Sargent-Disc celebrated International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8th March. A day, globally dedicated to recognising the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The team marked the occasion with several internal events including an inspiring ‘In conversation with Theresa Wise, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Royal Television Society (RTS).
Introduced by Director Lara Sargent, Theresa discussed her career – starting out studying Classics at Oxford University – working part time as a film critic – to her current role, leading the RTS and spearheading its support for diversity within the industry. Over the last decade, she has driven a series of dynamic annual awards that honour excellence in television production, journalism, tech and craft, alongside an annual events programme that consistently explores important issues within the industry.
Having held senior roles at British Satellite Broadcasting, Deloitte, Accenture and Disney, Theresa shared insights around the phenomenal technological and cultural changes that have taken place over her thirty-year career, when few women were in the board room. Despite wishing, in retrospect, that she had pushed harder for some of the tough gritty jobs that were automatically allocated to men, Theresa commented that being one of the few women in senior decision-making roles automatically gave her a higher visibility than male colleagues. So, it had advantages and disadvantages. Cable and then broadband technology have revolutionised the broadcast industry during her career, increasing competition and distribution opportunities and forcing the TV industry to adopt a feature film marketing-type of spend to be noticed.
On the subject of maintaining a life/work balance, Theresa reflected that there is no perfect formula. Sometimes long hours are a necessity. However, expectations are changing and the culture of working weekends and evenings is becoming more balanced.
Focusing on her current role as CEO of the Royal Television Society, Theresa shared a few of her favourite moments. In particular, the RTS’ 90th birthday in 2013 which was celebrated with HRH King Charles launching the RTS Bursary Scheme to foster talent; the inspiring acceptance speeches of industry talent such as Jeremy Paxman and Clive Myrie when receiving their Outstanding Contribution to the TV Journalism Awards. She is also immensely proud of the biennial Cambridge Convention – the most recent of which featured Gareth Southgate’s uplifting talk about leadership.
Sargent-Disc would like to thank Theresa for taking the time to share with the team, her fascinating journey and her last 10 years as CEO at the RTS.