Businesswoman Valeisha Butterfield Jones has been a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion within the sectors of technology, entertainment and politics. The North Carolina native will further her mission to cultivate inclusivity at The Recording Academy. According to Variety, the company has appointed Butterfield Jones as its first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
Butterfield Jones’ appointment comes as The Recording Academy aims to expand its efforts surrounding representation, within the company and the music industry at-large. In March 2018, the Academy assembled a task force to take a deep dive into its policies and operations to address unconscious bias experienced by individuals from underrepresented groups. The group was also brought together to cultivate a membership base that was reflective of music’s diverse community.
Throughout the course of her career Butterfield Jones—a Clark Atlanta University alumna—has led several impactful initiatives while working at Google as the tech giant’s global head of inclusion, serving as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration under the Obama Administration, working as the Executive Vice President of Rush Communications and as the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She also co-founded an organization dubbed Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) that educates and empowers women of color to thrive in the realm of media and beyond through leadership development programs.
In her new role at The Recording Academy, Butterfield Jones will be responsible for the creation and implementation of programs designed to ensure that diversity and inclusion are intertwined with the Academy’s business standards. She is slated to officially start her new position on May 11. Butterfield Jones is excited to join the Academy’s leadership team.
“The Recording Academy has an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that diversity and inclusion is embedded in its core values,” she said in a statement. “I’m deeply honored to join the Academy as we enter a new chapter of transformational growth, leadership and change. During this unprecedented time in world history, together we will double-down on our focus to drive systemic change and equitable outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators.” Harvey Mason Jr., The Recording Academy’s interim president and CEO, says she will be instrumental in evoking systemic change.
Butterfield Jones’ appointment comes at a time when there is a major need for diversity in the music industry. Forbes reported that the gender divide across music companies is 70 percent male to 30 percent female.