BOSS LADIES: Marie Claire on Thursday hosted its annual lunch devoted to powerful women. Held on the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower in Midtown, the event, which is dubbed “The New Guard,” is a celebration of all sorts of top executives in fashion, beauty, entertainment and media, as well as actresses and entrepreneurs.

This story first appeared in the October 31, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This year, Rashida Jones, who was the headliner, talked about her rise to prominence as an actor, writer and producer.

“I realized I wasn’t going to get any further by waiting for other people to create opportunities for me,” Jones said, recounting how hard it was for her to break through the business. The “Parks and Recreation” star remarked on the continuing disparity between women in power and men in power, a sentiment shared earlier by other women at the event.

“If there’s money to be made, people will embrace gender equality. Americans love money,” she said to laughter.

Although the actress was meant to be the star of the afternoon, it was Betsy Beers, executive producer of ABC, who owned the room with her speech on how she partnered with Shonda Rhimes to create shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal, “Private Practice” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”

“I am deeply intimidated — I think this was keyed up perfectly earlier by the amazing women today. But I am really, really f–king intimated by your shoes,” she said, noting the chic foot gear worn by the women in the room.

Dropping more than a few F-bombs, Beers explained how she and Rhimes developed female characters who are complex and “not cookie-cutter.”

She also addressed pay inequality. “I just had this conversation with an agent who was complaining, saying how frustrated he is that it has actually gotten hard to get jobs for young white males,” she said. “Are you f–king kidding me? [Talk] about not knowing your audience.”

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