Halogen TV Founder Becky Henderson Creates TV That Will Inspire You!
Becky Henderson says, “My values are my guide.” She talks about social consciousness on the small screen and how today’s women can shape the future.
Day and night, Becky Henderson works toward a media industry that is more ethical, aware, and concerned with the issues that people grapple with every day. As the founder and general manager of Halogen TV, she promotes educational and inspirational content for network viewers. So, if you’ve ever wondered where to find programs featuring female race car drivers, environmental and anti-poverty activists, and women at the top of the corporate ladder, stop channel surfing and check your Halogen TV subscription status.
We had a chance to speak to the visionary Henderson about women in media, following your passions, and how ladies everywhere can make a difference!
What do you think the larger media today is missing and how is Halogen working to fill that gap?
I think that media at large is missing an opportunity to proactively shape society. I think too many media creators believe that art imitates culture, but I think that culture imitates art. As media creators I think we steward a huge responsibility to shape the hearts and minds of our society. What are we drawing attention to? What are we celebrating? What are we teaching our children to value? What are we “feeding” viewers? It’s the old adage, trash in, trash out. At Halogen, we pitch high. We don’t throw sex and violence around to get your attention or to pull a rating. We don’t degrade our viewers or our characters. Instead we treat their stories with dignity and respect and call out the best in people. I believe that the stories we share have the power to do more than inspire viewers, but actually motivate and empower them to be their best.
During your high school and college years, you were an intern at Inspiration Networks -you’ve come quite a long way since then! Was there ever a time when you didn’t think you were going to make it in the field?
Sure, I feel it still today. Entertainment is a very competitive industry. Your shows could be canceled at any moment; technology, and the way we do business, is constantly evolving; multiple factors inside your realm of concern but outside your realm of influence that impact your success; the list goes on and on. At times I have been overwhelmed. I’ve questioned myself, “Am I cut out for this?” As a little girl I wanted to be a writer; there have been moments during the inception, launch and day-to-day oversight of Halogen TV where I wish I could go live on some remote island and just be that. But at the end of the day, I love media and I am passionate about making a positive difference using every type of media platform. I can’t see myself ever walking away from that passion, no matter what challenges may come along.
Halogen’s “Women on Top” series follows highly successful women with covet worthy jobs. As a woman on top, what does it take to get there and what were some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My journey was about going above and beyond my day job. No matter what department I found myself in I was always working on an additional side project to take my company further. You can’t wait to be noticed, or think just doing your day job with excellence is enough to excel. Navigating office politics can be a job all in itself. Don’t underestimate this; develop a plan around it. Find a champion and build several allies within the company to help your ideas get heard and initiated. At the end of the day if your company isn’t celebrating you it may be time to search for another employer. Know your value and don’t settle for less.
You believe in using media as a “force for good.” But did you ever face pressure from the industry to compromise your values to get ahead?
What I believe about life and about media is what anchors me. My values are my guide; they are core to my DNA. The pressure to compromise is all around. I wish I had a juicy story of temptation to share, but compromising my values would be turning my back on who I am and what I believe media can be and that wouldn’t really be moving me or my vision ahead. I stand in the path of being misunderstood in order to stand for what is right and true. It can be a wearisome stance to take but one that I hope to hold to with every breath I am given.
On top of being the founder of Halogen TV, you’re married with two children! We know today’s women have to balance work and family life all the time, but do you have any miracle tips for the working moms out there?
If I had a miracle tip of work/life balance I would SO be a millionaire! I think the truth, if we’ll all be honest with ourselves, is nobody has balance. Just when we feel we’ve hit a stride in one area, a plate is crashing in another. I work hard, I play hard, I sleep hard. I only know one speed and it’s fast. I live with insecurities and the sense of failure, and I think at the end of the day I put that pressure on myself. We’re often our hardest critics. If we could learn to be kind to ourselves – to slow down and enjoy the moment we’re in – and proud of what we ARE doing instead of what we’re not, then I think that would be a big step to finding peace. I may not be able to get to “Reading Corner” at my son’s school, but I can read to him at bedtime, and that’s one of my favorite parts of the day. I also recommend reading Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham ($12, amazon.com). It’s liberating.
“Jump Shipp” very recently premiered. What words of advice do you have for women in the workforce who are looking to change careers or secure a better job?
Follow your passion. Obviously everyone can’t just quit their job, but I do think you can always be proactive to build a plan that could get you closer, even if it’s just baby steps. No one should live a life of regrets, it’s always worth going after something you’re passionate about and you believe in. I believe every life has something unique to offer the world; when we pursue that thing not only are we better for it, but the world benefits as well. Someone once told me that courage isn’t the lack of fear, it’s the ability to move forward in spite of it! So take courage, your dreams matter, go make your mark.
In recent years, we’ve seen the debut of prime time shows revolving around smart, funny female characters. Yet, there still seems to be a countless number of shows where women are treated as objects. What’s going on in the media world today and why does there seem to be such a double standard?
I know what you mean. A friend just sent me a link to this website Miss Representation. Go watch the trailer! Bottom line, while women have made great strides for equality it’s still a very male-dominated industry. The film says that women hold only three percent of clout positions in media. The women in power, and supportive males, have a responsibility to continue to be a voice to help shift perception. It’s an enormous tide to turn, but one we have to champion for future generations.
What were the most inspiring words of advice or feedback anyone has ever given you?
On a flight to LA, I shared my vision with a fellow passenger. I was on my way to a big pitch meeting and he knew I was nervous. At baggage claim he said, “Never underestimate the power of your presence in a room.” He said my passion had inspired him. In that moment I realized I had what it took to get the job done; I just needed the confidence to believe in myself. The feedback from this stranger has become my self-talk before any big meeting. Find out what you’re great at and own it. Chances are you have what it takes to be great at what you do. You just need to relax and trust yourself.
You’re such an empowering and inspirational figure for millions of people. What can women across the country do to help create change?
I think change looks different for every woman. To borrow from Franklin Covey you have to “start with the end in mind.” During a 7-Habits training we engaged in an exercise called 80th birthday in which you imagined who would be at the celebration and what they would say to you. Then you were tasked with building actions into your life on a weekly basis that over the course of your life would illicit those responses at your 80th birthday. It’s not enough to have hope; you have to take action. Start by defining what you want to see happen, get a clear picture in your mind to hold onto, and then be intentional about making it happen. Be patient. Depending on the size of the change it could take your lifetime. The point is that you start and never give up!
Diana Denza is a regular contributor to BettyConfidential.