Lisa Williams Fauntroy

It’s never a dull day in the office for Williams-Fauntroy; she recently oversaw the business and legal transactions surrounding Discovery Channel’s 30th anniversary of Shark Week. She’s also co-chair and executive sponsor of Discovery’s Black Cultural Alliance, one of the company’s employee resource groups dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The exec keeps active with Discovery’s MentorNet, a program that allows employees to apply to become in-house mentors and mentees. “Diverse and inclusive teams are not only a reflection of who we are as a country but can be powerful, positive and productive forces in our media industry—and that’s always a good thing,” she says.

What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
We’ve recently seen more publicity around companies and individuals requiring “inclusion riders” (contract terms that specifically require certain actions aimed at diversifying productions or content) in their contracts. I think this goes a long way to encouraging and requiring companies to think hard about broadening the scope of their talent pool and pushes companies take action in this area. Diverse and inclusive teams are not only a reflection of who we are as a country but can be powerful, positive and productive forces in our media industry—and that’s always a good thing.

What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
Never stop learning about the business and adapt well to change. With the business, it’s important to stay engaged and to understand the industry’s players and trends; this helps you to be an asset to your company and helps to move your own career forward. With change, in our ever-evolving field being nimble, adaptable and open minded about variability within companies and within the industry goes a long way to helping your own growth and value.

What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
The consolidation of companies across different sectors of the media is definitely a dramatic change in recent years. There are fewer “traditional” media companies. Many newly combined companies are spreading their wings to compete in business sectors and with content plays that show their willingness to take risks and innovate in our industry.

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