Avi Saxena

Saxena joined Discovery in January after spending more than a decade at Amazon. He’s busy implementing updates to MotorTrend, DPlay and Eurosport Player while also leading the creation of the new GolfTV service outside the US, the Chip and Joanna Gaines Magnolia OTT endeavor as well as the Discovery and BBC natural history streaming partnership. If that weren’t enough, Saxena also opened Discovery’s new Seattle office, which serves as the hub for the org’s DTC team. He is passionate about mentoring future tech leaders in the industry and believes high potential diverse candidates should have active mentors and advocates. “Recruiting is the most important part as one cannot retain and promote diverse candidates if the company doesn’t have any to begin with,” he says.

How can diversity be better incorporated into the recruiting process?
Diversity is best achieved by mobilizing efforts to recruit, retain and promote diverse employees in the company. Recruiting is the most important part as one cannot retain and promote diverse candidates if the company doesn’t have any to begin with. To attract diverse candidates, the company needs to showcase its diversity initiatives externally and the recruiting process must involve diverse interviewers – not only to make the candidates comfortable, but also to assess diverse candidates with a more balanced point of view. Diverse candidates may need special provisions with work environment such as shifted or reduced work hours, special equipment, etc. – the company must make every effort to provide it.

Can you share a successful diversity program at your company or one you’ve observed at another company or organization?
Successful diversity programs cater to the full spectrum of human demographic – including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status or physical disability. They assess and quantify diversity at all levels and job functions in the company and establish goals around diversity just as they do for business results. Diversity should be an important consideration for every process at the company – recruiting, promotions and special assignments. Another aspect of diversity is sponsorship – high potential diverse candidates should be matched with a sponsor who will actively mentor them and be their advocate when it comes to new roles and special assignments.

What questions is the industry not yet asking in its efforts to be more diverse and inclusive that it should be?
Diversity metric if often measured at a company-wide level and while that is interesting, we also need to be assessing diversity by levels especially amongst senior executive roles.

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