34 Vice President, Development and Production – TV One, New York City
Sitarah Pendelton declares that getting fired was the best thing that happened to her. “It changed my life,” she says. That may shock those of us who cling to our jobs for dear life, but Pendelton is a 34-year-old who understands the value of change.
In the early 1990s, Pendelton made her first foray into television production by joining the team at PBS. There she worked on the Emmy Award-winning series Great Performances: Dance in America before moving on to the Peabody Award-winning series City Arts. Heeding her wanderlust, she moved west to Hollywood and joined Channel One News, a network that broadcasts daily news programs to high school classrooms across the country, as an associate producer and researcher. Reaching out to more than 8 million teenagers each day, she honed her pop culture knowledge, which served her well in her next venture as a writer-producer on the hit series The E! True Hollywood Story. The scandalous lives of Andy Warhol, Mia Farrow and the cast of Diff’rent Strokes were recounted under her pen, while her take on the memorable life of Elizabeth Glaser, the late wife of actor and director Paul Michael Glaser, who founded the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, won Pendelton the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television.
Pendelton later moved on to direct the acclaimed TLC series Baby Story, followed by the Disney Channel’s Totally Hoops, a half-hour documentary series following the lives of the members of an Amateur Athletic Union girls’ basketball team. This time heeding the call of home, Pendelton moved back to New York as a writer-producer for MTV Networks. Most recently she was named vice president of production and development for TV One.
Change clearly has served Pendelton well professionally. But it’s her volunteer service that “is of the utmost importance to me,” she says. In that service, she is a mentor for a community-based group, Blossom Program for Girls, and a member of the executive board of directors for the Youth Empowerment Movement.