What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am currently working as a TV Executive at BET Networks which is pretty much like being a Film Executive (which I did for many many years at Disney ) only the scripts are shorter but the work is equally as rewarding. I majored in Journalism at USC but during my Senior year I realized that I no longer had interest in producing stories about how things are, I really wanted to produce stories about how things could be. This of course led me on the path to becoming a film/tv executive, LA Times best selling author, and fingers crossed, a produced Playwright.
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
Finding too many talented writers and directors and not having enough work to offer them. There is nothing quite as rewarding as helping a talented and deserving individual realize their dreams.
What is your proudest achievement?
Being a part of the team that helped launched BET successfully into the scripted the arena. We started out with The Game, Let's Stay Together and now we have Being Mary Jane, Real Husbands of Hollywood, and the soon we will be premiering The Start Up starring Diggy Simmons.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
Neil deGrasse Tyson and QuestLove are my current flavors of the month-both are out of the box thinkers and immensely good at what they do. Old school/classic choices would have to be Alexandre Dumas (hence my twitter handle dumas2TTG) and Harriet Tubman.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I'm open to whatever the future brings, I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to wear many different hats throughout my career and managed to carve out a nice living while producing thoughtful, meaningful content. I pray that I can continue doing so right up until the very end.
What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
Know your truth-but that doesn't mean you always have to express it. It's a very fine and delicate line to walk and it is still a lesson I learn and re-learn on a daily basis. Yes it is important to speak up at certain times, but you can't speak up EVERY time. Learn how to pick your battles, and when you do decide to battle, fight fairly, know when hold, and yes, when to fold, and most of all, be prepared for the consequences that will surely follow.
Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
I wish I did have a mentor when I first entered the business but luckily there were a lot of PAID internships and so I was able to find my way without struggling too hard. Unfortunately that is not the case in anymore, so I make a special effort to assist/mentor as many young people as I can. I guess being a mentor is similar to having a really good work out-when those endorphins kick in there is no better feeling in the world. I view it a personal badge of honor to be in a position to help others make their marks in Hollywood.