ITN Business’ Operations Director, Emily Kidner, was asked to give a talk at her former secondary school for this year’s International Women’s Day. Here, she tells us how it went…

I’ve been part of the ITN Business team for 10 years, joining as a producer back in 2014 and now running the production team as Operations Director and an Executive Producer on its array of content. It’s a job I’m very proud to have and keen to talk about at any opportunity.

As a shy 14-year-old I aspired to work in the media. I always loved hearing people’s stories on radio and TV and had hopes one day of being a producer.

Fast forward a couple of (actually a few) decades later, and now working as a producer, I was invited back to my former secondary school to give a talk about my career and working in TV to an assembly of girls for International Women’s Day.

Inspiring the next generation: Emily giving a talk in morning assembly on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2024.

Walking up the path of my old secondary school I felt a vaguely familiar feeling surrounded by some buildings I spent so much of my time, yet among the old was a whole new block to house the generations of students that have attended the school since I left.

The TV industry has often had a perception of being difficult to break into. When I started in the 1990s I didn’t know anyone in the industry. I wrote hundreds of letters to get some work experience, before working unpaid until I got my first job. Luckily that is changing, and fair treatment, equity and inclusion is enabling young people from diverse backgrounds to enter careers that they may have not thought would ever be an option.

My presentation went well. I gave them a bit of background about my career journey and showed them some photos: of me and the team at work, at our studio recordings with the crew and presenters, on different locations across the country, along with a very embarrassing picture of me at school when I was their age.

On Location: Operations Director Emily with an engineer.

I had some very interesting questions and was asked about my career highlight (the privilege of working for ITN on the coverage of the Queen’s funeral and King’s Coronation), my role model (the inspiring women I work with), men and male allies that inspire me (I live in a male dominated house and take both inspiration and challenges from my husband and sons) and if I’ve ever had to deal with sexist behaviour (yes, and on occasions I’ve had to call it out).

Emily as a schoolgirl
Emily, when she was a student at the school.

If I could have given even a little bit of advice and inspiration to some of the girls that listened to my talk, I’d be very happy. My aim wasn’t to ‘sell’ a job in the media to them but just to make them think about reaching for a career in an area that’s interesting to them and would make them want to go to work, rather than having to go work.

I also wanted them to think, this International Women’s Day, about the theme ‘Inspiring Inclusion’ — and of a world that is gender equal; a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Royal events: Emily at the King's coronation.
Royal events: Emily at the King’s Coronation, one of her career highlights.

To quote the International Women’s Day website; “When women aren’t present, we must ask: ‘If not, why not?’ When the treatment of women is not equitable, we must take action. And we must do this each time, every time.”

The ITN Business team believes this too. When we produce films we ask if we can include women to get a gender balance and if we can cover ability, diversity of race and age, this all makes a difference.

 

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