Diversity Week Returns To In-Person Events

TImes Square
For the first time since 2019, Diversity Week events will return in live form to midtown Manhattan. (Image credit: NYC & Co.)

The cable industry’s Diversity Week suite of conferences and networking activities will welcome attendees for the first time in two years, as The WICT Network, NAMIC and The Walter Kaitz Foundation hold in-person events recognizing diversity and inclusion efforts in media and entertainment.

WICT and NAMIC will hold their respective conferences in person beginning Monday, October 10, after being virtual since 2020 due the pandemic. Both organizations plan to also offer virtual access to select general sessions, panel discussions and awards ceremonies. 

NAMIC and WICT will once again team to deliver the latest AIM/PAR Workplace Survey, which focuses on the current state of ethnic and gender diversity within the media and entertainment industry.

The most recent AIM/PAR survey, in 2019, reported a slight increase in the representation of people of color and women in executive and senior management positions compared to the 2017 report. 

The WICT Network’s two-day 2022 Leadership Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis kicks off the week’s activities on Monday, October 10. Under the theme “The Great Reset,” the conference’s program will explore work trends most relevant to media, entertainment and technology professionals and the big picture concepts — from diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to flexible workplaces to transformational approaches in building personal and organizational resilience — that are shaping today’s future workplace, WICT Network president and CEO Maria Brennan said.  

“Following a two-year hiatus of our in-person Leadership Conference, we’re excited to bring our community back together under one roof for two jam-packed days of education and inspiration,” Brennan said. “Our industry is built on connecting people, so it’s no surprise that our stakeholders are rearing to reconnect.” 

Cox Enterprises president and chief people officer Jill Campbell is set to receive WICT’s first Fearless Leader Award at the conference.

The 36th annual NAMIC Conference’s theme, “Resilience: The Courage to Lead,” will focus on challenges facing the industry in the year ahead and will feature a lineup of industry executives tasked with navigating the economic and social turbulence that marked the last two years, according to
the organization.

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will serve as NAMIC’s honorary chair of the conference, to be held October 11 and 12. Along with general sessions, breakout panels and receptions, the gathering will feature the organization’s annual awards ceremony saluting NAMIC’s Next Generation Leaders and Luminaries, emerging executives of diverse race or ethnicity who show the most potential to become tomorrow’s movers and shakers.

“The pandemic dramatically altered our landscape, from the shape of our workforce to shifts in consumer spending,” NAMIC president and CEO A. Shuanise Washington said. “It was an unprecedented level of change in just two years, and it required incredible resilience. NAMIC’s 2022 Annual Conference is dedicated to drawing the most important lessons from those changes and exploring possibilities for the future.”

Kaitz Dinner Returns

The Walter Kaitz Foundation closes out Diversity Week with the return of the annual fundraising dinner on Wednesday, October 12, at the New York Marriott Marquis. The dinner’s theme, “forward + together,” speaks to a renewed movement around inclusion and equity, according to the foundation. Dinner proceeds fund grants to NAMIC, The WICT Network, the Emma L. Bowen Foundation and the T. Howard Foundation. 

While not officially part of Diversity Week, media diversity-focused organization the T. Howard Foundation will hold its annual diversity fundraising dinner in New York on Wednesday, September 14. 

The organization, which has not held its awards dinner since 2019, will this year honor A+E Networks president and chairman Paul Buccieri, CBS president and CEO George Cheeks and NBCUniversal executive VP and chief diversity officer Craig Robinson. CNN anchor Abby Phillip will receive a Diversity Advocate Award. The dinner recognizes and celebrates industry leaders and companies committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in media and entertainment. ▪️

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.