After two years of virtual conferences, the cable industry's renowned Diversity Week launched in person this week with leaders and changemakers gathering in New York City to celebrate and advance diversity and inclusion across the media and entertainment landscape. Diversity Week has long exemplified how the industry continually directs efforts towards fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace as well as towards increasing representation on and off the screen.
This year, the week started off with the WICT Leadership Conference, themed appropriately as "The Great Reset" as many were eager to reconnect with their colleagues and peers and to discuss ideas for the future of the industry. The conference featured journalist and best-selling author Robin Roberts, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel during the Touchstones Luncheon, and the return of the Diversity Town Hall Meeting, presented in partnership with NAMIC and underwritten by The Walter Kaitz Foundation. The Town Hall also marked the start of the NAMIC Conference.
The results of the biennial AIM/PAR Workplace Diversity Survey–which assesses and measures the progress in diversity demographics across the industry–were released at the Town Hall. The study, which was last conducted in 2019, highlighted diversity changes amid the evolving pandemic and the economic, social, and political upheavals of the past few years.
Overall, the study showed retention among diverse groups remains steady despite all of these other factors at play. Notably, representation of women of color increased in all roles, and by six percentage points overall since the 2019 survey, even as women across the country were exponentially more impacted in the workplace over the past few years due to the pandemic.
"After many years of education, advocacy and DEAI capacity building within the media, entertainment and technology space, we see promising retention of diverse employees. The AIM-PAR study remains an important yardstick catalyzing critical conversations that explore the unique needs, perspectives and potential of diverse employees," said NAMIC President & CEO Shuanise Washington.
NAMIC's theme for the conference this year is "Resilience: The Courage to Lead," and included keynote speaker Leland Melvin, engineer, former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver.
Diversity Week culminates tonight with the iconic Kaitz Dinner, hosted by The Walter Kaitz Foundation. The Kaitz Dinner is a seminal annual event when the industry raises funds to fuel critical programs that focus on providing leadership development, mentorship, and inclusive programming for women and diverse professionals. This year's theme for the Kaitz Dinner is Forward + Together.
The Walter Kaitz Foundation was established over 40 years ago and has been an invaluable advocate for diversity, inclusion, and belonging in media and entertainment with the wide array of grants and programs that it supports to further diversity's impact. As Executive Director Michelle Ray said, "That is how we make an impact–through an intentional focus on DEI that is supported through critical funding."