Category: GEMA, GEMA Alumni Spotlight

Title:GEMA Alumni Spotlight – Yvette Urbina (C’96), Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Creative and Productive Global COE, Warner Bros. Discovery

Yvette Urbina serves as Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Creative and Production Global COE at Warner Bros. Discovery. In this role, she acts as the bridge between creative teams and productions to build a more inclusive and innovative entertainment industry. She also forges strategic partnerships that provide greater tools when hiring in front and behind the camera and connects both new and established voices to company creatives.  Prior to joining Warner Bros. Discovery, Yvette served as Vice President of Current Series and Development at NICK and Nick at Nite and was a member of the executive leadership team that sustained Nickelodeon’s position as the number one rated, ad-supported, basic cable network from 2011-2019. She previously headed TV development for Oscar-nominated actor, director and producer, Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions.  Yvette brings a producer background, and a mix of creativity and business to her current role, having begun her television career at FOX, where she was a driving force behind iconic series from The O.C. to That ‘70s Show. 

In 2022, she was recognized by the Imagen Foundation with an Influential Latinos in Media Award and by MANA, a National Latina Organization, with a Las Primeras Award, for her work. She graduated from Georgetown’s College in 1996.

What was your first “big break”? Or, what is the most significant experience you have had that has made your success possible?

I got my first job in the business two weeks after graduation at a talent agency called Abrams Artists. I ended up working in the mailroom there and then as an assistant in the Voiceover department. Harry Abrams hired me, and I learned in that interview process that his son had gone to Georgetown. While I ultimately moved into TV at FOX Broadcasting Co. via an informational interview through a friend at the talent agency when the opportunity was offered, certainly my connection to Georgetown was what got my foot into the door many moons ago now.

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

It can be challenging to explain what DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) IS in the context of the media industry and why it’s important to the work we are engaged in. We really talk about this not only as a moral imperative but as a business one. With our work spanning so many different genres and mediums, from film and scripted to unscripted television to games, across numerous brands around the globe, it is an expansive remit, and the asks shift daily.

What is the most rewarding part?

Getting to work on a project like Barbie in ASL on MAX, which gave the Deaf community a chance to experience Barbie, in their first language (ASL). When more people see themselves on our screens, that is a good day.

What is something current you are working on that you are excited about?

We just built a site for our creative teams and productions to use that we are really excited about. We think it will not only make the creative process easier and more inclusive, but it takes a lot of the barriers for entry away by making the right tools and resources available to the people who hire.

How is the ever-changing media landscape affecting your industry?

It’s a challenging time with consolidation and an election year in the U.S.. That said, I’ve been in the entertainment industry for over 25 years, and the only certainty I know is change.

Are there any ways that you feel Georgetown especially prepared you for your career?

When I arrived at Georgetown, I had never even visited campus. Just going to school in D.C. opened a world for me that at the time was not only wildly unfamiliar, but that allowed me to meet people from all over the globe, and to envision myself as someone who was worldly before I was. And throughout my career, I’ve had to navigate several changes as the industry has shifted and I would say that Georgetown really was the first place I heard, be open to possibility – be open to the unfamiliar. As a first-year student I had always planned to go to law school – but that’s not what I ended up doing, even after taking the LSAT.  My career path has been completely different than I initially envisioned when I started Georgetown and I’m very grateful for that. I learned the skills I needed to thrive in any industry, to ask the right questions, to listen and to be unafraid to take risks.

What is your best advice to those who are starting out in your field?

Have empathy, patience and be passionate about tv, film and content creation. If you are just interested in entertainment because you think it is glamorous, this may not be the right path. Inclusive content is less about policy and more about connecting with people and the creative. Be comfortable making connections.

Trait You Most Admire in People:

Resilience. Our industry and our world have needed a great deal of resilience in the last several years. From the covid pandemic to the most recent labor strikes, recovering from and moving forward has not been an easy task and I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for those who adapt, persevere and come back stronger.

Favorite App, Website, Podcast or Social Platform (other than related to your own company):

Normal Gossip. Everything I deal with has a lot of layers and sometimes it’s nice to get sucked into someone else’s life for a hot second.

Favorite Georgetown Professor:

I can’t choose one – I will say that I remain absolutely obsessed with politics and foreign relations and to this day I credit my interest in what is happening around the world with much of what I learned in Anthony Arend’s Constitutional Law of Foreign Relations class.  On the other side, Philip Tacka taught my music theory class. I think that class gave me a chance to explore a creative side of myself that I never thought I would at Georgetown. I probably owe him a great deal for leading me to this job because he helped keep my creative spirit alive.

Favorite Georgetown Restaurant or Bar:

I was both a host and a server at Clyde’s of Georgetown and at the Tombs for one semester when Clyde’s was closed for renovations. They were my second home – not just jobs. All but one of my housemates also worked for the restaurant group in some capacity. I loved being part of that team and loved spending time there – especially the summer I spent between junior and senior year in DC – despite the unbearable heat!

Favorite Georgetown Memory:

We had these ridiculous watch parties for Days of our Lives on the 4th floor of Darnall Hall my freshman year. I don’t remember how we found the time, but I do remember we did. And they were fun. Some of my best friends from my time at Georgetown were made my first year in Darnall Hall.

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