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Anzio Williams: Driving Change in the Industry

July 25, 2022

Anzio Williams, SVP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at NBCUniversal Local has 28 years of broadcast journalism experience. He is the recipient of nine Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement, Best Newscast, Breaking News and Continuing Coverage, and a member of the news teams honored with six Edward R. Murrow and two George Foster Peabody Awards. Anzio was recently featured in an interview for TVNewsCheck where he talks about how his past experiences have prepared him for his DE&I executive role and how he is helping to advance diversity and inclusion across NBCUniversal’s television stations and regional sports networks. Learn more about Anzio below.

Q: You have nearly three decades of broadcast journalism experience and now lead diversity and inclusion efforts across NBCUniversal Local. How did you transition from leading newsrooms to your current role, and has DE&I always been an area of interest?

A: “Diversity, equity and inclusion is part of my DNA. As a Black man, I’ve used every opportunity available to me to make DE&I a business priority and an essential daily practice in every meeting and in every decision. From helping newsrooms improve the way communities of color are portrayed in the news to creating programs and pipelines to hire and retain more diverse talent, DE&I has always been and continues to be my North Star."

“My current role reflects the work that I did unofficially for years at NBCU Local – advising the stations on DE&I strategies."

“Now, instead of being in the newsroom every day overseeing our news programs, I look across all of our stations and regional sports networks to analyze what our audiences are seeing – and most importantly not seeing – so I can help the stations better integrate DE&I and make sustainable, long-term changes.”  

Q: Mentorship is another common theme in your professional journey. You’ve mentored and coached numerous colleagues and journalists throughout your career. Why is mentorship so important to you?

A: “I am where I am thanks to my work ethic and the many people who have mentored, sponsored, and championed me throughout my career. To clarify, there is a difference between all three roles.”

“Mentoring is the first step of coaching and supporting someone throughout their career. As a sponsor, you are fully vested in the person’s long-term success. For instance, you open doors that would’ve otherwise been closed to them, you expose them to decision makers and the innerworkings of business, and you help to prepare them for important interviews. Lastly, to have a sustainable impact, we have to be champions of others, which means co-signing or putting your name on the line for someone to receive that promotion. When we are champions for our colleagues – and specifically those who may be overlooked – they too will be champions for others. This is how you create an infinity effect for DE&I in the workplace.”

Q: What is an important lesson you’ve learned in your career that has influenced the way you lead?

A: “Over the years I’ve regularly seen organizations where the leadership is pretty homogeneous as well as those in hiring panels, which resulted in them essentially hiring themselves. I learned a lesson from that. Since people are inclined to like people that are similar to them—whether it is the thought process, how they look, etc. I have been intentional about not hiring my replica, making sure that there is contrast in the hiring process. That contrast is what makes the editorial process in a newsroom work, when you have a diverse group of people around you.”

Q: What changes would you like to see in the media industry?

A: “I am encouraged by the growing number of diverse people in leadership, decision-making, and hiring roles in our industry. Having those diverse voices, ideas, and thoughts at the table means a lot."

“As it relates to inclusion, to have people of color at the table and not value our thoughts and opinions is performative. Diversity is a long-term plan that is implemented over months and years. Inclusion has to happen in the moment, right now, today. Inclusion is what we can work on today to have immediate impact."

“I challenge everyone to identify daily opportunities to include someone different, unlike yourself in a meeting, in a conversation, in decision-making. My hope is that we understand the difference between diversity and inclusion, and we work on both simultaneously.”