As Time Warner’s Vice President for Corporate Responsibility, Philanthropy, and Diversity, Yrthya Dinzey-Flores has the important responsibility of increasing access for diverse storytellers. For her, promoting a progressive culture of inclusivity is just another day’s work. Along with her team, she ensure the company understands the universe of people and cultures they reach every day by investing in the same people and the content they produce.
One business priority of Time Warner as a media and entertainment company is making sure they have a wide-range of diverse up-and-coming talent in the pipeline. To this end, in the last decade the company has redoubled efforts to assemble a workforce comprised of vibrant individuals who are passionate about discovering and elevating the kind of talent that aligns well with the company’s values. “We want new and original voices that resonate well with our many audiences,” explained the Puerto Rican-Dominican executive. “To identify talent effectively and develop diverse storytellers globally, we focus on ensuring our company’s employees are as diverse as the content we produce.” Time Warner has not only taken on this mission, it excelled at it and has been recognized with numerous awards and national recognitions for its commitment and visible achievements during the last ten years, including consecutively making the “Top 50 Companies” list compiled by DiversityInc., and the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign.
“People are at the heart of our business,” said Dinzey-Flores, referring to the audience and employees of the global media giant, where an important part of her mission is ensuring employees feel fulfilled by achieving the desired career growth they seek while leading healthy and balanced lives. “Our people are critical in fueling the creative content we produce through the unique backgrounds and perspectives they bring with them.” By championing diversity on the inside, they successfully advance the creation of content that is diverse and engaging on the outside.
When it comes to increasing diverse representation, this distinguished participant of the HACR Corporate Executives Forum™ (CEF) highlights the importance of active employee development. “We’ve done a number of development programs for women in the company and we’ve seen promotions and greater opportunities for women as a result.” Dinzey Flores says the company is also now undertaking the same effort for people of color. While things are still unfolding, the initial results only strengthen the company’s business case. “As of now, things look bright, so keeping the momentum going is critical.” While employee development programs show positive impact, she believes it is important to constantly keep an eye open for hidden talent in order to groom and elevate them professionally.
Investing in Personal Growth
For this seasoned leader with an “open door” policy, developing and empowering others on her team is one of her primary goals. However, she also knows that making time to invest in her own growth will continue to support her success and motivate other emerging leaders to be their best. According to Dinzey-Flores, this is why the HACR CEF is making a difference with its one-of-a-kind tools and resources designed for Hispanic executives scaling the corporate ladder.
“Programs like CEF create a very rare opportunity for executives to be in the same room with other like-minded professionals. In HACR’s CEF program, Hispanic executives share their wisdom and learn from others, many of whom have different experiences and backgrounds. Leaders can highlight their achievements, discover new opportunities, share concerns, and gain feedback in an open and welcoming forum”.
There is no question that for Dinzey-Flores, the value of meaningful connections and thought partnerships enjoyed during the CEF has made a mark in her career journey. “Our company was in the early stages of a corporate merger with AT&T,” Dinzey-Flores explained. “After a session focused on managing career challenges, I learned about how to manage the inevitable transition that would result from the acquisition. This was very useful for me , and I didn’t need to manage multiple schedules to gain these invaluable insights,” she added. She credits her participation in the program to her former colleague and mentor Lisa García Quiroz, who passed away earlier this year. “I specifically remember talking to Lisa, the first year I was with the company. She said: ‘I can’t believe you missed the CEF, it’s the most important event to attend for HACR.’ So from then on I knew not to miss it again,” Dinzey-Flores reflected fondly.
The Ripple Effect
After landing at Time Warner almost three years ago, Dinzey-Flores led a number of successful initiatives regarding the philanthropy, corporate responsibility, and diversity & inclusion policies of the company. Among the many initiatives, she is most proud of is being one of the very first companies to offer unconscious bias (UB) awareness trainings for team leaders in the company. “We partnered with UB expert, Dr. Mahzarin Rustum Banaji, to help our colleagues understand UB concepts, recognize limitations, and learn how to pivot them in order to remain effective and inclusive leaders,” she said.
At the Time Warner Foundation, she focuses on cultivating a vibrant artistic community by supporting emerging talent by partnering with organizations such as the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, and The Public Theater. “We’ve spent the last decade supporting world class nonprofits and creating lasting partnerships. We’ve sponsored fellows at Sundance, partnered with talented directors like Ryan Coogler, and did a number of multicultural business summits, creating a space for new talent to discuss their work while exploring new ways to support them,” she said. “We’ve met with so many wonderful creators who have gone on to lead successful projects,” she beamed.
The company even had the opportunity to meet with Lin Manuel Miranda before he went on to create Hamilton, the Broadway musical. Dinzey-Flores is pleased by the Time Warner’s collaborative creations, and notes that through its partnerships the company is able to offer diverse voices that its viewers are not used to seeing on TV or movies.
Undoubtedly, workforce diversity will continue to be a focus for the company as they continue to create compelling stories that appeal to global audiences. According to Dinzey-Flores, it’s all about casting a wider net, cultivating the importance of a diverse applicant pool, and looking beyond traditional recruiting grounds. This means looking beyond the Ivy Leaguers and recognizing potential talent. She believes it is necessary to look outside of your immediate network and bring in people who are different. Dinzey-Flores looks forward to working with her fellow colleagues to nominate promising employees to HACR’s Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers™(YHCA) program in the coming year. “There’s nothing quite like HACR out there. We want to continue heeding Lisa’s sound advice and ensure we are all taking advantage of these important programs.”