Sesame Workshop has promoted Wanda Witherspoon into a brand-new role as chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.
Witherspoon previously served as VP of public affairs and special events, but she will now focus on driving all of the not-for-profit company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Reporting to CEO Steve Youngwood, she’ll start with a full review of current business practices—including vendor selection, hiring and staff development—with an eye to making them more inclusive and equitable.
Sesame Workshop plans to keep on tackling social and racial injustice with its content, and the goal with Witherspoon’s promotion is to set an example in its business operations as well, according to a press release.
Witherspoon has been with the company for 20 years, and previously managed events and public appearances made by its talent and executives. She also worked as an assistant VP of corporate events, social impact and philanthropy. But most recently, Witherspoon co-led an internal committee responsible for sharing information with senior leadership about how to to improve diversity, inclusivity and equity.
There has been an increased focus on diversity and inclusion in the kids entertainment industry since George Floyd’s death last year. Several broadcasters—including ViacomCBS, the BBC and ABC Australia–are making diversity behind the camera an integral component of their greenlighting process.