In his first full year with Discovery, Saxena’s been busy as Discovery continues to grow its DTC side of the business. In 2019, Saxena was responsible for the creation of one global, single technology platform that serves all the DTC products, migrating digital products from 17 platforms into the single stack. He’s also been leading the creation of the Chip and Joanna Gaines OTT venture. He is passionate about mentoring diverse professionals across the industry, and says, “It is critical to manage D&I at all levels starting from an entry-level employee to the boardroom. Achieving a certain D&I target at a company level is going to achieve only so much.”
The conversation about racial injustice in 2020 has been… very broad and at grassroots levels … enough to make me believe it will bring a positive change.
In what ways can companies best show a sincere commitment to diversity and inclusion?
While D&I metrics are an important scorecard, companies need to take a longer term view and invest in programs that develop women in roles that generally lack diversity such as engineering. Grassroot level initiatives that promote diversity in STEM in schools are very effective.
What initiatives in our industry best embrace diversity?
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Many companies have started to transparently report diversity numbers inside and outside the company and that is an important first step to acknowledge the challenge the industry is facing and measure progress as we work on improving it. Additionally, we are beginning to see industry-wide programs to raise awareness and drive right behavior.
What are some of the tough conversations this industry needs to have?
It is critical to manage D&I at all levels starting from an entry-level employee to the board room. D&I needs to be managed for all job functions as there are many job functions that lack diversity. Achieving a certain D&I target at a company level is going to achieve only so much.
How have you been a champion of diversity & inclusion in your professional life?
I personally mentor a lot of diverse professionals across the industry and within my company, I ensure that diversity and inclusion is part of all major programs such as leadership development programs and special assignments. As we review performance of our employees, we also include a diversity filter to ensure that diverse employees are not left behind!