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The impact and benefits of a diverse workforce are immense. We employ artists and a production team from 100 + countries who speak more than 30 languages, and I’m proud that our team has more than 50 percent female leads. In building our team, I’m always looking for exceptionally qualified professionals, whose personal vision aligns with ours and can bring new insights to the work – because the people are our best asset. And every day that we learn something new from one another and expand our worldview, I’m truly inspired.
In my role, I ultimately want to hire the best person for the job, but I also see things through the lens of an African American man… so I created an environment that is diverse and open to new voices. I spend a lot of time talking with students about what I do and how I got here because young people need to see people who look like them and come from the same background. If I can inspire the next generation who didn’t think they could pursue this line of work, I have a responsibility to do that. I believer that cultivating different perspectives allows us to learn from each other culturally and artistically – and benefits the art that we create together.
Being the first woman to be named VFX Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic was a great privilege and a huge responsibility. I felt the weight of representing all women, all minority women, and the need to be not just good – but excellent. I’ve seen how implicit bias manifests, the looks of disbelief from crew and clients that I could be a supervisor…the unknown quantity that many people find hard to accept, because there are just so few of us. It is harder to get work as a female supervisor, but the obstacles have increased my resolve to do well in this business and share what I’ve learned with those coming up next.
I believe that diversity in VFX is a business imperative. We work globally and our work is consumed globally. Fundamentally, the people who create the work should be as diverse as our consumers. To those who say you have to sacrifice talent for diversity, I say absolutely not. You just need to find the right people – they are definitely out there. We all want to create fantastically beautiful visual effects and work with the most talented people in the world. That’s a given. But, if we could do that and increase the number of women in creative roles, that would be a huge value impact for all of us.
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