Ayo Davis

Davis is so committed to ensuring that Disney Branded Television’s content is reflective of the world, she sees a literal reminder every time she enters her office. On the door hangs a sign that reads: “We are the stories we create, and the stories we create are us.”

“I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to lead a tremendous group of diverse executives that come from unique backgrounds and various points of view. We have immense respect for our Disney legacy, for our beloved characters and stories, for our audience and for each other,” Davis says. “We believe strongly that purposefully reflecting the incredible, beautiful diversity of our audiences allows us to most impactfully create the hopeful, optimistic, uplifting stories that Disney Branded Television is known for. This is not a mission statement; it is baked into our DNA and informs how we operate every day.”

Growing up, Davis said she was in an environment where she didn’t see a lot of people who looked like her. That changed when she attended HBCU Dillard University. “It was great to have the opportunity to go to a school where my teachers and other students not only looked like me, but they also came from all walks of life and taught me so much,” says Davis, who now serves on the board of her alma mater. “Going to Dillard built my confidence, gave me a sense of pride, and made me less insecure about my place in the world. Quite simply, it expanded my sense of belonging.”

When the company created a combined Disney Branded Television group in November 2020, Davis hit the ground running to expand the content slate and fuel the linear networks along with SVOD Disney+, first as EVP, Creative Development and Strategy and now as President. She’s following in the footsteps of her predecessor Gary Marsh, the 33-year Disney vet who developed and oversaw the launches of Disney megahits such as the original “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” as well as the launch of Disney Junior. She seems well equipped to build on his legacy. Under Davis’ leadership, Disney Branded Television won two NAACP Image Awards in 2021 for Disney Junior’s “Doc McStuffins,” two 2021 Kids Choice Awards for “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and a Peabody Award for Disney Channel’s “The Owl House.”

Other wins have included inking a multi-year overall deal with “The Proud Family” creator Bruce W. Smith and TV veteran Ralph Farquhar, an executive producer on “The Proud Family” to produce animated and live-action series and films as well as a partnership with Moonbug Entertainment, the content giant behind “CoComelon.”

Like any proud parent, Davis won’t name favorites. But she does have some DBT content that she’s especially proud of, such as animated series “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” and “Eureka.” “On the live action side, I’m excited for our upcoming ‘American Born Chinese’ series for Disney+, starring Michelle Yeoh. It has tons of heart, comedy and action—while also exploring relatable issues of identity, culture and family,” she says.

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