January 5th, 2017, marks my two year anniversary at the Emma Bowen Foundation (EBF). I spent a large part of the time in my role listening and understanding each partner’s challenges and desires for a new EBF responsive to their and the industry’s current needs, and ensuring that young people of color get internships and perform well.
EBF 2.0 is our response to feedback, which we hope offers successful solutions to the needs of our current partners and the industry and captures who we are. In order to change the narrative of people color—the legacy which created the foundation— 2.0 aims to ensure that more people of color are hired, retained, and advance to decision making positions to influence the way media is expressed and business is conducted. To fully impact the industry, we need to reach all essential functions in front of and behind the camera— the Content of Media (journalism and production), the Business of Media (sales, research, human resources, and other behind-the-scenes business careers), and the Innovation of Media (social media, engineering, new technology, big data).
We will achieve our goal of increasing the number of people of color who are hired, retained and advance in the media industry by engaging in the following strategies:
- Fellowship Program (entry-level talent creation) – Fellows are college students interning at our partner companies for the purposes of learning the business, having their talent evaluated, and building a pipeline of entry level talent.
Pilot Programing with 2 new populations
- Scholars Program (Fellows talent creation) – Scholars are high school students (too young to intern) and college underclassmen (not selected for a Fellowship) who we want to keep engaged in the industry through educational programing that exposes and builds interest in the three media tracks and diverse career possibilities. The Scholars Program will grow the pipeline for the Fellowship program with stronger and more committed talent.
- Alumni & Media Professionals (AMP) (experienced talent pipeline creation) – EBF Alumni and experienced professionals of color with skills our partners value to meet the need of our sponsors to hire diverse executives today who can lead. We will connect our partners to experienced talent by creating a resume database, holding local events, and hosting an AMP career fair.
In closing, I want to ensure that the Emma Bowen Foundation is the diversity and inclusion partner of choice not because it is the right thing to do but because investments in our organization return value. Our goal is to be valuable to our partners and have a mutual relationship where both sides benefit from our engagement.
I believe that diversity leads to innovation that is essential for companies to thrive and be successful in the future. Through EBF’s partnership with its sponsors, the increase in diversity we are championing and the narrative of people of color we are impacting, we will help bring communities which previously have not been brought together by giving a voice to those who were voiceless, providing new perspectives, and causing people to think in way they have not thought before.
Dr. Rahsaan Harris
President & CEO
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