- LOS ANGELES
The Television Academy, in partnership with ReadySet, has completed a rigorous evaluation of its membership, as well as its overall policies, procedures and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and has identified key focus areas and developed strategic goals to drive systemic change across the organization.
Prioritizing DEI across the Academy’s own membership and the entertainment industry, and to impact its role as a thought leader in the television space, the organization announced a partnership earlier this year with ReadySet, a leading DEI consulting firm. An extensive, multi-pronged examination was launched that included membership, leadership and staff surveys to assess member and staff composition, attitudes and perceptions regarding DEI, and opportunities for improvement and expansion of current practices.
“As content creators with a global reach, we have a responsibility to address the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion within our industry. Our organization is grounded in the values of excellence, service, community and impact; and, therefore, we have an important role to play in leading industry change with thoughtful and purposeful action,” said Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of the Television Academy.
The study identified several areas of strength for the Television Academy, including an overall membership satisfaction and engagement score (73% positive) and members’ view that the Television Academy is uniquely positioned to be an industry bridge builder. However, the survey also revealed concerns over transparency, accountability, diversity and representation, especially for members with intersectional, historically marginalized identities. Though the diversity of its membership--survey respondents were 69% white/31% people of color, 51% men/45% women/2% non-conforming--may be reflective of the television industry, it is not reflective of the general population. And while current DEI efforts were met with praise, they were also perceived by underrepresented members as being performative and deficient in creating lasting, structural change.
Based on these findings, the Television Academy has set a number of objectives for the upcoming year, beginning with hiring a senior executive in the membership department to drive new member outreach and community engagement. Working in tandem with ReadySet, the Academy’s newly formed DEI leadership task force will develop, deploy and monitor an action plan over the coming months to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion principles are fully integrated into the organization’s overall mission. ReadySet will also help implement activities and programs, including training, education and resources for leadership and members. The Academy will also work to diversify and support its leadership so that it reflects the Academy’s membership, evaluating the composition and function of the Peer Group Executive Committees and creating pathways and opportunities to leadership for all members.
“It’s one thing to commission a study to formally identify issues within our organization, but it’s critical to commit to change. This change is not about any particular program or competition, it’s about systemic change across the organization. We are setting strategic objectives and creating goals that will deal directly with the challenges, and we are committed to holding ourselves accountable and sharing our results,” said Scherma.
Click here to see findings of the study.