HARRT at UCLA Presents: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action: Lessons Learned

HARRT members and guests joined Faculty Director, Professor Corinne Bendersky in a conversation with Darnell Hunt, Ph.D., Dean, UCLA Division of Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Paul Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Christine Simmons, Chief Operating Officer of The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (The Oscars) on lessons learned in the entertainment industry when driving change in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In the past year, many businesses have advanced DE&I initiatives for multiple stakeholders including employees, customers, shareholders, and constituents. Organizations with a clear strategy, well-defined focus, results-driven leadership, and defined measurements have successfully moved from awareness – to commitment – to action. There is no single formula for improving diversity and inclusion that applies to every company or industry. By collaborating on action-based initiatives that have been successful and in some cases unsuccessful, organizations can learn and apply new approaches to building an inclusive DE&I culture.

This session spotlighted the importance of collaborative decision-making, data analytics, as well as, bold and accountable leadership when developing and prioritizing strategic DE&I programs.

• Darnell Hunt, Professor and Dean of Social Sciences shared insights and lessons learned from the Hollywood Diversity Report that examines the relationship between diversity and the bottom line in Hollywood and the degree to which women and people of color are present in front of the camera and behind the camera.

• Paul Martin, Sr. Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment shared insights about the multi-pronged racial equity and inclusion program launched in 2020 called Sony Pictures Action which includes an Action Council comprised of executives from across the company, the Diverse Directors Program that provides participants from diverse backgrounds to access and exposure to TV directing, as well as, lessons learned from Sony’s employee business resource groups that promote a culture of understanding, acceptance and, inclusion.

• Christine Simmons, Chief Operating Officer of The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (The Oscars) shared the next phase of the Oscars equity and inclusion program called Academy Aperture 2025 and lessons learned from the Academy Gold Internship Program which is a global talent development and inclusion initiative that provides opportunities for creative individuals and students from diverse backgrounds to participate in the entertainment industry.