Valeisha Butterfield Jones
Photo: Erik Umphery
The Recording Academy Welcomes Valeisha Butterfield Jones As First-Ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
The Recording Academy has appointed Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
Butterfield Jones, who will report directly to Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. effective May 11, will join the executive leadership team responsible for advancing the Recording Academy's mission and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are core to business values and standards and demonstrated throughout the organization.
Butterfield Jones, an award-winning and globally recognized business leader with proven impact at the intersections of technology, politics and entertainment, joins the Recording Academy family following recommendations set forth by the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force in December 2019 with a request for the Academy to hire a Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the executive level responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts by May 1, 2020. As set forth in the recommendation, Butterfield Jones will bring business acumen and strategic rigor to inclusion practices across all areas of the Recording Academy, including internal and external programs, organizational and staff culture, membership, awards and related initiatives. As Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Butterfield Jones will design, build and implement world-class programs and industry standards focused on inclusion, belonging and representation for underrepresented communities and creators.
"We are thrilled to welcome Valeisha Butterfield Jones into the Recording Academy family," Mason jr. said. "Valeisha has been a force in driving systemic change and enhancing equal opportunities for underrepresented groups across entertainment, technology and politics. I'm excited to work with her to continue evolving the Recording Academy as an organization that represents our music community and a place where all voices are welcomed, supported and nurtured. We are so fortunate to have Valeisha's leadership in this crucial area."
"It's imperative that the music industry continue to make strides toward a more equitable and inclusive industry, and I am pleased to see the Recording Academy take this important step toward change within its own walls today by appointing Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer," Tina Tchen, chair of the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and president and CEO of TIME'S UP, said. "Creating this executive-level position was a principal recommendation of our Task Force because it is one significant way the Academy can demonstrate that issues of diversity are mission-critical and will be prioritized in the future."
"The Recording Academy has an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that diversity and inclusion is embedded in its core values. I'm deeply honored to join the Academy as we enter a new chapter of transformational growth, leadership and change," Butterfield Jones said. "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."
Butterfield Jones formerly served as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc., where she was responsible for accelerating diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes for underrepresented communities internally and externally across the global brand. Prior to joining Google, Butterfield Jones served as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign, deputy director of public affairs for international trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Obama Administration, executive director at Rush Communications (Def Jam Enterprises, Baby Phat, Phat Farm, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network) and as the national director of diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer's Association. Her two-decades-long career began at Home Box Office (HBO Sports).
As a philanthropist, Butterfield Jones co-founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) in 2007, a nonprofit global coalition of women and men committed to the balanced, positive portrayal of women in the entertainment industry. She also serves on the National Board of Directors of ColorComm, MC Lyte's Hip Hop Sisters Network and iVote.