How Did I Get Here?

Keri Putnam

Executive director, Sundance Institute
  • Education
  • Princeton Day School, Princeton, N.J., class of 1983
  • Harvard, class of 1987
  • Work Experience
  • 1986
    Williamstown Theatre Festival, summer apprentice
  • 1987–90
    Assistant, assistant manager, manager, HBO
  • 1990–92
    Freelance TV and film producer
  • 1992–2002
    Vice president, senior VP for original programming, HBO Films
  • 2002–06
    Executive VP, HBO Films
  • 2006–09
    President of production, Miramax Films
  • 2010–Present
    Executive director, Sundance Institute
  • Life Lessons
  • “Find something you are uncomfortable with and practice it.”
  • “Mentoring younger colleagues builds a wonderful network.”
  • “Even a job that seems far from your career goals can expose you to ideas you will carry with you.”
  • “I fell in love with theater early, maybe even in middle school. I was a lead in Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth—a very, very poor lead, but game!”
  • “The apprentice program is for aspiring actors, but I ended up in the literary office. It opened up a whole new world.”
  • With Hillary Clinton and Cher at an HBO event, 1996
  • “I lived in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was cool. It was really exciting to be in the creative community in New York at that time.”
  • In 2009, Miramax is shut down by its parent company, Walt Disney
  • With son Eli, 2004
    “There were probably jobs available to me that would have offered more money and more power. But for me, it was important to step back and figure out what I enjoyed and cared about.”
  • During high school, 1983
    “Harvard didn’t have a theater major, so I designed one.”
  • “I came to HBO at a time when, if you were an eager learner, you could grow with the company.”
  • “In the early 2000s, with The Sopranos and Sex and the City being launched, you could see the growth area at the network wasn’t going to be movies.”
  • With director Ryan Coogler and actor Kerry Washington at a benefit for the institute, 2013
  • “I love working with artists. I always have. I really believe that artists are critical to the richness of the culture in which we’re living.”