Industry Insider: April 2021

WICT Senior Executive Summit

The 2021 WICT Senior Executive Summit, designed exclusively for the industry’s top-ranking women executives, took place virtually from Wednesday, March 10 through Thursday, March 11.  WICT’s curriculum committee and Faculty Co-Directors, George Foster and Rob Siegel of the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) reimagined an all-new curriculum for the virtual 2021 Summit.

The theme of the 2021 Summit was Leadership and the Human Connection. The program presented innovative strategies and reimagined case studies presented by Stanford GSB faculty and Silicon Valley thought leaders.  Session highlights included:

  • A Fireside Chat featuring acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, facilitated by WICT’s Immediate Past Chair, Marva Johnson, Group Vice President, State Government Affairs – South Region of Charter.
  • Crisis Management at Zoom Video and the Heritage of a Classic / Not-So-Classic Silicon Valley New Venture with Aparna Bawa, Chief Operating Officer, Zoom.
  • Lessons from the Field: Making Partnerships Productive featuring Sabrina Ellis, VP, Product Management, Google.
  • The Human Factor – How do Your Customers Make Decisions? presented by Szu-Chi Huang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marketing, Stanford GSB.
  • Building Inclusive Organizational and Team Cultures with Sarah Soule, Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford GSB.

In conjunction with the Senior Executive Summit, WICT announced the creation of the Pam Euler Halling Fellowship.  Halling was a highly respected marketing executive, and in her honor, WICT supported the attendance of four fellows to the Summit.  The fellowship recipients were Lisa Barroso, SVP, Distribution & Partnership Marketing, Crown Media Family Networks; Lori Hall, Co-Founder & Head of Creative, Pop’N Creative; Wendy McCoy, SVP, Marketing, UP Entertainment; and Jennifer Rogers, SVP, Consumer & Corporate Marketing, Univision Communications.


NAMIC 2021 Vision Awards Nominees

Now in its 27th year, NAMIC’s annual Vision Awards honors programming that reflects the lives, spirit, and contributions of people of color that mirror the diverse composition of the viewing audience.  NAMIC announced its roster of nominees with awards to be given in April.

“We are proud to honor the programmers and storytellers who intentionally work to create enriching and entertaining content that embraces diversity and inclusion,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO, NAMIC. “Now more than ever, this content is essential to fostering greater understanding and acceptance.”


Michelle Ray Hosts Conversation with Diversity Officers During Premier CultureX Conversations

The Walter Kaitz Foundation (WKF) partnered with Future US on premiere CultureX Conversations virtual event on March 16.  The conference was an examination of diversity and inclusion efforts the industry is already engaged in, and an exploration of what’s needed to further representation on-air, behind the camera, and in the C-suites.  The event facilitated dialogue through a series of keynotes, fireside chats, panels, and awards that celebrated the industry’s inclusion efforts while searching for ways to improve both the mindset and the impact of decision-makers to foster a more inclusive industry.  Speakers included a roster of top industry executives, chief diversity officers, on-air talent, and showrunners.

WKF’S Executive Director Michelle Ray facilitated a roundtable discussion among diversity officers and those in executive search.  They shared processes for ensuring equitable results in recruitment practices and hiring.  At the outset, Ray reiterated to the group that the charge now is to be more ‘intentional and directed’ and adopt actionable practices around diversity equity and inclusion.  Panelists were Ann Carlsen – Carlsen Resources, Inc., Margaret Lazo – Univision Communications Inc., PaShon Mann – Comcast NBCUniversal, and Aisha Thomas-Petit – AMC Networks.

Thomas-Petit said that organizations must find their moral compass as it relates to Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI).  Additionally, she stressed the importance of defining clear, tangible measures of accountability aligned against each category that the company deems critical.

“Somehow we must get rid of fear and have honest conversations within our companies and our industry,” offered Carlsen.  She shared that to build trust we must get past the shame and blame.

Lazo stressed that we have to leverage our influence within the C-Suite and ensure that there’s an inclusive tone at the top, saying it is the only way to realize change.

Mann offers that driving DEI is “not only a corporate journey but it’s a very personal journey.”  In formulating any type of recruitment of DEI programs she offers you must meet people where they are.

In conclusion, Lazo offered, “Give yourself grace, we didn’t get here overnight.  If we want to get past this and move forward we need to give ourselves grace.”


Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Home Edition 2.0 2021

Disability representation in the media is now more important than ever. A recordbreaking number of films have been created for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Home

Edition 2.0! Now comes the most important part – watch and share the films through April 5th to help change the way the world defines and views disability.  https://www.youtube.com/c/TheDisabilityFilmChallenge 


LifetimeTV Premier of Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia

In the fictionalized retelling of 40 years in the life of one of the greatest gospel singers of all time, LifetimeTV amplifies the voice of Mahalia Jackson while highlighting the dignity of the Southern Black experience. Mahalia began singing at an early age and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in U.S. history, melding her music with the civil rights movement. Her career met incredible success during a time of racial segregation in American history.  Catch the premiere April 3 on LifetimeTV!