The pursuit of diversity can sometimes feel like a theoretical science that largely hinges on the Heisenberg Principle, under which certain particles and waves cant choose a specific path until an observer tries to measure their trajectory. The cable industrys efforts to increase minority representationboth on the air as well as throughout the executive ranks of distributors, programmers and vendorshas been under observation for some time. And theres no doubt that this scrutiny has pushed companies to move in the right direction, funding diversity initiatives, casting a wider hiring net and supporting industry organizations like NAMIC, WICT, Emma Bowen, T. Howard and others.
Compiling this list gets tougher each year because the number of qualified nominations keeps going up. It’s a problem we’re happy to take on. Minority execs are clearly advancing to higher levels in cable as they gain experience and mentor others to follow in their paths. For the companies, diversity has become not so much a peer-pressure phenomenon, but more a function of enlightened self interest as the entire industry embraces the truth: Diversity is good for business. This is now in so little dispute that it has almost become a cliché. That’s progress.
But while the industry can be proud of its diversity strides, everyone knows that the struggle continues. Efforts to improve minority representation at the upper management levels and on corporate boards, for example, continues to face challenges. This year, we asked our Most Powerful Minorities in Cable to give us their perspective on a variety of diversity topics and we were struck by the number of minority execs who gave big kudos to cable for its efforts. However, those kudos were often followed up with an important caveat: We still have a long way to go.
That’s true. And it’s why we’re all watching. To be sure, this collective observation of the industry’s diversity efforts has in fact coaxed quite a bit of action in recent years. That stream of energy continues to surge forward, with mentors, training programs and other initiatives finding incredible talent in places where executives in past years may have never looked. After all, lack of minority hiring has also partly stemmed from laziness, ignorance and lack of knowledge of where to find assistance in recruiting minority talent. Observation and awareness has made that far less of a problem today. The industry knows what to do and how to do it. It’s in action mode. But we need to keep the pressure on. We need to keep observing. That’s the only way to make sure the right path always gets chosen.
President, Univision Networks, Univision Communications Inc.
As the Latino population in the United States continues to swell toward a projected 30% of the demographic in 2050, it’s good to be Cesar Conde. As president of the media behemoth whose cable and broadcast networks serve the lion’s share of Spanish-speaking TV viewers, Conde has his finger on the pulse of Hispanic Americans and his mind constantly channeled to the future. For him, diversity has always been important to cable’s bottom line because “of what we at Univision call The New American Reality. Today we are a multicultural nation, and to effectively meet the demands of our consumers, we need to be reflective and understand the consumer base we serve.” Indeed, after conquering the U.S. Spanish-speaking population, Conde is embarking on his biggest gamble yet—the launch of an English-language news network in conjunction with ABC News. A condent strategist who checks his ego at the door, Conde cites his parents as influential mentors who provided him with this sage advice as a child: “Dream big. Work hard. Stay humble.” As he calculates Univision’s next giant step, we applaud this industry leader for making his parents proud.
Chairman/CEO, BET Networks
The BET brand has undergone a spirited revival in recent years, thanks in large part to the creative vision of Lee. Aside from overseeing the signature network, she has the last word at sister entertainment net Centric, all of BET Nets’ digital program- ming, and home entertainment extensions. Lee’s push into original programming spawned hits including “Let’s Stay Together,” “The Mo’Nique Show,” and “Sunday Best,” and this year brings a fresh slate of opportunity for audience growth with scripted series “Second Generation Wayans” and “House Husbands,” late-night series, reality, movies and even a new talent competition, Centric’s “Apollo Live.” To boot, BET Digital is unveiling two new Web series, and Lee is raising the bar on the company’s awards shows as well, with a re-imagined BET Awards in 2013, and expanded Soul Train Awards on Centric. “As BET becomes more involved in the original programming arena, I’m looking forward to learning about production and providing the shows our audience wants,” Lee says. “I’m looking forward to doing the research on our viewers’ wants and needs for our audience, which is actually a really diverse group. Doing that work in the original scripted programming [arena] will help increase the probability of success for all of our programs.”
EVP, Motorola Mobility
Replacing outgoing Motorola Mobility president Dan Moloney is no easy task, especially when the company is now owned by Internet giant Google. But 26-year broadband communications veteran Fawaz is clearly stepping up to the challenge. Colleagues describe Fawaz as a skilled technology strategist with a firm grasp of the industry’s evolving dynamics. It’s no wonder he consistently reminds himself of advice given by cable pioneer Jim Chiddix years ago: Technology without a business plan is a hobby. Says Fawaz, “I apply it in everything that I do. Technology is cool, but it must deliver value and a protable business.” Back in 2010, his efforts at Charter Communications won him the prestigious NCTA Vanguard Award. Key to Marwan’s success will be his ability to capitalize on emerging trends with innovative products like Televation, Motorola’s new TV streaming service for tablets. “The ability to deliver more targeted messages, products, and solutions to consumers is highly intertwined with the ability of any business to understand those ever-dynamic needs and wants,” he says.
EVP, Content Distribution and Marketing, Scripps Networks Interactive
New York transplant Ahn didn’t need to star in an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters” to learn his way around Knoxville. A year after taking up the key distribution and marketing mantle at Scripps, he’s clearly settled in like a natural. In fact, the 25-year TV and entertainment industry veteran is leading the key renewals and distribution deals for Scripps, overseeing the dealmaking process in set- ting the distribution strategy for new platforms. Aside from his knack for creating innovative business and marketing opportunities, Ahn has leaned continually on his “sound negotiation skills” throughout his career. “My key learning has been to compromise while achieving a fair outcome for all parties,” he says. Ahn serves as a member on Scripps’ Executive Diversity Council, helping shape the company’s diversity pillar strategy in regard to recruiting, retention and messaging. How’s cable doing on diversity? “Compared to other industries, we are doing relatively well with diversity in the workforce.” Ahn says. “However, on an absolute basis we could do better, especially in bringing on recent college graduates and entry-level employees.”
EVP/General Counsel, Fox Networks
Tuzon several years ago began to map out the restructuring of Fox Networks’ business and legal affairs departments under one umbrella to better position the company for the industry warfare we like to call retransmission consent. The move has paid off, and this summer she completed the process by promoting additional key members to be able to tackle some of the toughest issues, though Tuzon enjoys being right there on the front lines when it comes to turf battles like the recent spat with Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, which spun into a web of lawsuits. Tuzon—who says listening is the skill that’s helped her most in her career—also leads Fox’s standards and practices group, making her the ultimate gatekeeper for content on all Fox cable and broadcast shows. Her best advice for young enthusiasts trying to break into cable? “Be open-minded to any opportunity,” she says. “Most senior executives you ask will tell you they took a chance or a challenge and are successfully doing something they never envisioned for themselves 10 or 20 years ago.”
President, Telemundo, NBCU
A former Univision Communications board member, Romano now fiercely battles the network giant for dominance in Spanish-language programming. He oversees a media arsenal of 15 owned stations, news and sports departments, Telemundo’s Digital Media Group, mun2 and Telemundo International. “I believe it is extremely important for media companies to genuinely reflect the population in their programming and who they hire in front of and behind the camera,” he says. “It’s good for business.” Also good for business, Romano believes, is original programming—a key mandate for the executive since he stepped into the top Telemundo slot last October. To help differentiate Telemundo, he has his sights set on developing a good portion of new programming with international media partners. Of course, World Cup coverage, which Romano wrested away from Univision for the first time ever, won’t hurt Telemundo’s bottom line. The timing couldn’t be better to raise the company’s prole as the Spanish-language programming market prepares for even more competition this fall when Rupert Murdoch throws his hat into the ring with his RCN joint venture.
EVP, Digital, Disney-ABC Television Group
Disney/ABC’s digital guru Cheng has an almost uncanny knack for staying a step—or three—ahead of both technology advances and consumer habits. The architect behind the Primetime Emmy-winning ABC. com Oscar Digital Experience and Oscar app that achieved more than 1,150% growth in downloads in 2012 over the prior year is continually breaking new digital ground. Take the new ABC Player app, a mobile player that enables viewers to watch select shows anytime, anywhere and is the sixth most downloaded free iPad app of all time. “The early part of my career has been around business strategy in various industries, and it’s definitely helped me in the digital space in evaluating how to approach disruptive change,” he says. Aside from working his technology magic on the back end, Cheng is acutely aware of his audience. “To be relevant and competitive in today’s marketplace, you need to be armed with company leaders and contributors that can also understand it natively and not just strictly from third party research,” he says. “Diversity also means having people who think and approach things differently because in a market that demands innovation, it’s never good to be complacent and comfortable.”
SVP/General Counsel, Comcast Cable
Gaston has been leading the cable law department at Comcast for eight years—a hefty challenge by any standards that ratcheted up considerably around the NBCU deal. He’s principal legal counsel to Comcast’s senior management, overseeing and directing a team of legal advisers who provide day-to- day counsel to the company’s operating departments. Gaston’s team worked to ensure compliance with the conditions associated with the NBCU deal and participated in the negotiation and implementation of the Verizon Wireless-Comcast Cable relationship. He has also provided counsel to cable divi- sion decision-makers on the rollout of new products like X1 and Skype on Xnity. A longtime champion of diversity, Gaston played a key role in Comcast’s decision to join a group of corporations that committed to collectively spend $30 million with minority- and women-owned law firms in 2010, and he spearheads a joint Comcast-NBCU diversity council of lawyers to increase diversity in hiring, promotion and development of women and minority lawyers within the merged companies.
CEO, OWN, Discovery Communications
Oprah Winfrey may be a cultural icon and media legend, but it has been a challenging year for Winfrey since she set out on her OWN. Her cable network, a partnership of Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and Discovery—has been plagued by low ratings and hemorrhaging capital almost since its inception. But ratings are up significantly in recent months. And Winfrey is not one to shy from a challenge. The potential turnaround of OWN, for which she personally stepped in as CEO last summer, could be one of the biggest come-from-behind stories in cable if she can pull it off. She’s focusing on a slate new programming, including the return of “Oprah’s Book Club” and new Daytime Emmy winner “Super Soul Sunday,” featuring relevant authors, thinkers and spiritual leaders. OWN’s financial concerns aside, there’s certainly no denying the power Winfrey yields in media and entertainment. Her empire extends into the cable, syndic
Now in his second year as NCTA’s chief lobbyist, Powell continues to push an agenda of public policy centered on investment and innovation rather than government intervention for the cable industry. Particularly with regard to broadband, the former FCC chairman advocates a light regulatory touch to ensure continued technological development. “Letting politics allocate resources—rather than market economics and entrepreneurs—would kill investment and leave the Internet in the state we find today’s post office, electric grid or crumbling transportation system,” Powell told attendees at this year’s Cable Show. Regardless of who wins the upcoming Presidential Election, technology and communications will continue to be top of mind, keeping Powell’s agenda packed. The first African-American CEO of NCTA, Powell says, “The new information age we’re entering demands that diversity be a strategic business imperative for any company that wants to succeed.”
EVP/Chief Content Officer, Discovery Networks International Discovery Communications
Silberwasser handles the Discovery production and development unit responsible for creating content across 209 countries and territories. This year, he created a programming slate featuring more lifestyle content. Silberwasser is especially proud of Discovery’s programs that bring lesser-known religions into the spotlight. “Life is diverse,” he says. “No two individuals, situations, events are the same— and television has a great opportunity to highlight and embrace these differences.”
COO, Telemundo, NBCU
Spanish programming has exploded in popularity over the past decade. At the forefront of this expansion stands Hernández, a 20-year media expert who directs Telemundo’s youth-focused mun2 network and oversees digital marketing. Hernández has been key in targeting Spanish- speaking audiences, recently supporting the launch of a NBCU marketing initiative geared toward Hispanics. She believes “the more diverse a business is, the more it understands the largest audience growth opportunity today.”
President, BBC Worldwide America
The British invasion continues to sweep the U.S., thanks to Scannell’s skills at growing the company’s audience share in its largest market outside the U.K. Scannell oversees the flagship network, BBC America, and BBC Worldwide Productions, producer of “Dancing With the Stars,” as well as all digital extensions. This year he’s mining particular success with the network’s first original series, “Copper,” which brought BBC America its highest-ever series premiere numbers, and expectations are high for the new season of “Dr. Who,” which returns this fall.
COO/CFO, NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media, NBCU
Mehta’s knack for business and strategic planning earned him a top spot managing NBCU’s fastest-growing business portfolio. A master problem-solver, he oversees daily operations and company finances for properties such as Oxygen, Telemundo, Style Network, Bravo and Fandango. Mehta previously directed the integration efforts of NBCUniversal and Comcast and also helped negotiate NBCU’s purchase of the Weather Channel and sale of the Sundance Channel. Mehta is particularly proud of Oxygen’s “The Glee Project” for its inclusiveness, and he’s “focused on improving diversity within our business operations across every level.”
President, TWC Sports Time Warner Cable
When Time Warner Cable Sports needed a leader with deep industry knowledge to steer sports program- ming, it quickly turned to Rone. Having successfully scored the television rights to the Los Angeles Lakers last year, Rone is now eyeing the Dodgers, whose television contract is set to expire after the 2013 season. He credits his continued success to his inter-personal skills and ability to articulate his thoughts in a respectful and considerate manner. But like most of us, “the skill I would most like to master is greater and more efficient time-management,” he says.
President/CEO, Fox International Channels, Fox Networks
López will go toe-to-toe with Telemundo and Univision this fall as Fox launches its Spanish-language network, MundoFox. Partnering with Columbian content provider, RCN, he hopes to leverage the Fox brand and media assets to entice a swelling Hispanic audience. Previously, his leadership helped increase revenue for the Fox Latin American Channel 10-fold. He has also overseen Fox’s entry into premium content, sports, online advertising and directed over a half-dozen channel launches.
Chairman/CEO, Entertainment Studios
Just call him Mr. Entertainment. Allen now owns six HD cable networks in addition to his plans to launch African- American-themed Legacy.TV, and later this year court show-themed Justice Central. He’s the mastermind behind Entertainment Studios’ new television subscription service platform, Smarttv.com, as well as two new sitcoms—“Mr. Box Office” and “The First Family”—for broadcast syndication and cable. Allen’s knack for delivering infectious programming has earned Entertainment Studios Daytime Emmy nominations for three programs. Outside the office, Allen for the past 20 years has emceed the annual National Multiple Sclerosis Society Dinner of Champions, and he has helped raise millions of dollars for research, programs, and services for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
President/COO, BET Networks
Leading BET’s business functions, including advertising sales, content distribution and marketing, legal and business affairs, finance, digital/mobile research international and administration operations is all in a day’s work for Mills. The network has had a busy year, making strides in connecting with viewers via various technology ventures such as the iPad and iPhone app, and planning new programming forays such as a late-night talk series with former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes.
President, Affiliate Distribution Starz Entertainment
Starz and Encore are both sitting atop record subscription levels, and Huguez is one of the main reasons why. The lead distribution executive for the company, Huguez recently rose to his new position after he championed a string of new deals with distributors including Cox, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse, bringing Starz to more than 20 million subs and Encore to 33.6 million subs as of April. With his elevated role, Huguez has spoken more regularly at industry events, and his profile is almost certain to rise in tandem with these growing nets—especially as buzz continues to build around Liberty Media’s spin-off of Starz and a potential sale down the road.
President, Broadcast Media Sales BET Networks
Carr leaves no stone unturned when it comes to formulating deals to generate revenue for BET, Centric and BET. com. He’s the brains behind such initiatives as BET’s Black College Tour for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and his sales team has had a stellar 21 straight years of advertising revenue growth. Today, Carr is responsible for 60% of the company’s total revenue, rendering him one of the most influential African-Americans in the media and marketing industry. When not engrossed in BET’s media matters, Carr presides over TV LLC, a real estate company that owns, manages and invests in multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago and that has contributed to the redevelopment of the city’s inner-city neighborhoods.
President, Travel Channel Scripps Networks Interactive
Ong brought Travel Channel the net- work’s most successful year in 2011. She also played an instrumental role in the acquisition of Travel Channel Inter- national, widening brand outreach. Her mix of media experience, combined with her powerful business foresight, has resulted in tremendous company growth. What’s her secret to good decision-making? Waiting. “Sometimes a problem solves itself, sometimes an answer evolves that was not immediately apparent, and sometimes you simply need more time to think about a situation,” she says.
GM, ESPN Deportes
ESPN Deportes is ESPN’s gateway to serving Hispanic sports fans, and Garcia is a formidable team captain. What “has helped me greatly in my career is visualizing what ‘could be,’ and making it a reality rather than staying with what’s already tried, proven, easy and already exploited,” he says. He oversees marketing, programming, digital and sales operations, executing out-of-the-box strategies such as re- cent deals that enable advertisers to deliver their messages in both English and Spanish. Over the last year, Garcia oversaw an increase in the network’s live weekly soccer programming to an average of eight premier matches, and under his leader- ship, ESPN also launched the first bilingual “This is Sports- Center” campaign.
Enrique “Henry” Martinez
President/Managing Director, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic, Discovery Communications
The global warming trend continues around Martinez, whose decade-long leadership has propelled DLA/USH to one of the industry’s fastest-growing international divisions now with 13 networks distributed in 39 countries and territories, reaching more than 236 million cumulative subscribers and customized in three languages. A pioneer of pay TV in Latin America, team player Martinez says he always strives to build “the greatest team possible and [to] collaborate with it to set and then accomplish clearly articulated objectives.”
EVP/Chief Strategy Officer, Cox Communications
Strategic partnerships and new business ventures are top of mind for Saksena, who joined the Cox executive team after serving as SVP, corporate strategy at TWC. In his role at Cox, he is responsible for strategic business planning, competitive assessments, marketplace evaluations and new growth opportunities, which he assesses in partnership with his peers at parent company Cox Enterprises and others throughout the cable and telecom industries.
EVP/GM, Fox Deportes, Fox Networks
Fox Deportes’ production, programming, development, research, marketing, on-air pro- motion, scheduling, distribution strategy and new media ventures all sit on Cordero’s heaping plate. The former Univision exec excels at dealmaking, evidenced no more readily than by his securing Spanish- language broadcast coverage of 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup races through 2013, including live coverage of the Daytona 500. Fox Deportes will also produce a series of original NASCAR programs focused on engaging the Latino fan base. Start your engines!
Juan Carlos Rodriguez
President, Univision Deportes
One of the most influential sports execs in Latin America, Rodriguez has successfully negotiated TV and radio rights with FIFA, the European Champion’s Soccer League, Juve TV Networks, Canal Plus, the NFL, MLB, NBA and ISO to provide more than 10K hours of sports programming. He recently stepped into the top Univision Deportes slot after a successful run as CEO of Televisa Deportes Network, where he launched Televisa Deportes Network HD, Televisa Deportes Network 2.0, and TDW, the No. 1 Mexican sports radio brand in both in sales and ratings in Mexico. Not surprisingly, this strategist’s best advice for newcomers to cable is to “become specialists.”
Chief Human Resources Officer, Turner Broadcasting System
Over the past year, Walker’s team of executives overhauled company structures to create a streamlined employee service center. This initiative has led to markedly improved employee service delivery within Turner. Walker looks to encourage company growth by setting up employee developmental and mentorship programs. Her goal is to hire employees as smart—if not smarter—than herself “and give them the resources they need,” she says. “Then, get out of their way, let them do their jobs and hold them accountable for the results.” Walker fills seats on the boards of several social advocacy groups.
Chairman, TV One
TV One founder Liggins continues to oversee his legacy, which now encompasses television, radio, social media and other media platforms. Since Radio One took a majority stake in TV One last year, consummate dealmaker Liggins has become increasingly involved in the network’s long- and short-term plans while still keeping a broad lens on the industry as a whole as a member of the NCTA Board of Directors. His take on diversity? “As the composition of the audience continues to diversify, the cable industry’s longevity is reliant upon keeping pace with the audience’s interests and must continue to lead the charge to identify and develop content that resonates,” he says.
EVP, International A+E Networks
Over-delivery. That’s what Cohan strives for every day as EVP, inter- national, for A+E Networks. Cohan heads up several international offices, operating in 150 countries. He helped the History Channel enter India and Australia, garnering more than 50 million new subscribers. A+E Networks’ channels consistently rank among the top three factual channels worldwide thanks to Cohan’s leadership. Cohan is a strong sponsor of diversity programs and a vocal participant on the network’s diversity council. “The skill that has helped me most is probably the ability to relate to, talk to, and roll up sleeves with people of all sorts of backgrounds, perspectives, roles, and levels,” he shares.
VP, Community Investment, Comcast Corp; President, the Comcast Foundation
Comcast’s most senior female minority executive, Lillie is responsible for multi-million-dollar partnerships with national community and non-prot groups and oversees community and employee projects, such as Comcast Cares Day. One of Comcast’s most prominent ambassadors to the industry, she is responsible for overall leadership of corporate and Foundation charitable giving, all of Comcast’s national community partnerships with organizations such as City Year and United Way Worldwide. Though she acknowledges marked improvement in the business focus on diversity, Lillie “would like to see improvement in the hiring and retention of diverse employees at all levels of cable companies and more diversity on the boards of cable companies.”
Chief Legal Officer/Corporate Secretary, Scripps Networks Interactive
Cruz sits atop Scripps’ Executive Committee alongside the CEO, president and CFO, instituting corporate strategic decisions. His considerable experience in law practice makes him a master business negotiator, deftly brokering mergers, acquisitions, and pivotal distribution agreements. Cruz uses his influence to forward Scripps’ “Change the World” initiative, birthed to better the lives of those in need. As you go through life, he says, focus less on your career trajectory and more on understanding who you are becoming as a person. He’d like to see improved diversity at every level of cable, “particularly in the C-suites and boardrooms of the organizations that make up our industry.”
EVP, MTV and VH1, MTV Networks
Gay drives strategic and operational initiatives within the brands of the Via- com Music Group, including MTV, VH1 and CMT. In this role, he brokers deals that help the Group build new revenue streams for its major brands and franchises, such as the recent partnership with a major spirits company, a leading music library and a major events producer. He’s also helped develop festival concepts and identify partners to bring them to fruition, and helped drive new advertiser-sponsored content. Among the lessons Gay has gleaned over the years: “Sometimes you have to separate the message from its delivery. You can learn from any situation, even those that aren’t particularly pleasant.”
GM, mun2, NBCUniversal
Mogollon led mun2 to its best-ever ratings and revenue in year 2011, and followed up with the network holding the top Hispanic cable net position in 2012 in key demos for numerous weeks running. A trend- setter in the Hispanic programming realm, she is the final say on all content the network creates and acquires, and she holds a key leadership role within the Comcast/NBCU family. Though Mogollon says cable is doing better than broadcast on diversity, “We still have a long way to go on truly understanding how to showcase diversity and make the case that it’s great business all around.”
CFO, USA Network, NBCUniversal
2011 was a stellar year for Chu. Not only did she help exceed USA’s annual budget, but she also set new company prot records. Her sweep- ing purview extends across USA’s development, production, marketing and acquisitions divisions. Chu urges those anxious to accelerate their career to focus on the present. “If you excel in your current job, opportunities to advance usually come knocking,” she says. Chu supports several high-potential NBCU employees through professional mentorship and career coaching.
EVP, Global Inclusion Strategy, MTV Networks; EVP, Public Affairs and Chief of Staff, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group
A testament not only to her cable industry savvy but her commitment to diversity, Smalls stepped up five years ago to become MTVN’s very first EVP of global inclusion strategy while retaining her role in public affairs. She steers the company’s efforts to foster a diverse, multicultural and inclusive workforce, working with the upper echelons of all MTVN brands as well as expanding the networks’ partnerships with outside organizations to help further the company’s inclusion efforts. “Diversity and inclusion are as essential as creativity and innovation for success in a global market- place,” Smalls has said.
EVP/CFO, BET Networks
Pickrum not only manages the books for BET, but he plays a strategic role in the overall management of the company. When it comes to advising recent college grads on how to break into cable, he suggests first doing some homework on the industry. Then, “take calculated risks now. Most recent graduates believe that they do not have a lot of flexibility with their lives because of various constraints. However, they don’t realize that as they get older they actually have less flexibility, or more constraints. At this stage in their lives, they should be open to work or do a job that may not be perfectly aligned with what they think they wanted to do.”
Chief Marketing Officer, BET Networks
A veteran with nearly two decades of brand marketing and media management experience, Free hit the ground running last June when she joined BET from her marketing post at TBS. Delegation with clear direction, she says, is key. “As I’ve matured as a leader, I am clear that delegation is paramount to successful leadership. The key, however, is delegation with clear direction, expectations and empowerment,” she says. Free no doubt calls upon that skill as she directs the brand, marketing and creative strategy for all BET Networks businesses, including on-air promotions, off-channel and digital marketing, and affiliate and trade marketing.
SVP/GM, BET International and Paramount Channel, BET Networks
SVP/GM, BET International and Paramount Channel BET NetworksArmstrong puts BET Networks content in more than 54 countries throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe. His work detail involves program licensing and the development, launch and operation of branded channels. He also oversees BET brands being brought to mobile and broadband platforms. Diplomacy has proven to be his most valuable business asset, helping him cement key partnerships. What needs improvement? “I’d also like to master pick- ing up guaranteed hit television shows,” he says. “That’s a skill, right?”
EVP/General Counsel, BET Networks
As chief legal officer for BET Networks, Walker is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s legal affairs, including business matters, content management, compliance issues, con- tract negotiations and administration. Walker, who reports to COO Scott Mills, also oversees all BET legal and support staff as well as outside legal counsel. “Darrell brings the combination of exceptional legal experience and sound business judgment to this role,” Mills has said.
EVP, Business and Legal Affairs/Deputy General Counsel, Fox Networks
Fox Networks has called upon Teran’s legal expertise and guidance for more than 10 years. A law graduate and former firm associate, Teran directs a team focused on many of Fox’s domestic and international properties. She meticulously securitizes and verifies every detail of her work since first working in law. An error, she says, leads people to subconsciously search for similar mistakes and makes it less likely they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when future issues arise.
Salaam Coleman Smith
President, Style Media, NBCUniversal
Coleman Smith is proof positive that focus, discipline—and a dash of pop culture—are always in Style. As president of the new Style Media conglomerate, she still leads Style Network and is fostering spin-offs of Style channels around the globe, including the U.K. and Australia, and in the digital realm with MyStyle.com. She’s also fresh from attending the Olympics. “While there, I was struck by how the spirit of an athlete mirrors the spirit of an effective leader,” she says. “It’s important to find the right balance between teamwork, singular purpose, command leadership and humility.”
EVP/Chief Marketing Officer, TV One
Former WE tv exec Bailey has been busy forging deals to freshen TV One’s image since she joined the network a year ago. A master at achieving the balance between program promotion and network branding, she’s focused on researching the network’s image and preparing new branding, including new digital marketing strategies and greater cohesion among the network’s ad sales, affiliate sales and consumer marketing efforts. Flexibility and versatility have been key assets throughout Bailey’s career. “The diversity of my experiences and willingness to embrace change broadens and deepens the value of my personal port- folio while adding greatly to the satisfaction I experience at this point in my career,” she says.
GM, Sony Movie Channel/SVP, Networks, Sony Movie Channel, Sony Pictures Television
Kalle is involved with nearly every aspect of Sony Movie Channel—from programming and marketing, to HD and 3D broadcasting. Her 15 years of experience at Sony Pictures helped her establish a clear company vision to guide employees. “I was told that being smart and working hard were expected,” she says. “What makes someone stand out is how they lead and inspire a team.” She believes success hinges on efficient time management, know- ing where to focus and when to delegate.
SVP/Operating Manager, Univision/Galavision Network
Trujillo oversees programming, operations and production for the network he has called home since 1985. Through the years, he has become more convinced of the importance of advice he got early on: “Surround yourself with good people.” Says Trujillo, “Hire the best whenever possible. Don’t hesitate in hiring someone that is smarter and/or more experienced than you. It will push you and the organization to a higher level of success.” These sage words no doubt will continue to guide Trujillo as competition heats up in the Spanish-language programming sandbox.
EVP, Human Resources, Showtime/CBS Television Networks
On top of directing human resources for 10K-plus employees, Gutierrez dedicates himself to helping hundreds of students. For more than a decade, he has been deeply involved with a public high school, judging science fairs, sponsoring the school’s orchestra and serving as a commencement speaker. The school honored his tireless commitment with the Business Supporting Education Award. “My goal now is to guide others to become both better listeners and better mentors—forward-thinking and open to change,” he says.
President/CEO, TV One
Less than a year into her time as president and CEO of TV One, Lucas has pushed hard for fresh properties, doubling the amount of original programming. And it’s working. Her first original series, “Find Our Missing,” drew critical acclaim and received an award for its coverage of African-American issues. Previously, Lucas occupied senior positions at Turner, Discovery and the Weather Channel. She credits her success to strong mentors who taught her that with prioritization and patience, “you can do it all, but maybe not at the same time.”
One needed only to be sitting in the room at the NAMIC breakfast at the Cable Show—and at every subsequent event where she has taken the stage—to feel the dynamic energy Turner-Lee brings to this vital industry organization. A policy expert who’s specialized in how to bridge digital disparities, she earlier this year was one of four participants in Time Warner Cable’s signature Digital Research Program. Turner-Lee negotiates with the industry’s leading companies, associations, and executives to expand opportunities for NAMIC’s members and helps propel the next generation of initiatives.
Executive Director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation
Since 1980, the Kaitz Foundation has stood tall as a tireless advocate for diversity throughout the cable and telecom industries. And since 2006, Porter has been hard at work overseeing day-to-day management of the Foundation, including the allocation of the foundation’s funds and outreach programs such as an industrywide supplier diversity initiative. Porter’s extensive resume includes stints at Howard University and UCLA, where he helped create the UCLA African American Leadership Institute and the school’s executive development program of NAMIC.
SVP, Original Programming, IFC, AMC Networks
Acting on advice from her dad, DeMontreux took a summer job at Cablevision after graduating from high school 24 years ago. Today, she resides at AMC Networks (formerly Cablevision’s Rainbow Media) where she oversees original comedy hatchlings including “Portlandia.” Under her guidance, this offbeat Oregonian series amassed 13.5 million viewers for its second season and earned a Pea- body Award for television excellence. For job seekers, she stresses the power of networking. “People you’ve made strong impressions with will remember you when opportunities arise,” she says.
SVP, Customer Service, Cablevision
Boler pilots customer service for Cablevision, with particular focus on the ever-important call centers. Although he manages a lot of moving parts nowadays, he recounts how a failed attempt at rebuilding a car engine changed his life. When his reassembled motor refused to start, his dad asked if he had paid attention during disassembly to how the parts had been connected. It’s a lesson he still applies today. “Paying attention to the details and closely inspecting how things are related can make all the difference between success and failure,” he says.
Head of Content for DLA/USH and GM, Southern Cone, Discovery Communications
Discovery is moving full-speed ahead in its bid to conquer Latin America. Former Disney exec Lightcap was just starting her gig at Discovery as our Diversity issue was going to press. Now based in Buenos Aires, she will head all content-related areas including programming, marketing, program publicity and promotions in the area. She’ll also be responsible for overseeing Discovery’s business in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay. Aside from settling into her new digs and role, Lightcap tells us she’d like to master another skill: Work-life balance. “As a working mother, it’s never an easy task,” she says.
Janet Han Vissering
SVP, Strategic Development and Co-Finance, NGCI National Geographic Channels
An integral member of the Nat Geo programming team, Han Vissering manages co-finance and strategic alliances with both domestic and international broadcast and production partners. She also manages the network’s global programming budget through co-finance agreements, and sources and develops global programming, including negotiation of output deals as well as developing alternative funding sources through non-prof- its, private organizations and state-funded associations. At heart, she’s a steadfast entrepreneur. “Being entrepreneurial in all my endeavors has always paid dividends,” she says. “I’m always trying to master how to maximize my time in juggling both my professional and personal life.”
GM, Cooking Channel, Scripps Networks Interactive
As GM of the Cooking Channel, Smith dishes up a company growth strategy that guides programming and marketing. He played an integral part in making the network’s launch one of the largest in cable history, serving content to 58 mil- lion homes. Smith first developed an interest in cable during college thanks to an industry outreach program. In order to attract a fresh batch of diverse talent, he strongly recommends cable do a better job getting students excited about the industry. “We’re not going to see significant diversity gains in the boardroom until we get more students of color excited about our industry in the classroom,” he says.
President, Original Programming, BET Networks
Jones drives some of the network’s highest-rated programming, including “The Game” and “Reed Between the Lines” in her role overseeing all original programming, news, development, planning and acquisitions for BET. Aside from her role at BET, she mentors aspiring broadcast professionals and regularly speaks to minority groups about the current state of the cable and broader TV industry, and the best ways to establish a career. Jones is active throughout the entertainment industry, with involvement in groups including the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Producers Guild of America.
President of Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks
For many viewers, BET is synonymous with music culture, and the specials—including the net’s signature awards show—that arise from that culture. Hill manages the creation, development and production of all music programming and specials at BET, including “106 & Park,” “Black Girls Rock!,” “The BET Honors” and “The BET Awards.” And he believes in super-serving BET’s core audience. “While trying to expand listenership/viewership, one might be tempted to incorporate elements into the programming that might attract others, but turn off the core,” he says. “You’ll rarely have enough of those elements to consistently attract a critical mass and the dilution off the main product will turn off the loyals.”
EVP, Program Scheduling, Univision Communications
As a visionary leader of Univision’s expanding portfolio of cable networks, Rodriguez helped to launch several Univision nets including telenovelas, news hub ForoTV and sports channel Univision Deportes. The telenovelas launch marked the first time some of the most popular novelas of all time from Televisa were available since they first aired. “We know the continued growth of the Hispanic population represents a wonderful opportunity for the cable industry to grow by serving this demographic with the services and products they need,” she says. “That is why Univision continues to invest and launched three new networks over the past 12 months.”
EVP, Human Resources, Scripps Networks Interactive
With consumers becoming more diverse with every passing day, “we need to reflect those audiences and align with their needs through our programming, products and services,” says Powell. Wise words from the exec who defines the people talent at Scripps, and whose development of a talent framework to support the company’s rapid growth has resulted in the recruitment/promotion of key industry executives, including Laureen Ong, Michael Smith, Lisa Choi Owens and Tammy Franklin.
Corporate VP, Government and Industry Affairs, Bright House Networks
Count Johnson’s formidable leadership of Bright House’s technological infrastructure with an eye to policy decisions as a key reason the Republican National Convention named the company its official telecom provider for the convention. Capable, collaborative and with a keen sense both of Bright House operations and those of the industry at large, Johnson also evaluates policy implications associated with the company’s service delivery and long-term strategy.
SVP/GM, Sports Operations, Turner Sports
Hong negotiates new partnerships and manages key relationships within Turner Sports’ continually evolving portfolio. He was instrumental in creating an immersive online and mobile viewing experience for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and in providing fans with a ubiquitous viewing experience for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament on digital platforms. He’s also been a key force at the table negotiating Turner’s long-term partnership with the NCAA and an agreement with Yahoo! Sports, where he uses the skill that’s best suited him in his career: “Trying to maintain an even temperament in stressful situations.”
SVP, Distribution Business Development Analytics & Marketing, A+E Networks
Garner is responsible for digital distribution, distribution marketing and distribution analytics and, as such, sits at the negotiating table with every major multichannel video program distributor. A champion for the expansion of advanced media, his role has expanded to include negotiating and managing over-the-top distribution domestically and internationally. He’s one of the lead architects of the nets’ distribution strategy, including its TV Everywhere and interactive TV deals. The secret to his success? “Early on I learned that it was important to recognize what power truly meant,” he says. “Power, I was told, is yours until you give it away. The moment you allow others to dictate your path and shape your success (or failure) is the moment you have given away your power.”
SVP, Strategic Partnerships, NBCUniversal
Asencio is one of the savviest strategists in cable. She ascended this March on the merits of her work to secure a slew of incremental distribution deals, including recent work for the Olympics, E!, Style Network and Golf Channel. Asencio works closely with the brand leaders, deal and marketing teams to execute strategic partnerships and VIP events connecting distribution partners with NBCUniversal brands, and credits relationship-building as the skill that helps her get the job done. “After 20 plus years in the industry, I have to say that forging and developing relationships has been integral to my success,” she says. Asencio recently completed a term as president of the CTAM’s New York Chapter, and is an active member of WICT.
CFO, Bravo, NBCUniversal
Tang has risen quickly through the ranks at Bravo and was elevated to CFO last spring. A razor-sharp analyst with a keen understanding of the multichannel space, she helps lead the network’s continued foray into new digital arenas. But don’t let her propensity toward math fool you. It’s not all work and no play for Tang. Asked what skills she’d like to improve, she jokes: “At Bravo, I am surrounded by smart, funny and driven people, so I am constantly finding things about myself that I could improve and tweak. I will be vague and say there is always room for improvement.”
EVP/Chief People Officer, Cox Communications
The recently promoted Taylor sets the human capital strategy in support of Cox’s long-term strategy and operating plans. She works with the executive team to drive talent management and development, organizational development, employee engagement and retention, labor relations, diversity and inclusion, rewards and workforce analytics and human resources technology systems. Previously, as a senior human resources executive in Cox’s Louisiana system, she implemented numerous organizational changes and realignments including the consolidation of Cox Greater Louisiana and New Orleans systems.
EVP, Corporate Market Research, BET Networks
Barnhill sifts through viewer patterns and trends to unearth vital consumer insights for BET. “I am very analytical and love discovering answers and solving problems,” he says. His research into African-American families has led to the launch of several hit BET series. When unique opportunities present themselves, Barnhill recommends keeping an open mind. “Even if you have reasons to say no, you may not get another chance at a great opportunity,” he says.
SVP, Customer Care, Comcast Cable
Presiding over a multimillion-dollar budget that feeds Comcast’s customer care operations is all in a day’s work for Edmunds, who this winter headed to Philadelphia after a 15- year career at Cox. In her new role, Edmunds presides over all care strategies and operations in support of more than 17 million combined video, data and phone customers through- out the 15 states that comprise Comcast’s Central Division. She will be based at division headquarters in Atlanta, which was also the location of her last job with Cox. A tireless advocate for diversity, she’s already working her magic at Comcast by recruiting several key industry leaders, two of whom happen to be minority females.
EVP, Affiliate Sales & Marketing, TV One
Rice determines which affiliate deals are financially advantageous to TV One in what continues to be a challenging environment for distribution. This past year was a busy one. She completed a deal with Cablevision that brought much of the all-important New York market into the TV One fold. In recent years, she and her staff have overseen TV One launches in markets with relatively low African-American household penetration. “Two closely related skills that have served me well are adaptability and innovative thinking,” she says. “I have been successful by helping my organization stay informed and by making strategic decisions that help evolve the way we do business.”
EVP, Original Programming and Production, TV One
Judkins is the definition of busy these days. She oversees a slate of original programming that has doubled in 2012—including the network’s top-rated series “Unsung”—without expanding her existing team of production executives. A savvy producer, she knows how to make cost-effective deals and bring in top-rate production companies that produce programming that looks every bit as expensive as content airing on much larger networks—but costs substantially less. Among the deals Judkins has brought to TV One are the network’s tent-pole Essence Music Festival special and a more recent spate of reality shows and sitcoms.
EVP/Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, TV One
Pull back the curtain on TV One’s re- cent foray into scripted programming, and you’ll find Wishart, who created the financial model that allows the network to move ahead with a new business plan that should result in two scripted series debuting before year end 2012. Wishart, who also oversees human resources, is often the ultimate deal negotiator for TV One and success- fully negotiated TV One’s buyout of DirecTV’s interest in the company, resulting in Radio One’s taking a majority interest. Diversity, she says, “just makes business sense. Consumer focused businesses need to have a workforce that at all levels is reflective of the customers they serve.”
SVP, Corporate Strategy, Analysis and Communication, Showtime Networks
An insightful barometer of the challenging sandbox where Showtime plays, Clarke led the network’s iPad strategy and identified a mobile device management solution that serves the Showtime iPad community as well as other divisions of CBS Corp. Her team is now developing custom apps and resources to enhance sales force productivity and helping multiple departments discover more efficient ways to do their work on the go. One of the best pieces advice she’s gotten? “Let the past be your floor and not your ceiling,” she says.
SVP, Commercial and Advertising, Suddenlink Communications
Suddenlink may have gotten a fresh infusion of capital this summer via the buyout, but Stephens and his team have been delivering strong growth levels, particularly in the area of telecom acquisitions that position the company to provide network services for cell towers. In fact, commercial revenue of $60 million in the first three months of 2012 represented nearly 12% of Suddenlink’s total revenue, and 15.4% growth over the first quarter of 2011. Among the reasons diversity is important? “A diverse employee base and leadership team will provide more creativity and innovation, which in turn will lead to greater organizational success,” he says.
SVP, NBC Sports Ventures, NBC Sports Group
Simmelkjaer taps into his experience brokering deals across four continents to help NBC Sports’ international expansion. Aside from business dealings, Simmelkjaer hops on-air to host NBC Sports Report and regularly appears on the NBC Sports network. Over the last year, he introduced the Red Bull Signature Series and revamped the Dew Action Sports Tour. A career-long mentor, he advises job seekers to build gratitude by helping someone in the industry, however they can. “Be persistent,” he says. “Not annoying, but persistent.”
SVP, Media Strategy & Marketing Operations, National Geographic Networks
The cable industry’s ever-shifting tides have taught Clark the importance of continued mental flexibility. “I never want to be someone who’s married to the phrase, ‘That is the way we always do it’,” she says. And with television experiencing a surge in multi- cultural viewers, Clark says more diversity is simply imperative. “Without diversity of perspectives, ideas and people, we’re destined to chase our customers versus attract them with programming and product that reflects their point of view,” she says.
SVP, Affiliate Operations and New Media Development, Scripps Networks Interactive
Franklin’s star has been on the rise at Scripps, where she plays a pivotal role in affiliate renewal successes. A fierce negotiator and deal closer, she ably works with multiple MSO partners while her role within the company’s distribution team has recently expanded to include a greater focus on digital platforms. “I want to see the cable industry become more diverse from the point of diversity of experiences,” she says. “I believe that we remain too insular. There are many useful perspectives that could be extremely helpful if we were to seek individuals from outside of our industry.”
EVP, Business and Legal Affairs, Current Media
Former music mogul Harleston has been with Current since the network launched in 2005 and has overseen Current’s business affairs both in the U.S. and globally in its operations in Italy, the U.K., Ireland and South Africa. “At Current, we have always been of the view that great talent comes from myriad places, and we embrace the unique perspectives and experiences that our staff brings to the company,” he says. “In that connection, our business affairs group reflects a richly diverse team—ethnically and otherwise—whose skill and talent have made each member a leader in the organization.”
SVP, Human Resources/Chief Diversity Officer, ESPN
As a direct result of Richardson’s visionary leadership, ESPN and Disney have achieved diversity objectives across all parts of the company in recruitment, development, compensation and training. “I am a firm believer that collectively we are smarter than we are individually, and that it is an important component of my job to seek the total engagement of our workforce,” he says. Most recently, Richardson turned his attention to another sector through Heroes Work Here, an unprecedented initiative to recruit and train U.S. veterans and encourage other major corporations to do the same. He also led the development of new promotion and pay analysis tools at ESPN and designed to help managers, human resources and executives understand emerging industry trends.
Tina Simmons Waters
SVP, Human Performance, National Customer Operations, Comcast Cable
Waters knows how to foster strong relationships. And she must, as overseer of employee initiatives for a staggering 50K workers. Her efforts upping employee job satisfaction and slashing attrition have yielded a more productive and welcoming work environment. Always one to speak her mind, she is a vocal supporter and prominent member of several multicultural groups dedicated to the promotion of workplace diversity. “Diversity is important to cable’s bottom line because we must reflect the customer base we serve in order to identify how best to market, sell, and service them,” she says.
SVP, Business Affairs & Programming Legal, Discovery Communications
Williams-Fauntroy ensures Discovery’s programming makes it to air by boosting the company over legal hurdles. Content liability, libel, defamation and copyright issues are all hers to handle. When requesting assistance, she recommends a proactive approach. “It’s OK to ask for help, but bring something to the table to contribute to the solution,” she says. Williams-Fauntroy takes a place on the board of several diversity- promoting organizations and recently advised Discovery on a clothing drive benefiting low-income women.
VP/CFO, Oxygen Media, NBCUniversal
Oxygen entrusts Chadda with safe-guarding the organization’s broadening financial operations. Chadda breathed fresh air into the network’s long-term strategy by helping expand Oxygen’s original programming by 50% in 2012. Early in his career, Chadda was hesitant to share his opinions during meetings out of respect to his superiors, until one day a mentor encouraged him to speak up. “Your bosses want to receive candid feedback as long as it’s backed up with actionable information and context,” he says.
Cablefax 100 – 2019 Nominations Due
February 01, 2019
Cablefax Leaders Retreat 2019
April 29, 2019