Award Winning Producer and TV Network Executive
Karen King, B.A., MCATD
Karen is an instructional designer and dynamic keynote speaker and facilitator helping companies maximize their leadership potential.
King shares the unique opportunity today’s market presents to enhance their bottom line while fulfilling the human need to make a contribution to our society and the groups in our lives. Helping teams enhance their communication, conflict resolution, creativity and inclusion skills with organizational development and strategic planning. Marketing Diversity is Karen’s strategy for serving your market. Karen is on the Advisory Panel of the Ryerson School of Media and an Adjudicator on the Ontario Panel of the Broadcast Standards Council. She has served as a director on a variety of boards. The President and CEO of Unlimited Reach and the Chief Diversity Officer at Productions Without Borders, Karen is ready to help your team discover how to keep pace with today’s changing market and make inclusion matter.
Karen King’s experience in Diversity and Inclusion includes six years in a leadership role for a national government agency with six regional offices, the National Film Board of Canada, spearheading the Diversity in Action Plan as the producer on the Special Mandate Team for cultural diversity whose pilot projects became national initiatives. The films she produced under this initiative became the most successful films in the studio, winning Gemini nominations over other films produced in the studio. Karen continued her implementation of effective strategies to level the playing field at Toronto 1 where she ensured that the production fund resources were shared equally between diverse producers and those who represented the 20th century mainstream.
King worked her way up in the film and television industry from p.a. to network executive, producing a movie and docs, hosting live television, and commissioning a wide variety of genres. When she became a network executive, she was surprised that while broadcasters were held accountable for reflecting the population off screen, producers and unions were seemingly off the hook. Producers have no employment equity obligations despite all the federally regulated monies they use to create Canadian content.
“I spent years angry and frustrated that the industry wasn’t embracing the opportunity I saw. I felt helpless in the face of the resistance I encountered, and often took it personally. It eventually dawned on me that my colleagues’ refusal to accept diversity with inclusion didn’t mean they were being malicious. They were unconscious of their biases. Beyond casting they really didn’t know how much more could be done. What I had learned throughout my career was a blind spot for most people.” So Karen developed a hassle free process that all business can enjoy, helping sectors from R&D through to sales and distribution do a better job of engaging the 21st century mainstream marketplace. Now she provides them with a vision that everyone can embrace and that gives them a sense of the value that diverse team members can bring their content. The same principles apply in all business.
Karen is a member of Canada’s Who’s Who, as the first black woman in Canada to produce a movie, and one of the elite group of international producers with a world premiere in the Official Cannes Film Festival. Highlights of her award winning career include a senior management role at Quebecor, a producer at the National Film Board of Canada, and a Drama Content Production Executive at Global Television. Karen has experience supervising the development and production of a variety of television genres from lifestyle to variety, docs, drama and comedy, with hits like Combat Hospital, and Da Kink in My Hair. She uses her experience to coach beginners and veterans on diversity, business and career management.
Karen is a past director of Canadian Women in Communications, and a member of the Canadian Standards of Broadcasting Council Panel. Her career achievements have been recognized by the African-Canadian Excellence in Media Award. Karen is the only person to win the Gemini’s Canada Award twice. That award is presented to the television program that best exemplifies the multi-cultural nature of the country on and off camera.
Development for Ratings Unlmiited
Checkpointers for College Success: Get Organized for Success
Production for Ratings Unlimited
I want to thank you for your support, stellar presence and invaluable input at the ‘Kick Off’ for our unprecedented three day Actra Toronto Conference in February.
It was a no brainer to involve you as one of our ‘Uber Women’ on the Introductory Panel for our TAWC (Toronto Actra Women’s Committee) inaugural session representing Women as Producers and Motivators in the Business.
You were wonderfully passionate and inspirational in your address to the almost two hundred female and male Actra Toronto members who gathered at 9:00 a.m. to celebrate TAWC and our intention to not only survive but to thrive! As clearly you do.
I’ve been told to pick my battles and it was comforting to know that I can do just that because you are on the Front lines fighting for all of us.
Your leadership in the Passion for Action seminar with Wendy Crewson was a highlight of the morning and we are still getting feedback from Actra members who were encouraged to “find their voice”.
Many thanks for taking the time and giving of your powerful energy. I only hope we can entice you to join us in future passionate action.
--- Best, Cayle Chernin, TAWC Chair, Actra Toronto
I am writing to say thank you so much for the Diversity work shop you lead at the NSI Totally Television boot camp. I have to admit at first I was confused and concerned with how I was going to include diversity into our project.
Your course enabled me to recognize not only the business benefit of including diversity in my tv series but the most exciting part is that I now realize the storytelling value increases tenfold.
By truly representing the amazingly diverse people that make up Canada we not only increase the audience that will be interested in a show but we also open up the creative process to take us on a journey and really explore the story we are trying to tell.
I really didn’t see that before I worked with you, I now understand the importance of giving each character an authentic voice true to their heritage and also the value of a diverse crew in helping ensure this authentic voice is heard.
That all said it is exciting to think of all the possible combinations of people a production can bring together which will ultimately form great friendships! These friendships will make everyones experience on the planet that much richer.
Thank you on so many levels and I also should mention I also realize there is still much more to learn!!
--- Aubrey Arnason, Producer, Actor
I was recently at the Innoversity Conference where Karen King gave what I believe is the best presentation I have seen on integrating diversity in film and television.
As a producer and owner of a successful production company working over 10 years in the business, I was skeptical about how useful the information would be. Karen’s keen insight into how broadcasters work and how to work within the system to bring about desired results is great.
Karen is a naturally gifted speaker who broke things down in a easy to understand fashion, showing us all what I have always believed, that diversity is a benefit not a burden, as many of us secretly believe.
Broadcasters, funding partners, producers, you name it, they need to take this seminar!
--- Jennifer Holness, Hungry Eyes Productions.
Thank-you for the enlightening and effective presentation on diversity that presented at this year’s Totally Television bootcamp for the National Screen Institute.
You gave our writers and producers the tools they need to incorporate diversity into their development projects. Your approach is helping them to develop their characters and environments. It also will be useful when it comes to casting their series and staffing their writing rooms. The diversity plans that they are developing will also increase the marketability of their projects.
Your professional and inspiring workshop and the critical feedback you’ve provided each of the teams is deeply appreciated. I hope we’ll see you back next year and we look forward to, including your workshop on other National Screen Institute programs.
Kit Redmond, Managing Partner, RTR Media Inc, Program Manager, Totally Television National Screen Institute Program.
I wanted to thank you again for taking time out of your very busy schedule to walk our participants through the diversity strategy plan, and for giving them a step by step plan to help make that strategy a success.
I think your plan is brilliant and I absolutely admire your passion and commitment you’ve put into making accomplishing your goal. I knew that diversity on-screen isn’t nearly as representative as it should be, however I had not realized that diversity behind the camera had as many problems and lack of representation as it does.
You made me realize that it’s going to take some (gentle) pushing and shoving on the front end to correct this.
--- Brandice Vivier, Manager, Development and Programs, National Screen Institute
Karen takes an important issue and packages it into a practical, accessible, and inspirational seminar. She can just as easily address executives as those new to the industry.
She speaks from her heart, but with an authority gained through years of experience. Doing diversity better can only be a good thing for cast, crew, and audiences alike.
Karen King is a unique voice in the Canadian broadcasting industry. At a time when too many shows don’t reflect the diversity of Canada’s population, Ms. King makes a compelling case for why we have to reflect that diversity both behind and in front of the camera. Better than that, she gives clear and achievable strategies for making that kind of inclusion happen.
--- Jon Cooksey, showrunner, “The Collector”, “The Best Years”, “So Weird”
Drawing on her background as a Gemini Award winning producer, a producer at the National Film Board of Canada, and an executive Director of Independent Production at a major Toronto television station, Karen spoke eloquently and with insight and passion regarding diversity in the Canadian Film and Television Industry.
Karen ably fielded questions from our audience and also provided some excellent film clips of her work at the National Film Board, which illustrated her commentary and delighted our audience.
--- Stephen Byfield, Vice Chair, Visible Minorities Committee, Toronto North Tax Services Office, Canada Revenue Agency
Thank you so much for speaking last night. It was an honor to have you and I know the students (although they’re a quiet bunch) felt the same. That was certainly the most interesting, thought provoking and educational lecture we’ve had yet.
--- Kyle Muir, Instructor, Seneca College
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