Photo Credit: Brenda Williams-Butts.
January 17, 2021—I am delighted to share with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections the news about an important executive appointment at New York Public Radio: Brenda Williams-Butts has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The powerhouse NYPR owns and operates WNYC AM and FM, WQXR, the four stations of New Jersey Public Radio, the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space (also known as The Greene Space), WNYC Studios and Gothamist reaching 24-million people each month.
I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Brenda for many years, including on projects to expand support and community outreach for HARLEM WEEK. She has developed several audience development initiatives and innovative programs at NYPR, including galvanizing influencers to help build audiences for The Greene Space. Over the years, Brenda also expanded WNYC’s program in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which was first held at the Brooklyn Museum and then expanded to The Apollo Theater, where it will mark 15 years with this week’s virtual program.
The announcement of Brenda’s promotion was made by Goli Sheikholeslami, Chief Executive Officer at NYPR. She wrote:
….This week marks (Brenda’s) 25th anniversary at New York Public Radio. She’s been tenacious and determined from day one, which just so happened to coincide with the most severe snowstorm to hit New York City in over 100 years. And as the events of the past days and months have made so strikingly clear, our communities are in desperate need of bold, passionate champions for dialogue, representation, and justice.
(Brenda) has been a brilliant partner and a critical leader in our efforts to weave Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into NYPR’s DNA….Over the course of her career at NYPR (and first WNYC), Brenda has taken on increasing responsibility, working at the intersection of community engagement, recruitment, and audience development. She has worked to expand our reach among the city’s many diverse populations, recruited some of our brightest lights, built enduring partnerships with cultural institutions and community organizations, and spearheaded many pivotal initiatives—including our paid internship program; the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration; Courageous Conversations workshops, and our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
She is a trusted leader, a tireless advocate and a cherished colleague, whose work has improved the lives and advanced the careers of so many. This promotion codifies her powerful legacy at New York Public Radio, and recognizes the important work she now leads, to help make us an organization that fully represents the city we serve.
I have long admired Brenda’s tenacity, commitment and continuous growth, and her appointment to Senior Vice President is marvelous for the entire metropolitan community. The media are vital and influential cultural shapers and having a person with Brenda’s insights, experience, and community connections will create more access to NYC’s diverse communities and ensure, as Goli noted, that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are part of NYPR’s DNA.