Working closely with Magic Johnson Enterprises, Butler successfully grew Aspire’s distribution to more than 20 million households by securing notable distribution deals. As he heads into 2015, Butler’s plan is to continue to grow Aspire’s distribution and advertising partnerships, while adding to its already impressive original programming slate, which includes shows like “The Root 100” and “Exhale.” Butler doesn’t have to look too far when asked who his greatest mentor is. “My sister’s always there to push me to face challenges head on,” he says. “She is the best sounding board for me, guides me to ask the right questions and reminds me that I need to listen more.”

What’s the definition of diversity in 2014?

Differences should be celebrated and elevated, not hidden or diluted.  While we all share things in common as viewers and consumers, when the industry pays attention to the unique things that make our products and services relevant and relatable to different viewers and consumers, we can attract a more engaged and loyal customer base.

What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?

We launched a new campaign, “ASPiRE Jam Sessions,” for Black Music Month that hit on our brand to celebrate “Our Past, Our Now, and Our Next.”  The series wove together exclusive and acoustic musical performances from current and next generation independent African-American artists, along with their reflections on the contributions of Black music.  It was great hit socially and now we are building it out across other tent-poles.

Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?

My strongest mentor has been my sister.  She’s always there to push me to face challenges head on and forces me to think (and re-think).  She is the best sounding board for me, guides me to ask the right questions and reminds me that I need to listen more.

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A+E Networks launched a new FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channel Skills + Thrills , debuting on The Roku Channel on Tuesday. The series

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