This October marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the British Broadcasting Company (later named the British Broadcasting Corporation) or the BBC. The BBC also has a commercial arm, BBCS which enables them to produce and distribute content and services for a global audience. Expectedly so, the BBC has shown exponential growth, particularly in diversity and inclusion.
The global media conglomerate is exceptionally forthcoming about its diversity journey. The workforce diversity and inclusion strategy state that they plan on hiring and promoting staff to reach 20% Black and ethnic leadership, up from just 13% in 2015.
Katie Brewer-Frankl is a shining example of the talent that emerges through deliberate diversity efforts. Brewer-Frankl is the Director of Production for Factual Entertainment and Events at BBC Studios. She currently leads the production and management business teams across multiple programming.
Major TV programs like ‘Top Gear,’ ‘Dragons Den,’ and the ‘Platinum Jubilee: Party at The Palace’ are all within Brewer-Frankl’s remit. The vivacious executive is passionate about bringing inclusivity to the on-screen and behind-the-scenes talent.
Read more about the life of the TV powerhouse and how she aims to pay her experiences forward.
BYP: What do you love most about your role?
Brewer-Frankl: I’m proud of the BBC as an institution. I’m grateful to work on shows I love and have been watching for years. We’re at a pivotal moment as an organization and it’s exciting to be in the thick of it.
BYP: What do you think are some misconceptions about your industry?
Brewer-Frankl: Many people think working in TV is very glamorous, but it takes some hard work, and there is a strong commercial model behind it. It’s called show “business” after all. It can appeal to people who aren’t solely creative but also have a business mind.
BYP: What are some challenges you faced?
Brewer-Frankl: It’s certainly an industry where relationships are key and that is not easy in the early days. There’s an unhealthy bit of “whom you know” to get in and rise up. It’s not a high-paying entry-level career either, so knowing no one and having no financial support was a real challenge, but also a real motivator for me.
BYP: What was it like working during the pandemic?
Brewer-Frankl: We are a creative industry where ideas are usually created in rooms with people in the flesh, so working virtually was challenging. Developing new talent you were not physically meeting was tough. What was wonderful was suddenly, a business that is so London-centric is now open to everyone, everywhere. We’re connecting with the broader industry.
BYP: What changes need to be implemented for us to see more Black senior managers and directors?
Brewer-Frankl: After Black Lives Matter, I realized I had been hiding a huge part of myself. As a mixed-race senior professional woman in this industry, I spent probably 20 years straightening my hair and trying to fit in with my colleagues. I’ve realised my diversity in this industry is a superpower, and I will use it. I now feel a strong sense of responsibility to be a role model for those around me, so I’ve started wearing my massive afro in the workplace and being visible authentically so that other people can see that they can rise through their organization too. The more you are visible, the more it opens opportunities for other people – diversity in leadership is aspirational.
If you would like to learn more about BBC Studios visit their BYP employer profile page here.