Her time working in Singapore gave Jones insights into the complete meaning of diversity because she led a team of individuals who had no common cultural ties. Her notable success in a foreign environment makes her uniquely qualified to drive organizational growth with an increasingly diverse work force. Jones feels diversity extends beyond sex and race, suggesting, “We need to make a more concerted effort to reach and recruit diversity of all kinds to make sure that the composition of our industry accurately reflects the world we live in and the audiences we’re trying to connect with every day.”
What grade do you give the cable industry on diversity and why?
I think we do a lot better than many other industries, but we’ve still got plenty of room for improvement. There’s a lot of focus on women and people of color, which is wonderful, but the word “diversity” encompasses much more than those two categories. We need to make a more concerted effort to reach and recruit diversity of all kinds to make sure that the composition of our industry accurately reflects the world we live in and the audiences we’re trying to connect with every day. Being authentic is more important than ever, and making diversity a core part of your business model needs to be the industry standard.
What television show(s) – cable or broadcast – that best embrace diversity?
There are so many different ways to watch shows that it’s almost hard to keep up! That being said, Shondaland is a great place to be these days, and I think Shonda Rhimes has done an incredible job of bringing diversity to the forefront of the television landscape. Whether you’re watching “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” or “How To Get Away With Murder,” you’re guaranteed to see a diverse cast with people from all walks of life who have widely varying backgrounds. What I really love is how deliberate this effort is on Rhimes’ part – she hits you over the head with diversity and is proud of it. And really, that’s what it’s going to take for the television industry to keep moving forward in this area. People like Shonda have made it their business to lead the charge, so I hope others continue to join her.
Favorite charity organization you work with?
I’ve been involved with United Way for a number of years, and my work with them has always been very rewarding. There are many causes worthy of support in our world, but I’ve found that the United Way, as an organization that touches thousands of communities through the hard work and dedication of millions of volunteers, is one of the best at effecting positive and measurable change in a wide number of areas. Sometimes there are transparency issues when you’re dealing with a large charity organization, which makes it hard to know if donations are being used for their intended purpose, but United Way has proven itself to be worthy of my trust over and over again. I look forward to helping the organization for many years to come.