Disney exec Nikki Katz recognized for diversity leadership

Disney exec Nikki Katz recognized for diversity leadership

Nikki Katz, Vice President for Product Management & Mobile Network at Disney Interactive, was recently included in the 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders 2014 list.

Organised and presented by STEMConnector, the list is part of an annual publication that lists down and profiles corporate executives whose works and accomplishments have promoted workplace diversity in their respective organisations.

“In this edition of 100 Leaders in STEM, we continue to reflect on the growing importance of women and diversity,” said STEMConnector in a statement. “Our hope is to empower not only the influencers of the students making a career decision, but also corporations looking to advance leadership.”

Katz is responsible for designing, developing, and operating technological solutions and applications utilised in Disney Digital experiences—including mobile, gaming, and interactive media. Since joining the company in 2011, the VP has been leading and shaping the platform services group that has successfully developed and implemented large-scale technology solutions introduced and utilised across The Walt Disney Company. These solutions include mobile ad network, social network, open graph service, personalization, and content management systems.

Note that prior to her stint at Disney Interactive, Katz had held several jobs in other high-tech companies. For instance, she occupied and transitioned to several job roles at Yahoo! including web developer, technical project manager, engineering manager, and senior product manager positions. In addition, she was also VP of Product Management at Apollo Group where she successfully spearheaded product strategy and development for a proprietary online education platform.

STEMConnector has nonetheless recognized Katz for demonstrating woman leadership while being at the forefront of a high-tech industry.

The Disney executive shared some pointers as regards professional development among women and members of the minority.

“My advice to anyone ‘coming up’ in the system is to take ownership of and accountability for your own career. Know where you want to be and assess opportunities in terms of whether they get you closer to that target. Seek out projects that will expand your skill sets and fill gaps in your organisation that highlight your strengths. Be appropriately and constructively critical of yourself—essentially apply the principles of continuous improvement to your own skill sets and knowledge base.”

Katz also revealed her take in workplace diversity as well as the current direction of Disney with regard to tackling issues in workplace diversity.

“Research has clearly proven over the years that the best ideas are more likely to emerge from diverse groups,” she said.  “Disney’s investment in technology leadership with a focus on diversity increases the chances that good ideas will bubble up and be heard. Additionally, our focus on diversity means that we increase our candidate pool and are therefore better able to attract and retain top talent.”

STEMConnector is an organisation composed of companies, nonprofit associations and professional societies, STEM-related research & policy organisations, government entities, and universities and academic institutions. It is committed to linking science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education advocates together across disciplines and distances.

Workplace diversity is currently a big issue haunting the tech industry. Recently, Intel announced its commitment to promote diversity in its workforce—the first tech company to make a bold move.