Desroches anchored Turner—Time Warner’s most profitable division—through the AT&T merger, while simultaneously showing vision and integrity in the continued oversight of Turner’s financial operations. As a result, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey elevated him to his current leadership post, where he leads all of WarnerMedia’s financial functions and strategies. “We have to move from simply talking about diversity and inclusion to making an intentional effort to weave it into each of our companies’ DNA,” he says. “Fostering diversity in media is a never-ending process and every employee at a company must be challenged to do their part.”
What does your company/organization do to ensure all employees feel included?
One of the most important steps a company can take is to create a workplace where everyone is valued and are supported to grow in their careers. At WarnerMedia, we have initiated programs like conscious inclusion and bold hiring to make sure we are bringing in the best and brightest employees and fostering a workplace where everyone is respected. Another way we are practicing diversity and inclusion is by empowering members of our workforce through Business Resource Groups (BRGS), which help us recruit and inform our business strategy. All employee-led, they are designed to foster a sense of community and professional development amongst groups that tend to experience a highest rated of turnover—including people of color, women, LGBTQ+, working parents, and our next generation leaders. We also know that we cannot do this alone so we have partnered with organizations that support and challenge us to be better. We work with organizations like NAMIC, GLAAD, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and The Executive Leadership Councils to attract and develop future candidates.
Which current television show/s best embrace diversity?
I may be biased but WarnerMedia’s shows of course. We are proud to have hits like “Big Little Lies,” “Insecure,” “Ballers,” “Claws” and “The Last O.G.” in our programming lineup and we continue to work on investing in unique storytellers that enhance our brands. Recent box office and ratings successes prove that films and shows that feature both gender and ethnic diversity are the key to every media company’s success. As we embark on our ambitious new direct-to-consumer service, HBO Max, we have a lot more shows that will demonstrate our commitment.
What questions is the industry not yet asking in its efforts to be more diverse and inclusive that it should be?
Despite our stories being universal, representation in the media, both in front and behind the camera, most often does not reflect the diversity of our audiences. We need to ask ourselves why is this still the case? We have to move from simply talking about to diversity and inclusion to making an intentional effort to weave it into each of our companies’ DNA. Fostering diversity in media is a never-ending process and every employee at a company must be challenged to do their part. From the executive leaders to the hiring managers to the intern coordinators. It is really important for companies to take a look at how and who is being brought in for interviews and hired as well as how and who is being promoted. It may take extra work but at the end of the day, it helps us make real and authentic stories that connect with our fans and reach new audiences.