Why Graham Media has put such an emphasis on gender diversity

In the lead up to the Local Media Association’s Media Transformation Conference in September, we’ll be featuring some of the biggest names and most relevant sessions.

As part of Media Transformation, a Women in Local Media Summit will be held. This inaugural event will tackle diversity and gender issues in the media industry in an honest, transparent and proactive way. We spoke with one of the headliners of the Women in Local Media Summit.

Catherine Badalamente, VP, Digital Media, Graham Media Group

Graham Media has a great reputation for its commitment to gender diversity. Why has it been so important for the company?

Graham Media and Graham Holdings (the former Washington Post Company) have a long history of believing in “the diversity of voices.”

 From Katharine Graham, former chief executive and board chair of The Washington Post Company:

“It is long-standing policy of the Post Company to enlist in each of its enterprises the best professional journalists we can find and give them a maximum of freedom in which to work. Each branch is operated autonomously. They compete vigorously with one another. They disagree on many issues. We think that the result is journalism of a high caliber that is notable for a diversity of voices on a wide range of public issues.”

 This culture has long existed in our company and leadership believes it is imperative to have a diverse group of people that allow for a diverse set of ideas, opinions and experiences. We need a diverse contribution from our employees in order to effectively serve our audiences. We must reflect the communities we serve.

What does it say about the company that 60% of the senior management executives are women?

This gender equality stat is something I am proud to be a part of. Unfortunately, this is rare in our industry.

Tell us a little about the company’s mentorship program:

It starts at the top. Our President and CEO, Emily Barr, is known in the industry and beyond as being the ultimate mentor. She is always willing to spend time with anyone and everyone–giving advice, looking at career development and training opportunities and providing valuable connections.

She sets the bar high. She also sets the tone for our company leadership to create and participate in programs that support the values of the company.

Graham has an unique internal leadership program called, “Boss School,” where according to Julie Dreixler, our VP and CHRO, it “helps to develop newly minted managers in a secure environment. Our company’s culture, philosophies and values are explained.”  Graham Media also participates in and strongly supports programs like the Emma Bowen Foundation.  

Is there a tip or two you could share that you think could help other companies have more of a commitment to gender diversity? 

Hire great people that have diverse voices, ideas, skills and backgrounds. Don’t hire everyone to look and think like you do.

Register for the Media Transformation Conference right here.