Are there any types of skills or attributes (beyond the normal qualifications) that you think are important for someone in your role or one like it?
Being an effective communicator is invaluable. It is something that is true everywhere, but especially here because of how many unknowns we are trying to tackle at any given time.
Do you have a favorite memory (or memories) of your time on the job? Any stand-out accomplishments or cool opportunities?
Last summer I was nudged into speaking up in a company town hall where we were reflecting on the current events, systemic racism, and how we — as individuals and as a community — play a role in that system. Really there was a lot of angst and hopelessness. We know that we are responsible as media creators, but a lot of the community was stuck on the “what can I do?” question.
I suggested that the first action we could take on is to learn from scholars who have dedicated their lives to reckoning with these manifestations of injustice in the world.
Thankfully our leadership rallied around the idea. They were open to digging deeper into critical media literacy and structural injustice and leveraging academic insights to get us to some ground truths about creating media responsibly.
That led to the birth of the coolest project I’ve been part of today: Good Questions Lab. It is a pop-up university at Lucasfilm focused on critically analyzing media throughout history in different parts of the world and it has been the most rewarding experience of my career so far.
Can you tell us more about the Good Questions Lab? How did this initiative evolve?
It was designed with curiosity at its core: we called it Good Questions Lab because it’s not focused on finding specific solutions; it’s about exploring the connections between our work and our world.
We also wanted to be an intentional space: people had to apply to join the Lab and come in with some forethought of what they wanted to try to get out of it.
Just like university, after each lecture we get into smaller “Lab” groups of 7-10 people and are guided through a discussion of the lecture with the help of interpersonal learning facilitators.
It is crazy — I was just talking to someone about the advice we received about being a professional in the workplace and how for the longest time, it was made clear that it is taboo to talk about anything related to identity or ideology at work.
Last summer changed everything — at Lucasfilm especially I think we’re hungry to be smart about the problem and we are sincere in the effort we put into it. We aren’t looking at DEI as a representation checklist or marketing campaign: we are trying to tease out how to trigger fundamental change in our community.
Every lecture, the discussions get more challenging and yet people still show up. We hold healthy tensions, uncomfortable silence, and heavy questions. The commitment to the work is something I haven’t seen in any other company. To be honest, I don’t think I could have pulled this off anywhere else.
It is so challenging and nourishing at the same time, I frikkin’ love it.