Sesame Workshop has appointed Rosemary Palacios as director of talent outreach, inclusion and creative development. In this newly created role, she is focused on incorporating a company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategy into all areas of content development and production.
This includes idea generation, scripting, visual development, and creative/voice-over talent. Palacios also directs the organization’s Writers Room and mentors fellowship participants.
“A big part of diversity and inclusion is also equity, and it’s important to keep in mind that not every marginalized group is coming to the table with the same access, education or training that the majority might have,” Palacios says. “The barriers of entry to get into the media space can be very high, and so hiring a token minority just so you can check a box and fulfil a requirement isn’t going to really help if you’re not giving them what they need for success.”
Before joining Sesame in March, Palacios served as manager of global talent development and inclusion for NBCUniversal Media, where she helped build the Universal Animation Writers Program to identify and develop an inclusive talent pool.
Palacios also spent seven years with Nickelodeon in a number of roles, including senior development manager. While there, she was the executive in charge of Shimmer and Shine, and served as development executive on Corn & Peg.
Sesame Workshop also recently 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, and now focuses on driving all of the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, starting with a full review of business practices—including vendor selection, hiring and staff development.
In addition to focusing on diversity and inclusion behind the scenes, Sesame Workshop is also working to make changes on screen. The not-for-profit recently launched the “ABCs of Racial Literacy” content package as part of its Coming Together program, which is designed to provide tools, spark conversations and support kids as they grow into allies and advocates. The content package features original music, short-form content and social media resources that focus on providing kids with age-appropriate strategies to address questions around race and racism.