Connie Orlando

The woman behind many of BET’s breakthrough programs—from scripted series like “Being Mary Jane” to tentpole events like “Black Girls Rock” to new shows “American Soul” and “Boomerang.” Orlando says providing women a path to success means holding your organization accountable. “For example,” she posits, “if there is no current representation of women at senior posts in your organization, what message is your leadership sending to the female staffers?”

What specifically does your company do to support and elevate the women who work there?
At BET Networks, I always seek to empower the women that work here, as industry leaders it is our responsibility to make sure female voices get heard alongside that is equal to their male counterparts at all levels. From employee resource groups to mentoring opportunities, we have various access points to executives and hiring managers in our organization. I always support and encourage participation in these networking opportunities that often lead to career development and advancement within our company.

How can the industry do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions? 
It is important to hold your organization accountable. For example, if there is no current representation of women at senior posts in your organization, what message is your leadership sending to the female staffers? You have to evaluate your business model and make sure that career growth for women are not additive but woven in to the fabric of your organizations bottom line.

Which current shows best reflect the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
“Black Girls Rock” immediately comes to mind. Our preeminent annual celebration highlights the influence of Black women and girl’s across sectors. The special shines a light and provides an understanding to the significant contributions and voices of Black women across the globe. I love this show because it inspires women, especially young black girls, to be anything that they want to be.

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