Michelle Rice

As if elevating TV One programming—including its presentation of the 50thNAACP Image Awards this year—wasn’t enough, Rice powered into 2019 by launching sister net Cleo TV, an aspirational lifestyle and entertainment destination aimed at millennial and Gen X women of color. As the principal architect of the new venture, Rice worked to ensure the network comprises authentic voices in topics, including home design, food, relationships, travel and finances. Her work is recognized across the industry and beyond; she was just honored by Temple University with its Lew Klein Alumni in Media Award. “Fair and equitable compensation among men and women, flexible work schedules, maternity and family leave policies that allow both men and women to participate in childcare are among the things companies need to improve and focus on to grow their female workforce,” she says. “Our industry and our country are still far behind other industries and countries as it relates to these issues.”

How can the industry do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions?
Companies should make sure they have fair and equitable policies and benefits that help women succeed in the workplace. This will also help recruit and retain women. From ensuring fair and equitable compensation among men and women, to flexible work schedules, to maternity and family leave policies that allow both men and women to participate in childcare—are among the things companies need to improve and focus on to grow their female workforce. Our industry and our country are still far behind other industries and countries as it relates to these issues.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
I would tell myself to look at a failure as an opportunity. Sometimes we don’t even try if we think we might fail. What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? We’ve all heard the saying ”Failure is not an option.” Failures are a part of life’s lessons that help us become smarter and wiser. Fail fast and fail forward. A failure is often times just a pivot in the right direction towards your destiny, and can lead to innovation and the accomplishment of goals beyond where we thought we would go. So, to my 13-year-old self who was taught that “Failure is not an option”—I would now say that failure is an option and an opportunity.

Which current shows best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
There are so many compelling roles for women on television right now. I like seeing the diverse range of characters especially strong women living their truth—and that includes the good, the bad and the ugly. From “Suits,” “Black-ish,” “Veep,” “Insecure,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Power” and “Queen Sugar,” there are a lot of strong female leads and great content to watch!

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