A+Es human resources chief
leads push for inclusion
BY DIEDRE JOHNSON
In executive years, Karen Gray is a newbie.
The former attorney joined A+E as executive VP of
human resources in summer 2019. Coming to A+E,
which includes Lifetime, meant bringing not only her
legal chops but her analytical and people skills.
Those skills include everything from data analysis to offering support to network rising stars, such as two Black women podcasters. “They just called and said, ‘Let’s chat; so having a job where you can just sit for a while and chat with talented people is really exciting~ Gray says.
Gray is aware of just how important diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is to Lifetime – and to herself, having lived in neighborhoods, attended schools, and worked at jobs where she was one of the few Black people. Those experiences, some of which she calls “very good” while others were “very difficult.” are her motivation for wanting to create a path that focuses on “fairness” and “comfortable environments” for everyone.
“Karen is a force,” says Kannie Yu LaPack, Lifetime’s senior VP of publicity. public affairs and social media. “She has only been with A+E Networks for a short time. but she has made incredible strides in ensuring diversity and inclusion are on the forefront of everything we do at the company, including who we employ and who we hire to create our content”
Setting up executive committees around diversity, establishing companywide diversity goals, and publishing the company’s DE! statistics on the corporate website in the first diversity report are among the projects implemented by Gray.
I-laving such programs in place move the network’s DEI goals forward. but Gray applauds its long tradition of working with first-time executive producers and directors. “Lifetime was offering people that chance, to build a portfolio, to tell their stories, to get trained to be successful,” she says.