NBCUniversal today earlier this week that Janine Jones-Clark has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Inclusion – Talent & Content, NBCUniversal Film, Television and Streaming. Jones-Clark will retain oversight of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG)’s diversity, inclusion and equity strategies, and will add NBCUniversal’s entertainment, streaming and television studio teams to her purview. She will continue to report to UFEG Chairman Donna Langley, and will also now report to Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, and Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group. Jones-Clark will work across the Company’s content portfolio to cultivate and amplify programs that attract and retain an inclusive talent pool on-screen, behind the camera, and within its workforce.
Most recently, Jones-Clark was Head of Inclusion – Talent and Content for UFEG. She joined UFEG in 2017 to launch Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI), a first-of-its-kind diversity and inclusion department for the feature film industry and the only that delves into both creative and workforce. Over the last three years, Jones-Clark and her team have originated programs and initiatives building upon UFEG’s commitment to telling stories with multi-cultural, global perspectives. GTDI’s leadership in this space has led to positive institutional change across the Studio, with wide-reaching benefits that have rippled across the entire industry.
“Janine and her team have elevated Universal’s inclusion efforts with a focus on increasing diverse storytelling and creating industry-first opportunities for underrepresented voices,” said Langley. “As a direct result of Janine’s leadership, we have more inclusive voices in our industry who are leading the way. I am thrilled that she will be uniting the content portfolios, continuing to drive progress and develop strategy for systemic change that benefits our organization and the broader media landscape.”
“We’ve admired the initiatives that Janine has cultivated with Donna at UFEG and are excited to bring her expertise to the entire NBCUniversal Entertainment portfolio,” said Lazarus and Igbokwe in a joint statement. “We are committed to supporting the next generation of changemakers and storytellers, ensuring diversity in our workforce and on our productions, and providing access to our industry through mentorship and training programs. With Janine’s expertise, and a collaborative strategy across our businesses, we can further impact our culture in a positive and meaningful way.”
Since its launch, GTDI’s programs and initiatives have shown consistent growth that has led to real institutional change across the Studio and throughout the industry. Some of these programs include an inclusive writers program, a directors initiative, a first-ever animation writers program for film and television across Illumination, DreamWorks Animation and Universal 1440 Entertainment, and a first-of-its-kind composers initiative, which remains the only initiative for up and coming talent in the music production space. GTDI now has nearly 100 alumni and current talent in their programs and initiatives, with forty percent having secured production credits, and fifty percent of those produced credits within NBCUniversal. Additionally, workforce initiatives at UFEG include pipeline programs with a focus on early career recruiting from underrepresented communities, identifying diverse executives from outside the Company for its hiring managers and a dedicated internal leadership development program. In answer to the urgent call for social justice and racial equity, UFEG most recently launched the multi-tiered workforce initiative Universal Voices with the goal of creating an inclusive and equitable culture, where individuals from all backgrounds can succeed and thrive.
Jones-Clark’s role will expand to include diversity efforts for the Company’s television divisions, Universal Studio Group, which is comprised of Universal Television, Universal Cable Productions and NBCUniversal International Studios, as well as NBCUniversal’s entertainment and streaming businesses, including Peacock, NBC, USA Network, SYFY, E!, Bravo, Oxygen and Universal Kids.
She will now oversee the current television diversity efforts that include NBC and Universal Television’s longstanding Talent Infusion Programs that have launched the careers of acclaimed producers, writers, directors and actors in the industry over the past 20 years. These initiatives are amongst the most robust in the television industry and include Female Forward, which aims to achieve gender parity in the director’s chair, the Emerging Director Program, Alternative Directors Program, Writers on the Verge, the first-of-its-kind Late Night Writers Workshop and the StandUp NBC nationwide search for diverse comedians. Furthermore, her purview will include Universal Cable Productions’ Annual Pitch Fest, Flip the Script and incubator programs, such as the recently announced Latinx Talent Lab, in partnership with writer-producer Tanya Saracho. Collectively, the program alumni from these intiatives have gone on to win Emmys®, Golden Globes® and SAG Awards®. Familiar names include Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling, Deon Cole, Nisha Ganatra, Lil Rel Howery, Keto Shimizu, Natasha Rothwell, and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel.
Both the film and television production businesses have on-set diversity workforce training programs that provide mentorship, access and experience to those interested in honing technical skills and pursuing below-the-line positions.
Jones-Clark said, “With Donna’s unwavering support of me and GTDI’s mission and the ongoing partnership with NBCUniversal Chief Diversity Officer Craig Robinson, I look forward to working closely with Mark and Pearlena across the portfolio to deepen our leadership within the industry. This new alignment reflects NBCUniversal’s commitment and strategic vision, by not only creating more opportunity across the portfolio to help underrepresented talent achieve career momentum, but it will also break down barriers for a new pool of talent to be introduced to both production and our workforce. The success we have seen at UFEG is a direct result of Donna, the senior leadership and our filmmakers actively leaning in with a drive to do business differently and bring about sustainable change, and I am thrilled to continue driving progress for NBCUniversal.”