Lily Neumeyer

A native of Buenos Aires, Neumeyer received her M.D. in psychiatry before entering TV. This has enabled her to take a unique perspective on storyline and to drive mental health representation in unscripted content. Her hallmark in development is her holistic view of understanding the unique challenges that can shape the future of a young person’s life. She sees a need and meets it. In 2021, when the pandemic kept people home, she brought back the iconic “MTV Cribs,” a reality show about celebrity homes. She says it’s always important for content creators to maintain vigilance where gender bias is concerned. “We are constantly policing language…the job never ends until there is gender equity at all levels of society.”

What’s one way your company has broadened the recruiting process to ensure greater diversity?
The recruiting process at MTVE had been broad and diverse since the start. We pride ourselves on being one of the more diverse groups inside the company as a whole. With that says, it doesn’t mean we can’t do more. We partnered with Ava DuVernay’s Array initiative to increase the hiring of people of color and women. Additionally, there are several affinity groups inside ViacomCBS which work on diversity. I belong to SOMOS, the Latinx affinity group and we work directly with other organizations to increase the number of Latinx people in front of and behind the camera.

What question(s) should you ask to ensure you’re achieving pay equity?
What are other people who are doing the same job being paid? It’s as simple as that. Transparency starts at the beginning and never ends. We’ve experienced cases of female employees raising issues of pay equity with their male counterparts. Sadly, in some instances, there was an inadvertent disparity and we made sure it was addressed immediately. I’m grateful and inspired by women who are empowered to call out inequity.

How would you rate the industry regarding gender bias in shows/characters?
We have come a long way in the last five years, but still have to be very vigilant with our portrayals and representation. As content creators, we are constantly policing language. Girls are “attractive,” men are “strong,” women are “crazy.” These clichés still pop up in 2021, but our team works with all our partners, internally with social impact as well as with external experts, to make sure we actively fight gender bias. The job never ends until there is gender equity at all levels of society.

Best advice for someone looking to re-enter the workforce after a hiatus?
Frame the hiatus as a plus not a minus. For example, people coming back from a hiatus are more motivated, hungrier, and have less burnout. They might even be in a better place than before. So bring that to the interviewing process, not shame. We all have had to take a hiatus once for different reasons. If you don’t make it an issue, it won’t be for the person in charge of hiring.

Do you have an example of male allyship that made a difference to you?
We are blessed to have fantastic male colleagues at MTVE. They are very aware of gender roles and they do their own work to make sure their female colleagues feel it is a great place to work.

What one female empowerment book do you think every woman should read?
As an immigrant myself, reading stories about other immigrant women in this country has always been a source of strength and inspiration. I recently read “House of Sticks” by Ly Tran. Her memoir about her journey from Vietnamese refugee to published author is a perfect example of female empowerment: she doesn’t tell you how to be strong, she shows you.

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