Last weekend was something for the books! I traveled to Orlando, FL to be part of the Suncoast Chapter Emmy Awards Ceremony. No, I was not receiving an Emmy for my outstanding performance in absolutely nothing, but I was privileged in witnessing my dad, Víctor Montilla, being honored, as he received the Silver Circle Award for his contribution during his 25 years in the television and media industry. So, I figured I could share my little corner with him this week and pick his brain on his thoughts about being a feminist man in the industry. Because even though he is no hip Latina, living in a house with my mom and I, he knows a thing or two about the importance of strong women. Hope you enjoy.
Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out you were nominated for the Silver Circle Award?
A: I was very surprised and thrilled. It is a very important distinction to be selected by my peers and approved unanimously by the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Q: Who/What made it possible for you to have the expertise and the position that you have now in the Television Industry?
A: It’s combination of many things; First, and most important, it’s hard work, I’ve been working in the TV Industry since I was 16 years old and started from the very bottom. This gave me the tools to understand the industry from the inside out. Second, a great education, I had the opportunity to study in a University that offered a degree in Broadcasting. Third, perseverance, this quality gives you the tools to succeed by taking risks and being patient. Fourth, not to waste time – that is key. If you snooze, you lose. Fifth, always set mini goals, this will give you something to look for once you reach that mini goal set a new one immediately.
Q: What has been your most eye-opening experience since you began working in the industry?
A: How small our industry is, and how hard it is to stay in it.
Q: What roles have women played along your career in the media industry?
A: In my career, every time I had the opportunity to hire key people for key roles, I ALWAYS hired women. When I was President of WIPR-TV, 80 percent of my senior staff were women, the same when I was Executive VP of ABC5 (ABC Television Network Affiliate), 80 percent of my staff were women.
Q: Why do you think women are necessary in this type of industry?
A: I love working with women for several reasons: women are “multi-taskers”, they are organized, they get the job done. My experience along the years working with women has been fantastic.
Q: Why is it important for women to take more active and public roles in media?
A: It is incredibly important; we need to empower women. I promote the equality they deserve. I think women should be treated equally as men, same salaries, same roles and same power. They have proven over the years that they can be more competent and more successful than men for the reasons I stated before.
Q: What’s your take on the recent accusations of sexual harassment acts against women in the media industry?
A: I think it’s an outrage in any industry and I applaud the brave women that came forward. Women shouldn’t tolerate this behavior.
Q: Are you a feminist? Why?
A: Yes, I am. I’ve always treated women the same I treat a man with equality. I believe in women’s opinions and work, and think they are amazing in my experience.
Q: As a dad of a girl, why is it important to raise your daughter as a feminist?
A: I raised my daughter to be strong and independent. I want my daughter to shoot for the stars and to think for herself on whatever she desires to do. She will always have my full support.
Q: What is your advice for fathers of daughters growing up in the society that we are living in today?
A: I will say it in one sentence; Don’t cut your daughter’s wings, let her fly and fly high.