Jackson’s former mentor was Rev. Robert Castle of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, N.Y., who provided guidance from his adolescence into adulthood and helped shaped his outlook on life in general. Nowadays Jackson oversees digital strategies and content development for networks supporting websites, emerging platforms, game expansion and ad sales campaigns. With consumers migrating their viewing habits to broadband platforms, cable networks “must be vigilant of this growing trend and find a solution to retain TV viewers, as well as content creators,” he says.
What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?
Diversity in 2014 revolves not only around race, sex and culture, but also around a diversity of ideas. In order to reach a wide variety of consumers, diversified ideas need to be brought to the table and be taken seriously. Many barriers have been broken in media, but there is still more improvement to be done especially behind the cameras and in the boardroom.
What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?
NBCUniversal continues to strive for excellence in diversifying its employee base. One of the biggest achievement didn’t come from high ratings or increased revenue, but from the hiring of veterans. Since the start of 2012 and in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Heroes initiative, NBCUniversal has hired a total of 3,000 veterans, including military spouses.
Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?
My former mentor was Rev. Robert Castle of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, NYC. He was a voice of the Harlem community, as well as a help to those in despair and in need of a listening ear. He provided great guidance from my adolescence into adulthood through his unique tutelage, community activism and exposure to other positive role models. Rev. Castle helped sharped my outlook, not only my career, but on life in general.
What qualities do you look for when making a new hire?
Some of the qualities I look for in hiring a new employee include having a passion for the digital platform, an innovative thinker and the ability collaborate extremely well. I look for someone who is well rounded and has an outlook on growing trends to in turn be proactive, rather than reactive, to this transitioning industry.
Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eye on.
Internet-based TV content is the biggest trend at the moment. With platforms like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, consumers are migrating their viewing habits to these broadband sources. Cable networks must be vigilant of this growing trend and find a solutions to retain TV viewers, as well as content creators.