BEN Commits to Improving Diversity in the Entertainment Industry; Appoints New Vice President, DE&I and Strategy
Vanessa McCullers will lead the company’s DE&I program, extending strategic initiatives and continuing to drive company culture forward
SHERMAN OAKS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#advertising—BEN, the entertainment AI company that integrates brands into influencer, streaming, TV, music, and film content, today announced the expansion of its DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) efforts. As part of its vision for a more equitable and inclusive workplace, BEN promoted Vanessa McCullers to Vice President, DE&I and Strategy. Additionally, the company is launching several new measures to augment its existing DE&I efforts. BEN’s ultimate goal is to improve diversity and inclusion within the company and across the organizations and individuals it works with.
Since its inception, BEN has been dedicated to empowering and uplifting the voices of diverse creators through entertainment. Over the last year, the company has extended these efforts to external stakeholders with the hope of inspiring change across the industry. McCullers’ promotion to VP, DE&I and Strategy comes at a time of rapid growth for BEN, following a record-breaking year across its business and increased investment in DE&I. In her new role, McCullers will spearhead the continuation of BEN’s DE&I and strategic initiatives, focusing on cultivating an inclusive company culture and building relationships with diverse talent both internally and externally. Most recently, McCullers served as BEN’s Director of Strategy & Business Development for its product placement division.
In tandem with McCullers’ appointment, BEN is expanding several DE&I programs across the company. These include both internal and external strategies, such as implementing new hiring practices and third-party partnership programs, to diversify the entertainment industry and empower BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) within BEN’s organization. McCullers will continue to build on BEN’s foundational initiatives around DE&I, including:
- Connecting brands with a diverse group of content creators across the entertainment ecosystem, helping each organization engage with a wider, more representative audience.
- Forging relationships with associations like AfroTech and Diversity Hire, as well as recruiting from a broader set of universities and colleges, to tap into diverse talent pools for hiring.
- Seeking out partnerships with small businesses owned by BIPOC and women.
- Launching a speaker series designed to bring fresh perspectives to employees and educate individuals on the topic of inclusion in the workplace.
“Fostering diversity has always been incredibly important to all of us at BEN, and in formalizing our commitment with strategies and measurable goals, we hope to create long-lasting change within our organization and across the broader industry,” said Ricky Ray Butler, CEO of BEN. “With Vanessa at the helm of our new programs, we’re confident that BEN will become the standard for other companies to emulate.”
McCullers brings nearly two decades of experience in business strategy and development, strategic partnerships, sponsorship management, and branded content production. Over the course of her career, McCullers has worked with some of the world’s largest entertainment companies, including MTV, OWN, TMZ, NBCUniversal, and Endemol Shine Entertainment. She is also the Executive Director and board member of Moms of Black Boys (MOBB) United, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that aims to change how boys and men of color are treated by law enforcement and society.
“I’m looking forward to combining my passion for social justice with my strategic experience to elevate the voices of the diverse individuals BEN works with each day,” said McCullers. “I’ve deeply enjoyed my time at BEN so far, and I’m energized by the opportunities that lie ahead. We know there is plenty of work to do to transform an industry, but we’re dedicated to taking a thoughtful, targeted approach to building a brighter future, both for BEN and for entertainment as a whole.”
About BEN Group
BEN Group Inc. is an entertainment AI company that integrates brands into influencer, streaming, TV, music, and film content with guaranteed ROI. BEN Group consists of the world’s largest influencer marketing business; the world’s largest product placement agency; TubeBuddy, the largest platform to help YouTube creators optimize their audience and channel growth; and Greenlight, a global rights and licensing business.
With its proprietary AI and platform, BEN is the first and only company using machine learning and deep learning neural networks to identify high-impact opportunities for authentic, non-disruptive product placement and influencer marketing. BEN combines its AI with 40+ years of experience and a team of industry experts to connect brands with the right audiences and content opportunities in meaningful ways. BEN works with the world’s top brands, including Microsoft, General Motors, Unilever, Tencent, and General Mills.