I am pleased to share the incredible work I have been doing for the past 30 years to create access and opportunities for new industry hopefuls, especially diverse talent, to launch and leverage careers in the entertainment industry. After graduating high school, I left Dayton, Ohio, and arrived in Los Angeles, where my cousin helped me get a job as a page at NBC. Once immersed in the industry, I knew it was where I belonged.

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I eventually landed in the chairman’s office at NBC and later at Paramount as one of the few African American female executive assistants to support both a network and studio chairman. Executives needed temporary support that knows the players and can hit the ground running. Because it was hard to find this kind of quality short-term help, I decided that, if I could gather a pool of talent like myself, I could start a temp agency to meet the needs of the executives when their assistants were out—thus came the name Executive Temps. I am proud to say our full-service staffing agency has been serving the industry for over 30 years.

After repeatedly hearing clients say they couldn’t find diverse talent, I discovered another solution. Knowing the role internships play in giving access to this highly competitive industry, I established the first Los Angeles-based HBCU (Historical Black Colleges & Universities) internship program of its kind. What’s ironic is that I never went to an HBCU or attended college. My mother, who raised me and my five brothers, taught us that we could achieve anything with discipline and focus. I earned my B.A., M.S., and Ph.D while working for 17 years alongside top industry chairmen and  presidents, including Brandon Tartikoff, Grant Tinker, Robert Wright, Warren Littlefield, and Kerry McCluggage. From my privileged vantage point, I witnessed the dearth of diversity from the C-suite to the mailroom. I saw, firsthand, the issues and limitations of many programs and training initiatives, from affirmative action to today’s DE&I efforts.