SEC Network debuted five new shows during the 2018-19 season and with Durant overseeing programming and acquisitions, the net continues to push the envelope. When she began her tenure at ESPN 20 years ago, she says it was important to see women and people of color in executive positions so she knew advancement opportunity was there. “I’m personally proud of the progress we’ve made,” she says. “The room looks different now than it did when I started.”
What specifically does your company do to support and elevate the women who work there?
We make elevating women a priority and that’s important because it doesn’t happen with good intentions, it happens with intentionality. We have several offerings internally and externally to both support our female employees and improve our storytelling, including espnW, our ESPN Women Employee Resource Group and the ESPN Executive Women’s Forum. I’m personally proud of the progress we’ve made. The room looks different now than it did when I started at the company 20 years ago.
How can the industry do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions?
I’m reminded of the saying, “if you can see it, you can be it.” You cannot recruit women for a leadership path if they don’t see women walking that path. Leaders who make the decisions on hiring and promotion must be held accountable, especially since data shows that having women in leadership roles improves business results.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
At 13, I was an old soul. I would tell myself to relax, enjoy childhood and trust that it all works out. I’d also tell myself to trust my parents’ counsel since they ended up being right—about everything!