Rice, one of TV One’s inaugural employees, stepped into the GM role for the network in 2018 and spearheaded the launch of Millennial and Gen X women of color network CLEO TV the following year. Her hard work—which included scoring carriage with AT&T and brokering an exclusive digital partnership with the NAACP in response to social issues—was certainly noticed. Rice was promoted to the president’s office this fall. She’s proud that parent company Urban One has a formal professional development and mentorship program that pairs mid-level managers with senior colleagues. “I think programs like these help build relationships that provide important two-way feedback, executive engagement, inclusiveness and allyship,” she says.
What is one of your proudest moments during the pandemic? On a personal note, I would have to say being elevated to President of TV One and CLEO TV is one of my proudest moments.
Some research has suggested COVID-19 may set women in the workplace back half a decade. How can we ensure the progress made isn’t erased? Access to childcare has significantly impacted working women during the pandemic. The closure of out-of-home childcare and virtual learning has caused some women to leave the workforce to care for children at home. The best remedy to retain women is to offer flexible work solutions that allow women to better balance the demands of work and home. Additionally, on-going professional training and job sharing programs are other ways to help provide unique experience and exposure to help keep women move through the ranks.
How has your leadership style changed during the pandemic? I have always had a genuine interest our employees – both personally and professionally. With the pandemic, I have doubled down on communicating and soliciting feedback to ensure that everyone has what the need to flourish in these very challenging times. I have been very concerned about the mental health of employees and I have provided opportunities to have direct dialogue with them to ensure we are getting it right and to change the things we need to improve.
If you were a teenager attending virtual classes right now, what advice would you give yourself? I would tell myself if I could get a 4.0 GPA then I would have some serious bragging rights…at least that’s what I want my kids to tell themselves.
What is the biggest factor needed to eliminate gender inequality in the workplace? I think it’s focusing on pay equity. Prior to the pandemic women earned approximately 80 cents for every dollar the average male worker earned. The wage gap is predicted to continue widen post pandemic. It is critical that women are awarded equal pay for equal work. Women are the primary decision maker for household spending, so pay equity is essential to supporting the financial stability of families and the economy.
How can company best foster an environment of allyship? Urban One has a formal professional development and mentorship program for mid-level managers who have the opportunity to be mentored by a senior-level colleague over a 6-month period. I think programs like these help build relationships that provide important two-way feedback, executive engagement, inclusiveness and allyship.
Who is a female celebrity you admire and why? I admire Former First Lady Michelle Obama for the work she continues to do to support women’s empowerment and the welfare of our country’s youth.