Diversity Reboot Summit

Behind the Scenes: The Strategy Behind Diverse Storytelling at STARZ

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Behind the Scenes: The Strategy Behind Diverse Storytelling at STARZ

There is growing interest and pressure from policymakers, civic leaders and the public for Film and Television programming that speaks to the many demographics and perspectives that make up America's viewership. Many media companies are smartly beginning to heed the call, but still have a long way to go. One network that has prided itself on telling diverse stories and has distinguished itself for walking the talk is Starz. Known for some of its hit shows like Power, P-Valley and Vida, which targets a Black and Brown audience. The network has also gained recognition for the strong female-centric plots found in Outlander and The Spanish Princess. Join us for a candid chat with executives of color at STARZ about creating a corporate culture of inclusion and the strategy that has made STARZ an industry leader in diverse storytelling. Speakers will include Daria Overby, Executive Director, Creative Diversity; Jamila Daniel, Chief Diversity Officer and SVP, HR; Juan Alfonso, SVP, Original Programming Development; and moderator Tirrell D. Whittley, CEO of Liquid Soul and Member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Sponsored by MMCA and Starz.

Meet The Speakers

Daria Overby
Daria Overby
Executive Director, Creative Diversity and Inclusion, Starz
Daria Overby is Executive Director of Creative Diversity and Inclusion for Starz. She serves as strategic partner and ambassador in supporting and executing the company’s ongoing commitment to Inclusive Culture. Ms. Overby leads the company in all facets of creative diversity outreach, providing opportunities for the underrepresented voices via events and activities that showcase our diverse creative talent. She has developed a strong network with other studios, programs, and creative talent including writers, directors, industry organizations, guilds and advocacy groups. Overby creates, establishes and oversees the talent diversity program by collecting, screening and managing the submissions process and procedures. Prior to joining Starz in 2015, Overby served as Comedy Development Director and VP of Talent Relations for Home Box Office.
Tirrell D. Whittley
Tirrell D. Whittley
CEO of Liquid Soul and Member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and

Tirrell D. Whittley is a filmmaker, entrepreneur and the visionary media executive leader of LIQUID SOUL. Since founding the company in 2001, it has grown into one of the nation’s leading brand marketing agencies specializing in advertising, marketing, social media and publicity for entertainment, sports and corporate brands. Recognized as an expert in millennial and multicultural marketing, Mr. Whittley has become a trusted advisor for brands looking to find impactful ways to target consumers. As a filmmaker, Mr. Whittley executive produced the documentary film, COPWATCH which premiered during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Additionally, he is a producer of the Aretha Franklin themed music documentary film AMAZING GRACE and Executive Producer of the feature film BRIAN BANKS starring Aldis Hodge, Sherri Shephard, Greg Kinnear and Morgan Freeman. Among his many distinctions, Mr. Whittley is a 2019 NAACP Image Award Winner, member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences, recognized as the Atlanta Business League’s “Entrepreneur of the Year”, Florida A&M University’s “School of Business & Industry (SBI) Hall of Fame” Inductee and is lauded among the Who’s Who in Atlanta and Atlanta Tribune’s “Top 25 Architects of Success”. Mr. Whittley is a cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He is an ordained deacon in his church and resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two daughters.

Jamila Daniel
Jamila Daniel
Chief Diversity Officer, Lionsgate & SVP Human Resources Starz

Jamila was recently promoted to the role of Chief Diversity Officer for the entire company. In this expanded role, she will partner with the company’s leadership team to effect organizational changes in policy and culture that lead to a more diverse and inclusive workplace which ensures an equal path to success for all employees. She will lead a newly-formed Diversity Leadership team that will orchestrate company-wide strategies to realize structural and sustainable change. Daniel also serves as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Starz, consulting with business unit management to strategically plan and process the development of HR strategies that support the company’s goals for its employees. Prior to her role at Starz, Jamila was the Vice President of Human Resources at Crown Media Family Networks (The Hallmark Channels) where she developed strategic human capital solutions. Daniel provided leadership and direction across all HR functions including HR Operations, Employee Relations, Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, Compensation and Organizational Development. Daniel also provided full-spectrum HR support for the subsidiary production Home & Family. Before moving on to Starz, Jamila was partnering with internal stakeholders to facilitate an organizational transformation into a culture of continuous feedback. At Crown Media Family Networks, Jamila spearheaded Talent Acquisition which included developing a talent acquisition strategy focused on diversity.

Juan Alfonso
Juan Alfonso
SVP of Original Programming, Starz

Juan Alfonso is an SVP of Original Programming at Starz, where he works on new development and current series for the network. Alfonso spent seven years at Disney/ABC Studios, where he developed the Emmy-winning American Crime from Academy Award winner John Ridley; Marvel’s Agent Carter; Secrets & Lies starring Juliette Lewis and Ryan Phillippe; and Grand Hotel produced by Eva Longoria. In 2019, he left the company to serve as Executive Producer on the sci-fi drama Emergence, which aired on ABC last year. Previously, Alfonso led new content development and production for ESPN International, overseeing the launch of new documentaries, scripted programs and selected studio shows across 5 continents. This included the network’s first foreign language scripted series, El Diez; as well as documentaries like The Clemente Effect and L’Arbitre, winner of the United Nations prize at New York Festivals in 2010. As a playwright, he wrote An Educated Guess, a play about the modern immigration experience developed at Steppenwolf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop. He is currently writing two plays in residency at the Geffen Playhouse’s Writers’ Room program. Alfonso is a member of Children’s Bureau, an organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. His passions include his family, traveling, playing guitar and of course, soccer.