Throughout what was anything but an ordinary year, Tom and his team led the WarnerMedia Technology & Operations organization to huge success, infusing his strategic, positive and thoughtful approach to build and position WM as a best-in-class technology company. While there has been a groundswell of activity around DEI, he believes that the industry as a whole still has a long way to go. “The reality is that we’re still too early in our journey to truly understand the impact that has been made [in DEI]. I’d argue that we’re so early in our efforts that our success isn’t guaranteed,” Tom says. “It’s going to require continued effort year after year to arm our industry with the right tools, processes and programs to break down the biases that will allow us to truly be equitable and inclusive.”
Do you think there has been significant progress on DEI in the industry in the past year?
This past year has provided us with painful reminders of all the work we still have ahead of us, not just in our industry, but in the world around us. And yet in the middle of all of that, there has been a groundswell of activity around equity and inclusion that I am very thankful for. The reality is that we’re still too early in our journey to truly understand the impact that has been made. I’d argue that we’re so early in our efforts that our success isn’t guaranteed. It’s going to require continued effort year after year to arm our industry with the right tools, processes and programs to break down the biases that will allow us to truly be equitable and inclusive. With that said, as of late, we have seen an increase in space given to share stories and learn from traditionally marginalized groups. I’ll take that as a win and a great start! I’m also encouraged that organizations like ours have recognized the critical roles we play in championing these efforts and ensuring that they are cemented in our culture.
What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs three years ago?
Media’s renewed focus around developing and fostering a direct relationship with customers is one of the more profound shifts that has impacted how we all build our technical teams and how we engage with our customers globally. Being the very best at producing and telling a diverse slate of stories is admittedly a critical component to the success of any media company. With that said, it’s becoming clear that our continued success will not only be a function of the diversity of our franchises and IP or our production capabilities but instead, it will also be dependent on the quality of our technical products and services. Our direct relationship with customers highlights that fact and provides us with greater insights into what matters most so that we can properly invest in delivering on that.
How have you been a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion?
When I think of the impact inclusive teams have on the quality of our products and the teams we assemble, it just makes sense that inclusivity be part of our long-term strategy. It provides a path for all voices to be heard and it sets the stage for a variety of perspectives to truly participate in the innovation of our users’ experiences. It’s also why I’m incredibly proud of our technology and operations team’s efforts in championing equity and inclusion. From focusing on bringing diverse perspectives to our hiring, recruitment, and retention efforts to launching our Equity and Inclusion Council, the team has done a phenomenal job creating wonderful programs that keep our team members active and engaged around the year on E&I initiatives. It’s not just something we can check off a list, it’s something we need to continue to invest in as we would any other critical initiative across the company. So thankful for how this team continues to do just that.
My best advice for fostering open, honest communication…
Be supportive, available and lead with empathy. Always be accessible and genuinely show interest in connecting with those around you, regardless of their role. And just as important, make sure you create an environment where every team member is pushing to make one another successful.