NYWIFT Talks & In Creative Company Discuss with EVP, Specials, Music Programming and Music Strategy for BET Networks, Connie Orlando

Welcome to NYWIFT Talks, a weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more. 

NYWIFT Talks are free for all to attend.

On this week’s NYWIFT Talks, join us as we talk to Connie Orlando (EVP, Specials, Music Programming and Music Strategy for BET Networks) about pulling off the impossible with pivoting the BET awards to a virtual presentation in 2020 and what it looks like in shifting back towards in person events this year and beyond. As the first virtual award show of 2020, The BET Awards rose to the many challenges of a virtual production, proving to be a triumphant and seamlessly executed evening that used an array of innovative techniques, including stunning artist-generated performances and packages. The BET Awards has been regarded as one of the most successful virtual shows of 2020 by numerous press outlets and came at a time when the celebration of Black culture was needed more than ever.

This conversation will be moderated by Co-Founder and Head of Programming at In Creative Company Mara Webster.

Date: Thursday, June 10th, 2021
Time: 2 PM EST
Location: Zoom (Links can be found in confirmation email)
Cost to attend: Free



Connie Orlando most recently served as Executive Vice President and Head of Programming at Black Entertainment Television (BET), with oversight on all genres of original programming. As a renowned, award-winning media executive, Connie Orlando has risen to become the highest-ranking and most treasured black woman at any TV network—and she’s just getting started. Orlando has been with BET since 2007 and her tenure has been marked by groundbreaking success and an ever-growing reputation as one of the top media executives in the business. Her creative vision helped BET scale its operations and expand its global footprint. Orlando ascended from her previous roles with BET which include Senior Vice President of Specials, Music Programming and News, VP of Original Programming, and VP of Development before landing the Head of Programming position in 2017. With her undeniable poise, Orlando played a pivotal role in the strategy behind the network’s evolution, repositioning and impressive global expansion. She recently has taken on a newly created role, EVP, Specials, Music Programming and Music Strategy. In this new role, she will be responsible for the development of an overarching BET Networks music strategy— including linear and SVOD programming, tentpoles and award shows—that reflects the opportunities for music and music talent across the full array of BET Networks’ businesses and initiatives. “In the music space, my vision is to position BET as a Top 5 global brand,” says Orlando, a self-described communicator and executor. 

Mara Webster (moderator) is a programmer, producer, content curator, moderator and interviewer.  She is the Co-Founder and Head of Programming for In Creative Company, a year round digital talk series focusing on in depth craft driven discussions around the creative process across film, television, theater and the arts. Prior to this her most recent role was programming, producing and moderating screenings and talks at SAG-AFTRA Foundation both in person and online.  She has also moderated numerous panels for other companies including Netflix, AppleTV+, HBO, IFC Films, BAFTA and numerous film festival Q&A’s. In her time as Director of Panels & Special Events and an Associate Programmer at Tribeca Film Festival she grew the talks program creating new strands of programming in film, tv, theater, VR and music and produced the inaugural TIME’S UP conference. At Tribeca she was involved in programming feature films and tv where she helped to launch television into both the festivals main slate and contributed to the creation of the Tribeca TV Festival. She has worked in key roles with numerous events including Vulture Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival and Sundance. She currently consults as an Associate Programmer in Features & Episodic for Sundance and for The New York Times events team. Born and raised in England by a Texan and a Scot, she now calls New York home!

Thanks to our partner:

June 10 @ 2:00pm
2:00 pm — 3:00 pm (1h)

This program will take place virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance, and all registrants will receive a link to attend the webinar the day of the event.

We encourage you to download Zoom in advance.

Free event.



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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.