Interview with Joanna Abeyie

EiDA16 Winner

Diversity Champion Award for Private

Joanna launched Shine Media in 2009 while studying for her Masters in Journalism. She identified a crucial need to support underrepresented and diverse talent to gain access into jobs within the creative industries. Today, Shine Media is a training and recruitment agency for diverse talent, and has become a key diversity partner for ITV, ITN, Channel 4, Pearson PLC, BBC, The Guardian and Pact. Joanna is regularly at the centre of the diversity agenda and conversations around inclusion and representation, and is often called upon to steer, lead, create or participate in established industry events or radio and TV discussions about diversity issues. Following the success of a nationwide mentoring scheme called MagNet, Shine Media, in association with the Professional Publishers Association, has continued to run a number of accredited training courses, careers events and recruitment support. As a result, the company has placed hundreds of people in senior and junior level job roles in companies such as ITV and Channel 4.

We spoke to Joanna after she won The Diversity Champion Award for Private at The Excellence in Diversity Awards 2016. Here is was she said…

What were your thoughts after winning The Diversity Champion Award for Private?

I was really happy!I was really inspired and honoured that I was the one chosen to actually win the award. Everyone in my category was so inspiring. The whole evening was lovely and full of positivity; I think everyone left feeling really encouraged. I felt very proud of myself and everyone else in attendance.

How did you feel about the other shortlisted nominees in your category?

They were brilliant! All of the work they’ve done is amazing. I thought they were fantastic and really getting to the heart of a number of diversity challenges and taking practical steps to make measurable and authentic impact. It was great to see so many shortlisted nominees doing work across all strands of diversity as well.

What impact do you think your work is having on the private sector, especially within the creative industries?

I feel the work I am doing; specifically, with Shine Media is increasing awareness of the importance of diversity and we are literally increasing diversity at all levels. I feel that our various diversity and inclusion interventions are helping creative business to really think differently about talent and become organisations that engage with diverse range of talented individuals who can help contribute to the success of their business.

I think as an industry we still have a long way to go and my job isn’t easy. But I’m very proud that Shine Media is doing what it set out to do, we just aren’t at the finish line yet.

Excellence in Diversity Awards 2016

Excellence in Diversity Awards 2016

After winning the award, what is your next step?

Just to expand and to do more to increase diversity and inclusion within the creative industries. At the moment I’m working on formal, accredited and industry approved courses that will increase diversity within the wider industry by providing individuals with various challenges with the skills to become competitive in the employment market.  What I think business need to work closely with the likes of Shine Media and similar organisations to help them to become an attractive business to all.

Why do you think it is important to champion diversity?

All industries are relying highly on consumers. So it is important to recognise that the consumers are so diverse! It’s important to tailor our services so that we reflect the society we live in today. 

Everyone has a valuable voice and comes from a different back ground, has a different race, religion, preference.  It’s important that we encourage diversity across everything we do. There is also a major commercial gain from this as well for businesses. A business is only as good as it’s people, likewise you only serve all of those in society by becoming a diverse workplace.

What were your thoughts on the awards? Did you enjoy the night?

It was brilliant! I think you should have The EiDA’s twice a year! I know you have The National Diversity Awards but It was great to see a range of great ventures being celebrated for the work they do. The team should be very proud, it was done properly and it was great to see the array of diverse talent!

Return to 2016 Winners

adminInterview with Joanna Abeyie