect from the crew to be able to, when you make a decision, that you stay with that firmly.Merri Howard, former producer and assistant director on TNG, Voyager and Enterprise, quoted in the Star Trek Communicator, 2000.