Under Thornton’s watch, ESPN Creative Studio works on an array of initiatives including graphics packages for ESPN’s cornerstone events, high-quality edits for highlights and features, PSAs and season-long anthems for ESPN franchises. This time last year, she added to her already vast portfolio ESPN’s remote operations team, leadership of ESPN’s Directing team, and oversight of a newly formed, centralized Creative Studio department. To insure that open jobs at the sports network adhere to its quest for diversity, Thornton says, “We will interview at least two women and two people of color. By setting these standards, we’re broadening our base and meeting a wide variety of excellent candidates.”
What’s one way your company has broadened the recruiting process to ensure greater diversity?
ESPN has created thoughtful requirements for diverse slates for our job postings. We are committed to diverse slates for all open positions, and at ESPN that means for each role, we will interview at least two women and two people of color. By setting these standards, we’re broadening our base and meeting a wide variety of excellent candidates. On the content side, we’ve been doing on-campus HBCU panels as well as a specific HBCU speaker series focused on NCA&T design students. The industry has more work to do here, but we are proud of the impact these initiatives are having on our business.
Do you have an example of male allyship that made a difference to you?
I’ve had an abundance of wonderful male allies and sponsors through the years. Early in my career, one male ally made me realize that my unique differences were my superpower and that I should proudly bring my authentic self to work every day. He was right. I’m successful because of my differences, not in spite of them.
What one female empowerment book do you think every woman should read?
A former ESPN colleague of mine just put out a new book. Check out “Fire Your Narrator!” by Valerie Gordon. It’s laugh out loud funny. And while it’s gender neutral, it will empower those of us who have that little voice in our head that is overly critical, self-destructive and just plain annoying.