What advice would you give those seeking a job in broadcasting?
A job in media, and particularly television, is a much sought after career and the industry is exploding. The best thing to do is get a work experience placement and don’t be fussy – I started off buying whiskey for the Head of Sport at ITV. Don’t let rejection stop you either.
When I finished University I was convinced that I would get a placement at the BBC, but I didn’t. So I moved on and became one of the first graduate trainees at Channel Three, eventually becoming the station’s Director of Global Content.
The best thing you can do is work hard and become indispensable. Don’t think that your sexuality will be a hindrance either. If you find that it’s stopping you from advancing in your career then you are being discriminated against and that’s illegal and wrong.
The job that you do should have nothing to do with your sexuality. It’s extraordinary that people ever think that it should.
If you are comfortable with the fact that you’re gay, then tell people – don’t pretend to be anything you’re not or you will end up becoming deceitful and unhappy.
I was heterosexual for most of my life and when I did come out, I didn’t make a big deal of it. I think if you don’t turn it into this big thing then others won’t either.
Coming out has changed my life but it hasn’t changed the way I live; I still have the same friends I had when I was heterosexual. I don’t think people think any differently of me. Besides, if Rupert Murdoch doesn’t mind that I’m gay, I can’t see why anyone else would.
Dawn Airey is one of the most powerful women in media, and has held some of the most influential positions in the world of Television.
She’s been the Director of Programmes and the Chief Executive of Channel Five, the Managing Director of Channels and Services for BSkyB, Controller of Arts and Entertainment for Channel 4 and Director of Global Content for ITV, overseeing the development of its international production and distribution businesses.
In 2010 Airey was Chairman and Chief Executive of Channel 5, the UK public broadcaster, moving on to take up a senior post with leading European entertainment network RTL later in 2010.
Dawn appears in our inspirational Aim High booklet, along with 19 other people at the top of their respective fields, showing sexuality should not get in the way of success.