Pola Changnon

A fixture at Turner for more than 20 years, Changnon sets the tone for TCM, internally and externally. Not only does she oversee social media and consumer/trade marketing, but she also spearheaded the expansion of on-air talent. This marks the first time in her career that she has reported up through an all-female line of management directly to a female CEO, Warner Bros’ Ann Sarnoff. “These optics are important, but it’s also critical that we provide and prompt leadership opportunities for women earlier in their careers, too,” she says.

What specifically does your company do to support and elevate the women who work there?
WarnerMedia (formerly Turner) has long supported women through business resource groups that focus on skills development, networking opportunities and mentorship. I have been fortunate to see the growth of this BRG from a small group of a dozen or so committed executives to the substantial membership we enjoy now. Additionally, the company is forward-thinking in terms of supporting flexible schedules that enable women (and men!) to be the best employees they can be, while still negotiating the responsibilities of parenthood and elder care.

How can the industry do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions?
It should be easy to recruit women to work in media; it’s an exhilarating and engaging environment to be in. And women are certainly in more senior seats than when I was starting with the company – indeed, this is the first time in my career that I have reported up through an all-female line of management directly to a female CEO (Ann Sarnoff, CEO Warner Bros). These optics are important, but it’s also critical that we provide and prompt leadership opportunities for women earlier in their careers, too. We all need to encourage women to take risks, to push themselves outside their comfort zones so that they will be seen as bold and competent enough for the next step.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
I would tell my 13 year-old self to stress less (and certainly stress less about math). I’d encourage her to keep up the focus on learning – maintain that curiosity and desire to really understand the world. And I would certainly tell her that her unusual interest in classic movies would one day pay off!

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