After completing business studies at the prestigious Wharton School in her native Philadelphia, Finerman worked for The Movie Channel in New York and later went west to become a business affairs executive for Universal Television. She joined Steve Tisch Productions as vice president of production and development in 1985. It was there that she came across the galleys for Winston Groom's novel "Forrest Gump" and, recognizing its cinematic potential, convinced Tisch to option the screen rights. After many years of promoting the project and three script revisions, she gave a draft to Tom Hanks, fresh off his Oscar-winning performance in "Philadelphia" (1993), who quickly agreed to star. Sherry Lansing at Paramount gave the project a green light and Finerman hasn't had to look back since. Besides "Gump," Finerman also executive produced "I Like It Like That" (1994) a funny, gritty "little" movie about an ambitious young Latino mother and wife living in the South Bronx.