upcoming talks: Anita Borg Institute,Orlando, FL > Oct. 4 / Australia > Oct. 11-20 / L.A. > Nov. 5


Holly Mandel's



Every woman out there knows exactly what being the “Good Girl” means.


We have all seen her on TV and in movies, on stage and on billboards, in millions of ways where being “the Good Girl” always wins and is always rewarded. It means playing it safe, doing it right, getting it perfect, and pleasing everyone around you.  It means being attractive, desirable, and happily following the rules and roles set up for you. Sort of like being a human Golden Retriever. And THAT has very little to do with comedy.

Improvisation (specifically), and performance and creativity (generally), are about taking risks, exposing one’s self, being vulnerable, ‘out there’, on the edge. Being real, willing to make mistakes, look ugly or silly or lost. Not merely bearing the unknown but embracing it, inviting it. It requires honesty, courage, and freedom. And…it means not caring one iota about getting it ‘perfect’.


Where does this “Good Girl” come from and how awake are we to how she works in us?


Holly Mandel has worked for Comedy Central, Walt Disney Studios, and ABC Television and has been directing, teaching, and performing improv for over twenty years...from The Groundlings in LA to her own school in NYC, Improvolution. And despite everything she wishes weren’t the case, she can’t help but ask that burning question without a clear-cut answer: after all this, why aren’t there more women? In leadership positions. As decision-makers. In any and every facet of our world - finance, media, the sciences - not merely showing up but DRIVING the content, DRIVING the decisions, DRIVING the changes.

Now, more than ever before, we are learning about gender and the unconscious rules and roles assigned to them. Outdated and suffocating as they are, they still inform the majority of how we see and experience the world. Are the influences behind these discrepancies merely external, or are there also INTERNAL ones at play? If so, what are they? How can we see them more clearly in ourselves?

Is there something culturally and psychologically that is still an inner obstacle for women in comedy and the creative arts...as well as leadership across every field and in every facet of our lives?


Whether it’s stand-up, improv, sketch, or comedic roles in theater, TV, or film, Mandel has been aware that there does still seem to be something holding women back from their edge, something from within, that keeps us from reaching our highest potential and deepest aspirations. Something that shows up in offices, boardrooms, and think tanks as well. We know the obvious and blatant barriers, but this is something hidden, more insidious, and harder to catch.

That something is “the Good Girl.” And her time is up.


Women and men in all fields – including the performing arts but certainly not limited to it – are welcome to join the exploration and discussion around women’s conscious development, where the "Good Girl" came from (culturally and psychologically), how she shows up today, and most importantly, how we are going to move beyond her.


Holly Mandel | Founder, CEO, Good Girl Buster

Holly Mandel | Founder, CEO, Good Girl Buster


Get Woke. Get Involved. Get Ready...there's a new culture that needs to be built.


Well-behaved women rarely make history.

— Eleanor Roosevelt
Nellie Bly: What do you think the new woman will be?

Susan B. Anthony: She’ll be free.
— 1896 interview
I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I’m changing the things I cannot accept.
— Angela Davis
Mother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs – she had shit to do.
— Sarah Silverman