Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: How Can We Be Part of the Solution?

Fill 1
December 09, 2020

About The Event

Television Executives Governors Debra Curtis and Jo DiSante, along with their Peer Group Executive Committee and The Television Academy Diversity Committee, invite members to:

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:  How Can We Be Part of the Solution?

Recently, several platforms and studios have announced commitments to prioritizing development from diverse voices and have set goals for increased representation. Join us for a discussion about how we can more effectively access and support talent from underrepresented groups, maintain inclusive environments in writers' rooms, production offices, and on sets and more. In addition to discussing corporate best practices and programs, we will explore resources for executives who don’t have the benefit of a robust corporate infrastructure.


  • Maha Chehlaoui, Program Manager, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity
  • Angela Harvey, Writer & Co-Chair, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity
  • Jeanne Mau, Senior Vice President, ViacomCBS Global Inclusion
  • Raeshem Nijhon, Founder and Executive Producer, Culture House
  • Samata Narra, SVP, Enterprise Inclusion, WarnerMedia

Moderated by:

  • Jay Francis, Vice President, Current Series and Diversity, Disney Television Animation

We would like this event to provide you with concrete solutions and answers to your questions in this space. To that end, please submit any questions you may have for the panelists in advance here.

Can't make the event? No problem! This event will be recorded and you can watch on TelevisionAcademy.com the week following the event.

Resources Mentioned in the Discussion

ViacomCBS OGI Programs One-Sheet with links

WarnerMedia Global Access Writers Program with links

Writers: WriteInclusion.org
Writers/Directors: AmplifyDatabase.org
Composers: ComposersDiversityCollective.org
Below the line: Coming Soon from Array: ArrayNow.com (Launching Winter 2020)
NY / vendors: ESD.NY.com/film-tv-diverse-suppliers-directory
LA / Black owned film production resources: ThriftyRents.com

HBO: HBO.com/hboaccess
NBCU: NBCUniTips.com
Nick Animation Art: NickAnimation.com/artist-program
Nick Animation Writing: NickAnimation.com/writing-program
PGA: ProducersGuild.org
Sesame Workshop: SesameWritersRoom.org
Sony Pictures Television: SPTDiverseDirectors.com
Sundance: Sundance.org
Universal: UniversalTalentDevelopment.com
Viacom/CBS Writers: ViacomCBS.com/writers-mentoring-program
Viacom/CBS Directing: ViacomCBS.com/directing initiative
Viacom/CBS Emerging Directors: ViacomCBSViewFinder.com
Walt Disney Television: ABCTalentDevelopment.com
WarnerMedia Access Writers & Directors Programs **Coming Soon 2021**
WarnerMedia Global Access Writers Program (Canada): ACAcademy.com
WarnerMedia Global Access Directors Program (Canada) **Coming Soon 2021**
WBTV Writers Workshop: TelevisionWorkshop.WarnerBros.com/writers-workshop
WBTV Directors Workshop: TelevisionWorkshop.WarnerBros.com/directors-workshop


Hue You Know: HueYouKnow.com
Latino Reel: LatinoReel.com
Gold House: GoldHouse.org
Black Public Media: BlackPublicMedia.org
Black TV & Film Collective: BlackTVFilmCollective.org
Brown Girls Doc Mafia: BrownGirlsDocMafia.com
SAWIE-South Asian Women In Entertainment: SAWIE on Facebook
Noor Theatre: NoorTheatre.org
Article: Hollywood Reporter: 14 Notable Groups

Culture House: Culture.house/greenhouse
Storyline Partners: StoryLinePartners.com
Pass The Mic Media: PassTheMicMedia.com


Maha Chehlaoui

Maha Chehlaoui is the Project Manager for the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity (TTIE), an intersectional consortium of working TV writers committed to creating an equitable entertainment industry that tells more accurate and authentic stories. In addition to her work at TTIE, Maha is a creative producer and consultant who builds connections through narrative across multiple platforms.

Maha began her professional life as an actor, but in post 9-11 New York, the need for authentic Arab and Muslim American voices compelled her to quickly transition from actor to producer. Since then, Maha has helped identify talent and build infrastructure including Nibras Theater, The Arab American Comedy Festival, and the OBIE Award-winning Noor Theatre. She also develops online tools for clients in the arts, environment, and other advocacy spaces.

Maha is the founder of Pass the Mic Media and a co-Founder and former Executive Director of Noor Theatre. She transitioned from New York to Los Angeles via a fellowship from the Pop Culture Collaborative, spending a year talking to industry insiders about career pipelines for underrepresented writers, which opened the door for her joining TTIE.

Angela Harvey

Angela Harvey launched her writing career by creating an online trans media experience for the pop culture smash Teen Wolf. The success of that online experience earned Angela a Webby Award and a coveted spot in the writers' room on the MTV breakout hit show. After helping write and produce a hundred episodes of Teen Wolf, Angela went on to serve as a writer/producer on Salvation, a sci-fi show for CBS Television and Station 19, one of the latest offerings from Shondaland/ABC. She's currently developing new shows in partnership with 20th Television, Bad Robot, and I Am OTHER for Disney+.

As an independent filmmaker, Angela has directed three short narratives including Prom, which premiered at the 2020 Austin Film Festival, and she has written An Unlikely Friendship, a script about race and female friendship that will be her feature directorial debut.

Along with her work in entertainment, Angela is a long-time volunteer policy advocate with global anti-poverty agency CARE, and is proud to serve on the Board of Directors for CARE's political advocacy arm CARE Action. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writer's Guild of America's PAC and as co-chair of the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity (TTIE), a consortium of TV writers dedicated to expanding the voice and reach of underrepresented peoples in the entertainment industry.

Jeanne Mau

Jeanne Mau currently serves as Senior Vice President, ViacomCBS Global Inclusion. In this position, she oversees the ViacomCBS Diversity Writer's Initiative and Director's Initiative, part of the company's on-going Diversity Institute. The initiatives are designed to provide participants with access to key network decision makers in front of and behind the camera. As a committed advocate for new writers and directors she plays an integral part in helping to launch careers. In addition, she oversees countless workshops and shadowing mentorships throughout the year.

Prior to joining Diversity, Jeanne was Vice President, Current Programs, CBS Entertainment from 2009 through 2015. While there, she oversaw the creative direction of the CBS series NCIS, Two and a Half Men, and Criminal Minds. Working closely with acclaimed showrunners, she was responsible for maintaining the network's vision and needs on a day to day basis with these shows. Her responsibilities included approving story areas, treatments, scripts, casting and rough cuts. She was also involved with the ongoing marketing and promotions campaigns for each series.

From 2007-2009, Mau was Director, Current Programs, working on the comedies Yes, Dear, Still Standing, and The King of Queens, as well as dramas Cold Case, Close to Home, and Judging Amy. Mau began her career in the motion picture marketing department at Paramount Pictures. She is a graduate of The University of San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Business Administration.

Raeshem Nijhon

Raeshem Nijhon is Founder and Executive Producer of Culture House - a Black, Brown and Women owned production company and cultural consultancy - where she develops and produces film, television and events at the intersection of pop culture and politics. A Clio/Webby/Shorty winning Producer, Raeshem is committed to a deeply diverse "content supply chain" that centers the connection between those creating the work and the work itself. Select current projects include a doc-series about race and gender in America for Netflix with dream hampton and Troy Carter, a doc-series about Gen Z art and activism for Disney+ in partnership with Brie Larson, a doc series about Black hair and beauty with Tracee Ellis Ross and multiple feature documentaries with partners like The United Nations and artist Hank Willis Thomas.

Prior to Culture House Raeshem held multiple creative leadership positions including Executive Producer of Viacom's MTV World where she developed and ran nonfiction series such as Rebel Music, about youth using art for change in conflict zones, and The Music Experiment, featuring artists like Of Monsters and Men, Santigold and Arcade Fire.

She is a passionate advocate for women and girls, committed to educating women about sexual health and safety through a partnership with the NYU Department of Population Health. Raeshem sits on the Creative Council for EMILY'S List, the board for the New York Center for Communications and serves as a United Nations Global Accelerator Delegate.

Samata Narra

Samata Narra is senior vice president of Enterprise Inclusion, content strategy for WarnerMedia. She is responsible for building innovative tools and global systems across the company to help facilitate the advancement of equity and inclusion in our storytelling.

Prior to joining WarnerMedia, she was senior vice President of Comedy Development and Current Programming for FOX where she developed and oversaw live action and animated comedy series. While there, she had the pleasure of working with the creative forces behind The Last Man on Earth, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, Bob's Burgers, and The Mindy Project.

Samata also spent a part of her career in representation at Fineman Entertainment and The William Morris Agency. While at Fineman, she developed the series Lights Out for FX and produced the Emmy-nominated romantic comedy documentary, Meet the Patels.

She serves on the Board of Film2Future, a non-profit providing equitable access to the entertainment industry for underrepresented L.A. youth. Her other board works includes Colour Entertainment and South Asian Women in Entertainment (SAWIE).

Samata is a native of Pikeville, Kentucky and earned a bachelor's degree in Business Management and Marketing from the Boston University School of Management.


Jay Francis

Jay Francis is vice president, Current Series and Diversity, Disney Television Animation (TVA). He is responsible for managing the creative direction of production on current series for Disney TVA and working closely with the development and recruitment teams to identify, secure and mentor diverse creative talent for Disney TVA and Disney Junior.

Francis joined Disney TVA in 2007. During his tenure, he has overseen creative direction on a multitude of original animated series including Disney's five-time Emmy Award-winning "Phineas and Ferb," Emmy Award-nominated "Big City Greens," "Amphibia," and most recently the upcoming Disney+ original animated adventure movie Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe.

In his Diversity role, Francis has created an educational institutions program for which he regularly visits and speaks with students at key universities across the country as well as the country's prestigious art and animation schools. He also oversees the television animation studio's Apprentice Writers and Diversity Development Programs.

Prior to joining Disney TVA, Francis was vice president and general manager, Development and Acquisitions for Level 13, Film Roman's online animation distribution network.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Francis received a Bachelor of Science in television and film production from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Produced By

This event is presented and hosted
by the Television Academy.

Fill 1
December 09, 2020
Fill 1
5:00 pm PST



This event will be presented online. Details will be emailed to registered attendees prior to the event.

Click here for resources mentioned during the event.

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