NAMIC will look to shine a light on the advancement of the cable industry’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts during its virtual 35th annual NAMIC Conference, which launches Tuesday (Oct. 5) as part of the industry's Diversity Week festivities.
The theme of the three-day conference is “Removing Obstacles. Magnifying Opportunities” and will feature a lineup of industry leaders and experts discussing the pressing DEI issues facing the communications and cable industry, according to NAMIC.
The conference will open Tuesday with its L. Patrick Mellon Mentoring session featuring a discussion with Music World Entertainment president Mathew Knowles. Other conference highlights include NAMIC’s annual Next Generation Leaders and Luminaries Awards; the “Meet the Execs” panel session featuring Walt Disney Company VP, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution Christian Divino, Kishshana & CEO CEO Kishshana Palmer, and Arrington Coaching LLC COO David Arrington; and the” Setting the Course of International Allyship” panel featuring WarnerMedia SVP, Equity and Inclusion MyKhanh Shelton and A+E Networks EVP, Corporate Brand Strategy and Chief of Staff Juliana Stock.
NAMIC president and CEO Shuanise Washington spoke to Multichannel News about this year’s virtual NAMIC Conference goals and objectives and provided an early look at plans for the diversity organization’s in-person NAMIC Conference in 2022. An edited version of the interview appears below.
MCN: What are your goals for this year’s NAMIC Conference?
Shuanise Washington: Our 35th annual conference will provide a global platform for emerging and thought leaders to discuss topics ranging from culturally competent marketing to racial equity. Attendees will engage in professional networking sessions, delve into best practices with industry leaders, and learn the emerging industry trends that will shift the future of cable and communications.
MCN: Has going to a virtual format for a second straight year helped or hurt attendance sign-ups?
SW: Our registration numbers have already exceeded last year and people are still registering. A virtual format has expanded our ability to reach more people and in turn allowed more people to be a part of our conference. We are thrilled that the cable, media and entertainment industry continue to rely on NAMIC and our annual conference for tools, strategies and professional connections to empower diversity, equity and inclusion in their companies.
MCN: Has the virtual format made it easier to secure key speakers?
SW: In some ways, it has. We have been able to expand the breadth and depth of our speaker pool because we do not have to contend with travel and a fixed timeframe, so to speak, as many of the sessions are pre-recorded. I am really excited about so many of our sessions and speakers this year, like the L. Patrick Mellon session on mentoring with Dr. Mathew Knowles. Dr. Knowles and Julissa Bermudez, television personality and actress at CLEO TV, will engage in a lively discussion about the importance of mentoring in establishing a successful career and legacy. They will tackle issues many underrepresented employees feel might have already existed within their companies—even before the COVID pandemic: isolation, lack of support, barriers to access, and so on.
MCN: Will you continue to feature virtual elements at next year's conference when it's back to in-person status?
SW: Yes. The virtual format has been quite successful in expanding our reach and in making the conference more accessible. Accessibility is central to our mission. We are exploring ways to enhance the virtual experience so that we can draw attendees from every state in the nation—and from people committed to DEI work in the media, entertainment and cable industry around the world.
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.
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