Award Recipient

Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award Recipients, 2017

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey

…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, - Luke 12:48

This biblical truth has been a guiding principle in the lives of the 2017 Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award recipients, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, leaders in the film and broadcasting industry. Together, Burnett and Downey have recently produced The Women of the Bible for Lifetime, The Dovekeepers for CBS, A.D. The Bible Continues for NBC, Answered Prayers for TLC. The Emmy® nominated miniseries, The Bible on History Channel was watched by over 100 million people in the U.S.

Burnett and Downey have also produced the feature film Little Boy for Open Road Films, Woodlawn for Pure Flix, and Son of God, a feature film that stunned the box office as the second highest faith movie opening of all time. The epic feature film Ben-Hur, a reimagining of the classic story with MGM and Paramount, was released in summer 2016. In December, the couple launched a 24-hour faith and family entertainment network called Light TV, in partnership with MGM, where Mark is President of MGM Television and Digital Group. Mark and Roma shared that they wanted to provide inspirational and uplifting programming “to reach the enormously underserved family audience.”

Using their celebrity as a platform, this renowned couple use their gifts to minister to the needs of others. After hearing reports of Christian communities in Iraq and Syria being targeted by ISIS, Burnett and Downey launched "The Cradle of Christianity Fund," a project to help refugees fleeing violence. The Cradle Fund, administered with the Arlington, VA based Institute for Global Engagement, raises funds to help return Christians and other persecuted people to their homes in the Middle East. In late 2014, Burnett and Downey launched a drive to raise $25 million, seeding the effort with a $1 million donation.

In February 2016, Burnett & Downey were keynote speakers at the 64th Annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have been married almost 10 years and have three children, James Burnett, Cameron Burnett and Reilly Marie Downey Anspaugh.


Burnett is the winner of eight Emmy Awards, four Producers Guild of America Awards, five Critics' Choice Television Awards, and six People's Choice Awards.

Los Angeles-based television producer and President of MGM Television and Digital Group, Burnett is the executive producer of eight network television showsspecials and two cable shows: The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), Survivor (CBS), The People's Choice Awards (CBS), Shark Tank (ABC), Beyond the Tank (ABC), 500 Questions (ABC), America’s Greatest Makers (Turner) and Lucha Underground (The El Rey Network). He has also produced Fargo (FX), Vikings (History Channel) and Teen Wolf (MTV).

Burnett additionally produced the cable miniseries The Bible and A.D. The Bible Continues, as well as the feature films Son of God, Little Boy, and Woodlawn. He also produced the remake of Ben-Hur with MGM and Paramount.


Born and raised in Ireland, Downey is a celebrated Emmy® nominated actress and producer. Downey starred in nine seasons as the tender-hearted angel on the hit CBS television show Touched by an Angel for which she earned multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe® best actress nominations.

Downey is President of LightWorkers Media, the faith and family division of MGM Television and serves as the chief content officer for the planned OTT channel.

She is currently developing a series based on the best-selling Baxter Family novels and more recently formed a partnership with Republic Records to release The Voice Season 9 victor and the show’s best-selling artist Jordan Smith’s new album Something Beautiful.

Additionally, Downey has written a book titled Box of Butterflies to be released by Simon & Schuster.