Diversity and inclusivity have long been a part of Netflix content executive Diego Ávalos and his professional ethos. From working on hit shows such as Money Heist and Club de Cuervos (Club of Crows), both representing Spanish-language talent, to coordinating efforts at Netflix’s Spain-based production hub, Ávalos has remained an advocate for marginalized groups in leadership and talent in the industry. When it comes to allyship, or the act of proactively supporting people or groups in the workplace that are frequently marginalized, Ávalos has taken great strides to support the groups that surround him in the workplace and in his personal life, understanding his own position and looking for ways to lift others up around him.
“Allyship is an ever-evolving mission,” he says. “Being aware [of] your privileges is super important, as well as where you stand, versus other people’s experiences, in order to be able to be an ally. Then, use the power you have to make change,” he adds. “I’ve also been lucky that I had very incredible women managers and leaders, especially early on in my career. That showed me a lot, not just about myself, but taught me so much.” This has continued to spur Ávalos forward as an advocate helping to make change and understanding the importance of equality in the workplace at Netflix, whether that’s in the boardroom or on the soundstage.
How Netflix’s Diego Ávalos Pays It Forward
Raised by a family with a host of strong women, Diego Ávalos was taught from an early age about the importance of lifting up the people around him. “It comes back to my mom, my sister, and then the great managers I had very early on in my career,” Ávalos reflects. “Having a very strong mother that I look up to, and a very strong sister, has taught me a lot about life.”
To that end, supporting women in the workplace has been a particular passion for Ávalos.
In the film, audiovisual, and entertainment industries, there continue to be disparities in how women are treated and represented versus their male counterparts. Unfortunately, coming out of the pandemic, forward strides were lost as diversity reverted back to pre-COVID levels; a 2022 study found white males accounted for 73% of directors on theatrical releases. Another study noted that males comprise 71% of director roles in streaming. Ávalos says he’s working to buck that trend by featuring talent from all walks of life with diversity and inclusion at the forefront. “Having grown up in very male-dominated societies, and living in one today, you notice how different and how many more obstacles women have in the workplace,” he shares.
That’s not the only way he’s rolling up his sleeves. In the boardroom, “I stop and redirect the conversation to my colleagues that are actually making the decisions. Or see a colleague that gets interrupted all the time, and point that out very specifically. It’s just about, I think, often small things that make it different, but also about making sure that where there’s systemic issues, try to address those,” he states.
Making Strides: Netflix and Diego Ávalos Continue To Diversify Programming and Employment
A recent study showed that while there continue to be disparities in representation of women and people of color for streaming programming, Netflix has helped reduce the gender and racial gap in some areas such as lead and co-lead roles in its original programming. The company’s inclusion report also demonstrates gains in representation for women and people of color while also noting that additional progress stands to be made. When it comes to allyship, experts have also noted that companies stand to benefit from its results. Employees with a sense of allyship in the workplace tend to experience 1.7 times more job satisfaction, helping with everything from workplace culture to creative output and retention rates.
As vice president of content for Spain, Portugal, and the Nordics, Diego Ávalos is in a unique position to help bring creative talent to the forefront that stands for different perspectives, cultures, and underrepresented groups. “The talent in front of and, of course, behind the camera is one of the great competitive values of production in Spain,” says the Netflix boss.