Empowering Women: Reflecting on Inspirational Figures and Promoting Inclusion in Celebration of Women's History Month and International Women's Day

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

We are motivated by this year's International Women's Day 2024 theme of #InspireInclusion as we celebrate Women's History Month. Held on March 8 every year, International Women's Day is a global celebration honoring the remarkable achievements of women. It is more than just a holiday; it is a call to action for inclusivity and gender equality. To further highlight this message, we engaged with industry leaders to reflect on the women who ignite their inspiration. Through our discussions, we breakdown the accomplishments that have been achieved within the industry and the ongoing challenges that persist, echoing the imperative to foster inclusion.

Meghna Krishna, CRO, Magnifi

At Magnifi, women hold key roles across every department, from C-suite positions to engineering to customer service. This intentional distribution ensures that our company remains balanced and that diverse perspectives are consistently represented and valued. 

We welcome dynamic individuals who thrive in an environment of excellence, problem-solving, and multitasking while contributing to the inclusion and empowerment of women at every level. While we work toward building diversity and a safe workspace, we are also conscious of maintaining a gender work balance, and all Ops team members work rotating shifts with equal time distribution and with no preference to gender. I believe this is equally empowering for women, and they need to be treated as equals.

Media technology has played a transformative role in democratizing the media industry, creating pathways for all underrepresented voices, including women, to enter and thrive in the field. By fostering an environment that encourages collaboration and networking, women can connect, share experiences, and collaborate on projects, which can help break down barriers and create pathways for career advancement. Moreover, women in leadership positions within the industry inspire others to pursue careers in media technology.

I have always pulled inspiration from a diverse array of women who have challenged the norm and broken glass ceilings. Starting with my mom, who set me on a path of constant learning and never accepting the usual, she was my biggest support during my formative years. Then, through school, teachers and mentors provided invaluable guidance and encouragement, instilling a passion for learning and personal growth. Today at Magnifi, I work alongside an amazing team of women across diverse age groups. Their determination, creativity, and leadership firsthand never cease to amaze me, and they challenge me with different perspectives and teach me new lessons that I’ll remember for years to come.

Shelly Berkovitz, VP Product Management, Pixellot

Pixellot’s commitment to inclusion is deeply embedded in our product mission, which aims to democratize sports production by making it accessible and equitable, with a strong focus on promoting women's sports and showcasing female athletes. We understand the transformative power of visibility in sports and are dedicated to ensuring that women's sports receive the same level of attention and resources as their male counterparts. 

Beyond our external mission, we are equally committed to fostering an inclusive culture within our organization. The sports technology sector has traditionally been male-dominated, but at Pixellot, we are actively challenging this norm. It is not just about making a statement; it's about living our values and proving that diversity and inclusion drive better outcomes for our products.

Companies can inspire more women to join them by creating inclusive technology as a magnet to attract them to the field. Media companies leveraging technology for inclusion are setting a powerful example that resonates with women. Utilizing AI and ML to combat biases in content algorithms, for example. Additionally, companies can champion technology's role in social impact. Positions in media technology that focus on social change are exceptionally appealing to women who are passionate about using their work to reflect diverse perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and drive meaningful societal progress. Finally, companies need to promote flexibility and diversity in the workplace. The media sector can have an inherent adaptability and project diversity, which provides opportunities for women to explore various roles, technologies, and content areas.

I find a deep well of inspiration in the women working within our R&D department. Their dedication paves the way for future generations of women in technology, particularly in a media sports technology company where such representation is crucial. These remarkable women are setting a sterling example for my two daughters and all the young girls who love sports, media, or have a passion for technology. It's a profound reminder that their dreams have no limits, and they too can be pioneers in tech innovation.

Hannah Robinson, Production Development Producer, dock10

At dock10, we’ve got several initiatives underway, both internal and external, to ensure inclusion. Internally, we recently set up our DEBI group, which stands for Diversity, Equality, Belonging, and Inclusion. We’ve already dealt with a few small issues, such as making sure we have inclusive toilet facilities, celebrating Black History Month, and setting up our own dock10 choir as a safe and inclusive space. Externally, we’re involved in the TV Access Project (TAP), led by our amazing Senior Client Services Coordinator Em Bell, and are now working our way through the list of adjustments we need to make to our facilities to make them as accessible, welcoming, and inclusive as they can be.

The media technology industry can inspire more women to enter it by being visible; being seen is hugely important. We need to encourage more women already working in the industry to showcase themselves. If you see someone like yourself on a panel or on a podcast, then you get the sense that you will belong there too, and you can fight against the imposter syndrome that takes root if you are the only one in the room. There are already some great initiatives out there, such as RISE and the Media Careers Podcast, and we hope to see others join them. We need to shout about women more and encourage women to shout about themselves too. 

We have some fabulous award-winning women at our company. In fact, there are loads of women in dock10 who make the place run successfully, but if I had to pick a couple, it would be Senior Post Producer, Kellie Sanders and Virtual Studio Developer, Aya Al-Bayati. They are such integral parts of their individual departments that their teams could not function without them, and we were all delighted when they won their recent awards. Partly that’s because it’s validation from their peers in the wider industry—we know they’re fabulous, and it’s great that others do too—but it’s all because it ties into what we were saying about making women visible, and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate them and their achievements.

Karolina Ostrowska, Deputy VP HR, Ateme

Ateme offers our employees an inclusive work environment where they can flourish professionally. We have defined a policy for professional equality, prevention of discrimination, respect for dignity at work, equal opportunities, and management of human resources based on skills and commitment.

This policy includes measures such as encouraging Ateme managers to pay particular attention to possible salary gaps between women and men in order to implement corrective measures and providing all Ateme employees with a Whistleblower Ethics Reporting Procedure that enables us to receive, record, and confidentially treat any report of unethical actions. This is designed to prevent and counter potential unethical situations, including gender-based or sexual discrimination.

What’s more, Ateme has put in place « Vendredi » - an engagement platform that enables our employees to participate in actions designed to have a positive impact on social and environmental issues. Through this platform, Ateme raises awareness and mobilizes our employees collectively for causes such as the integration of people with disabilities, gender equality, the promotion of diversity, equal opportunities, and the environment.

To inspire more women to enter the industry, the media technology industry can take actions that give more visibility to women, thereby providing role models for young girls. Such as getting women working in the industry to talk in schools about their jobs; ensuring that women talk in panels and presentations at conferences, events, and webinars; showcasing the women who are already in the industry on corporate and industry websites, in social media, and through industry awards.

Anaïs Painchault, VP Product, Compression & Processing, is certainly an inspiration at Ateme. She set up Ateme’s support and pre-sales teams in Latin America from scratch. Based in Miami, she recruited around 10 engineers from different Latin American countries, fostering a strong sense of belonging and rallying them around her values: excellence, mutual aid through sharing, and creativity enabled by openness, humility, and fun. The results followed, with an impressive 230% revenue growth in the region over two years.

Alexandra Maier, Director, Global Marketing & Communications Media Solutions + Intellectual Property, CGI

CGI is promoting its own “Wing Women” network, which offers a platform for exchange and learning as well as providing a mentoring program within the company. Additionally, as the Global Marketing Director of the Media segment, CGI allows me to dedicate some time to the RISE “Diversity in Broadcast” program as a European Board Member, helping to further promote diversity in the broadcast segment in the German-speaking markets.

As a board member of RISE, I strongly encourage every company in our industry to take advantage of the RISE network. They can participate as mentors and/or let talented females in their company become mentees to learn from others in the industry.

While the UK has established a large RISE community in recent years, the rest of Europe is catching up, appointing more board members for major markets. We work together, leverage our networks, and learn from each other, which is really inspiring.

An inspirational woman? I’d like to shout out to Sadie Groom, the CEO of Bubble Agency, who I work with on the PR side. She has founded the RISE network, and with this, she has put a stake in the ground for an initiative that is growing beyond borders and really makes a difference to our industry.

Amanda Kitchens, Marketing Manager, ProductionHUB

At ProductionHUB, we've made inclusion efforts in all parts of the business. One area that I will speak to is in our editorial planning and content calendar, for example, the "Diversity in Production" issue of our Newsletter and attending local student events. Inclusivity by its very nature takes effort from everyone in a community or a business to foster. We all have blind spots, so taking the time to deliberately carve out space for inclusion while planning is important. 

The media technology industry can take action to inspire more women to enter it by showing that the industry is sincerely listening to women, through consistent change. That means actionable steps towards increasing inclusion, like fostering strong female leadership, implementing mentorship programs for women by women, and ensuring equitable hiring and promotion opportunities that actively address company and industry gender imbalances. 

Drew Barrymore is a woman who inspires me. She's overcome so much hardship with grace, and most importantly, with kindness. She's a fantastic example of a woman who lifts up other women, and who isn't afraid to talk about the hard things that women go through in the media and entertainment industries. 

Rosa Sangeun Lee, Senior Marketing Specialist, XL8

At XL8, we are committed to fostering a workplace where every individual feels valued and respected, particularly highlighting the importance of women's contributions. We champion inclusion across all nationalities and genders, leveraging diverse perspectives to enhance decision-making and spark innovation. Contrary to the stereotype of tech companies being male-dominated, XL8 actively recruits women in senior positions from a variety of cultural backgrounds, including the US, UK, Turkey, and South Korea, demonstrating our dedication to breaking barriers and promoting gender diversity.

Given the balanced composition of society, where both men and women contribute equally to its fabric, it is worth noting that the media technology sector does not yet fully mirror this diversity. As a mother, I understand firsthand the significant influence the media has on shaping young minds and futures. I advocate for increased female representation and leadership within the industry to ensure the content we produce reflects diverse perspectives. This diversity not only enriches the media landscape but also serves our future generations well. Achieving gender equality in the media requires us to acknowledge and address the existing biases that favor men and to ensure women are afforded equal opportunities. By doing so, we can inspire more women to pursue careers in this dynamic field.

Leadership excellence transcends gender, is critical to effective communication, the ability to motivate and empower, and fosters a culture of continuous learning and loyalty. At XL8, we focus on leveraging AI-powered technologies to enhance efficiency in media entertainment localization and translation, a field where I am relatively new but deeply passionate about enhancing female representation in leadership roles. I believe that as media localization companies adapt to the AI revolution, embracing cutting-edge technologies to improve content delivery and diversity, we pave the way for more women to lead and innovate in the industry. My goal is to inspire my peers by contributing to this transformative journey, ensuring that women are at the forefront of shaping the future of media technology.

Gina Cunsolo, Channel Marketing Manager, Yamaha Unified Communications

Though much of the audio industry is male-dominated, Yamaha’s employee population features more women than the industry average, and 30% of Yamaha’s 2023 new hires were women. Yamaha sees the rich diversity of its people as a true strength and an endless source of new value creation for the organization. Further, in honor of International Women’s Day, Yamaha has rolled out an impressive initiative called “Women Who Make Waves 2024." This campaign celebrates women shaping the future of music and sound across the globe. These segments highlight female composers, educators, visual artists, marketing managers, producers, performers, and award-winning engineers. 

The media technology industry can take several actions to inspire women throughout the year, not just in March. Yamaha’s “Women Who Make Waves 2024” initiative is a great example of a company highlighting successful women already in the industry and inspiring others to pursue careers in media technology. Creating workplaces that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion and implementing policies that support work-life balance can also attract and retain women in media technology careers. Lastly, companies can establish mentorship programs and networking events where women can connect with industry professionals and provide valuable guidance, support, and access to opportunities.

Laura Madaio, Director of Marketing at Yamaha Unified Communications, inspires colleagues and industry members alike. Laura is the founder of "Grief Hungry," an organization dedicated to providing support and resources for those navigating the complexities of bereavement. Through Grief Hungry, Laura curates a range of resources, including podcasts, articles, and a recipe-sharing community featuring recipes inspired by loved ones who have passed. Laura's efforts have not only raised awareness about the need for longer bereavement policies in the workplace but have also inspired others to join her in creating a supportive community for those in need. Grief Hungry link:https://linktr.ee/GriefHungry

Sarah Koehler, Application Engineer, Clear-Com

Being inclusive is a way of life at Clear-Com. I think they are ahead of the game in achieving inclusion because they didn’t hire me to fulfill a quota, or so they could brag about hiring a woman. Don’t get me wrong, they were excited to have another woman on the team, but it really felt like they just hired me for me! They have been profoundly inclusive, to the point that I am left dumbfounded. The culture has been wonderful, and my team and Management all the way up to the President and CEO, have been so supportive. I was given a seat at the table on day one, and I’ve never been made to feel like I am the “girl” on the team or that I have to be “one of the guys” to belong. They appreciate me for who I am and what I bring, and they let me know that. It’s so much more than I ever expected when I started in this industry. I couldn’t ask for a more inclusive environment.

Justin Emge, Applications Engineering Manager, Clear-Com

Sponsor middle and high school students to go to a summer tech camp or offer high school and college students’ internships. Make learning about media technology more accessible so they can develop an interest early on. Meanwhile, continue to promote inclusion in the workplace so the environment is healthy and welcoming when they are ready to join the workforce.

You can’t overstate how amazing Sarah Koehler is, not only to Clear-Com as one of our leading Applications Engineers, but also as a woman that up-and-coming audio engineers aspire to be like. If you consider Sarah’s background before Clear-Com, she was a well-respected Audio Designer and Technician at The Walt Disney Company who won prestigious awards for the design of systems at various attractions. Her colleagues always raved about her acumen and ability to handle stressful situations, which in the end put her at the top of the list when Clear-Com was hiring the next Applications Engineer.

In the almost three years since joining the Clear-Com team, Sarah has continued to grow and show true leadership when it comes to supporting the customer. She truly is an inspiration to any young woman who wants to get into the world of audio and video, and we consider her to be an integral part of our total success.

Lorna Bains, Chief People Officer, Disguise

At the heart of Disguise's ethos is a culture of belonging. We work hard to ensure that every employee feels acknowledged, valued, and supported. We recognize the unique challenges women face, especially in a male-dominated industry, so we have introduced policies such as fertility and menopause-specific ones that offer tangible support, as well as shared parental leave. Disguise is also committed to supporting women and all employees through an internal mentorship program, where mentees are matched with senior leaders in the business to guide them. A culture like ours has resonated very positively with our employees and recruits, and I am very proud to say that in 2023 we will have reached an over 40% female headcount—a testament to our continuous efforts in pushing the boundaries and challenging industry norms.

In today's competitive business environment, a company's commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace isn't just commendable; it's crucial. The media technology industry in particular needs to understand that modern work demands modern solutions. This goes from flexible working policies, such as remote working choices, to internal mentorship programs and networking events. Ultimately, an industry that is historically male-dominated shouldn’t be investing in diversity only on paper but with actions, policies, and culture. 

Camilla Powell, Product Manager, is a great inspiration for everyone in the business, with over two decades of experience in media-related industries in both an engineering and product capacity, where innovation has been a consistent theme. With a career that has taken her from Sony Professional to Grass Valley, where she successfully delivered the Olympics in 2021 for Eurosport, Camilla is not afraid of taking on new challenges, most recently moving to Disguise to specialize in Virtual Production. During her time here, Cam has already led on a number of pivotal product developments, most notably Disguise’s integrations with Cuebric and Volinga, both spearheading Disguise’s growth into AI to simplify virtual production workflows. Besides her brilliant technical career, she is still a very present member of our mentor/mentee scheme and takes pleasure in and learns from her conversations with her mentees. 

Simon Green, CEO, Supponor

Supponor is committed to inclusion. Commercially, the growth of women’s sports over the last decade has highlighted some of the vast financial disparities between the genders when it comes to income. Supponor has now seen how women’s international football can embrace the same technology that has generated huge revenue streams for men’s football and will look to target the federations with powerful virtual advertising solutions that can create better gender income equality. Our commitment has always been to recruit the best person for the role in question, but in an industry that is predominantly managed and operated by men, the business now commits to recruitment processes that include applicants from both genders. This has led to new appointments over the last 12 months in a senior commercial role, event operations, software development, and deep tech AI/ML research that have materially benefited the business because of improved diversity.

Supponor believes that recruiting people based on their knowledge, education, and career instead of gender is key to industry due to impartiality, progress, and fairness. However, because the media technology industry is primarily led and occupied by men, there is room for positive discrimination in recruitment and industry marketing practices when attracting the best talent. Additionally, we would encourage the industry by embracing flexible working hours, genuine and accommodating mentoring and training opportunities, and bespoke projects that inspire more women to join.

Over the past 18 months, we have been fortunate enough to retain and bring amazing women into key roles in our business, including Dana Alonso as Head of Strategic Accounts for Spain and Portugal. Dana has changed the all-male culture and identity of the commercial team and helped Supponor manage its first use of virtual advertising in a women’s football match in Europe. 

The business has also pushed the boundaries in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and software development at our R&D facilities in Finland and France, and 50% of the new recruits to our technical staff in these locations over the past 18 months are women—a ratio that we are particularly proud of given the under-representation of women in STEM roles such as these in the media and broadcast industry and beyond.

John Wastcoat, SVP BD and Marketing, Zixi

Zixi believes that having diversity in our Executive and all functional teams brings greater depth and scope of experience, knowledge, and perspective, allowing for an ability to better relate to employees, clients, and prospective clients. One of the key initiatives has been adding flexible, inclusive, and competitive benefits that accommodate employees with variable life situations, which we believe will help Zixi stand out. The hiring team utilizes “Gender Decoder” for job descriptions and postings. We have a diverse interview team for all Zixi roles. We also spend a good deal of time exploring market salary data for roles within Zixi to remain competitive and equitable, conducting a pay analysis on frequency, and remediating any pay gaps. As a result, from 2021 to today, Zixi’s percentage of new hires who are women has increased from 9% to 20%. The company also proactively nominates our female employees for recognition through external awards like Rise and Built In’s Moxie Award. 

The industry needs to highlight successful women, their roles, successes, and career paths today, especially in less traditional female functions like engineering and executive positions versus marketing, where there is already credibility. Bringing successful women to college forums to speak about their positive experiences in the industry will be helpful as graduates prepare for their careers and are making life decisions. 

Alexandra Giusto is a rock star on the Zixi field sales team who always has the customer’s interests first in mind, and they love her for it. She is consultative, understanding the pain points and working across cross-functional groups to customize and provide solutions for each deployment. In a predominantly male-dominated field, she has delivered creative, live IP video offerings to customers such as Comcast, Echostar, FuboTV, Estrella Media, and most recently FOX Corporation. She is also on a women’s leadership board at University Colorado Springs, shaping the curriculum of the women’s leadership program, and a mentor at UC Boulder for the business school, helping female senior figures navigate the professional world after graduation. 

Mike Ward, Head of Marketing, Singular.live

Singular is the most accessible graphics platform on the planet since it is entirely browser-based and free to sign up for. Since 2019, we have been running a Singular for Good initiative that gives free pro-grade accounts to schools and nonprofits, although due to the popularity of this, we have had to pause new admissions until we can support them all. Graphics is one of the most common entry points into our industry, and our hope is that by making Singular so widely and freely available, we will provide access to a much wider, more diverse range of people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to such tools. They then have the means to teach themselves and get started in our industry. We believe accessibility supports and enables inclusivity.

There is no quick, easy way for the media technology industry to attract more women, but groups like Rise are already doing the work. Employers need to be more active in recruiting a more diverse range of people, including women, so that, as an industry, it is more appealing to those people. We should be reviewing our recruitment processes—why do so many employers still require a degree, for example? We should be doing more apprenticeships and making more use of flexible and remote working as a positive means for recruiting people who might not otherwise be able to apply. More women are coming into our industry than ever before, but we are playing catch-up from a really low base. Too often, panels are still filled with white middle-aged men, which doesn’t exactly send out a good message. So our industry needs to work together and collaborate to change the narrative and make the progress we have to make. 

Suzanne Sharman is a brilliant example of someone who came to work for us from another industry entirely. After joining, she set about training herself in new areas, learning how to code and use javascript, and much more, in order to expand her skillset. She has immersed herself in our industry and is a crucial and highly regarded member of the team, both by colleagues and clients. In a relatively short amount of time, Suzanne has become one of the most effective and talented Singular designers, delivering projects for international clients including DAZN, Sky, J League, and ESPN.

Paul Calleja, CEO and CTO, GlobalM

GlobalM actively aims to ensure that women have equal access to training opportunities and makes sure that we follow non-discriminatory hiring and promotion practices. We also advocate for gender diversity in leadership positions; our new Head of Global Sales, Sara Salvanés, being a good example of this. 

The industry should establish more family-friendly policies, such as flexible working hours, parental leave, and affordable childcare facilities. And, of course, the industry as a whole is still a long way from reaching actual equal pay. I also believe we need to get better at combating gender-based discrimination, especially in bullying and harassment situations. A simple way to start doing that is by giving women a safe space to be open about their challenges and how we can support them. 

Our newly appointed Head of Global Sales, Sara Salvanés, is an inspiration to all of us. She brings a wealth of commercial and strategic insights from her experience in the Broadcast and Media industry, working for companies such as Eurovision, Vivaro Media, and MediaPro. Sara is results-driven and committed to building collaborative partnerships and exploring new business opportunities. Her background and skill set perfectly align with our goals, and we can already see the positive impact that she will have on GlobalM's growth.

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