Evolutionists theorize that humans may have experienced a few instances of sudden progress over the last few hundred thousand years—times when incremental improvement gave way to giant leaps forward. For the cable industry, which has made slow and steady progress on diversity for at least two or three decades, it’s perhaps reasonable to assume that we’re on the cusp of a major leap. Call it Diversity 2.0, a tipping point that could make all of those previous strides finally pay off in a big way.
Or not. As many of the incredible minority execs featured in this magazine mentioned to us, the industry’s progress—while laudable when it comes sheer numbers of minorities in entry-level and middle-management positions— starts to look less impressive when applied to upper management. CEOs and boards are still mostly white and male. No way around that. Sure, there are reasons for this that aren’t necessarily rooted in racism. For one thing, many of the current CEOs and EVP-level execs came up in the 1960s and 1970s when diversity basically meant varying up your lunchtime cocktail selections. Those execs have now reached the level of age and experience justifying their upper positions. And because of medical and health advances, they’re staying in those positions longer than ever before. Combine those factors with corporate downsizing and consolidation, and the opportunities for minority execs to advance to those upper levels remains daunting.
Of course, none of this is to suggest that cable has done a bad job. In fact, this industry has done a vastly more than most with its mentoring programs, organizations and internal diversity programs spanning across the distribution, programming and technology sides of the business. Many have deflected credit, arguing that these are merely smart business moves as the customer base becomes more diverse. That’s true, but these efforts are also a moral mission of sorts. Those of us who care about diversity understand the business benefits. But we also feel an obligation to right years of discrimination that continue to unravel slowly before us.
The cable industry—as well as many other parts of corporate America— should be proud of the strides everyone has made toward a more diverse workplace. We’ve never had so many minority executives on this list, and that’s because of those very efforts. But it’s not a numbers game anymore. It’s an opportunity game. And there’s still much work to do in the upper management ranks where minority execs can truly influence the overall strategic direction of these companies— and of course ensure that they keep those doors of opportunity open. The evolution continues.
When Univision beat NBC in the February Sweeps, it got noticed. And when it beat all the broadcast nets in July Sweeps, it really got noticed. Enter NBCU, which lured Conde away from Univision in September. His newly created position has him focusing on business development, strategic priorities and special business projects across the NBCU portfolio. He also oversees the International Group, led by newly appointed chairman Kevin MacLellan. We’re keenly interested to see what sort of stamp Conde puts on NBCU—especially considering his 10-year run at Univision and his role co-founding the Futuro Program, a nonprofit that provides role models and educational workshops to Hispanic high school students. It’s an exciting hire for NBCU, as well as for the entire TV industry. And so how does Conde define diversity? “Diversity is all encompassing. It means having diverse backgrounds, ideas and experiences all represented at the decision-making table. That’s how I believe great teams are built and in turn succeed,” he says.
Chairman/CEO, BET Networks
Lee has much to celebrate. Since taking the reins at BET in 2005, she has worked tirelessly to refine and reinvigorate the company’s brand. That brand has been on an upward trajectory for some time, and Lee’s efforts continue to pay off big-time this year. From its signature BET Awards and other event specials that rated strongly with black audiences, to the success of original programming like multi-demo hit “The Game,” to the response to the network’s first original movie, “Being Mary Jane”—which drew 4 million total viewers with an average of 2.8 million households—BET is delivering to its target audience and then some. And the connection with fans didn’t stop at the small-screen. The inaugural BET Experience three-day music event in L.A. garnered heavy ticket sales and favorable reviews. Lee believes the cable industry needs to continue “to fill the pipeline with diverse candidates who are able to move up the ladder and occupy C-suite positions. In order to thrive, the cable industry needs to have management teams and decision makers who reflect the increasingly diverse U.S. population.”
President, Telemundo Media
This year Romano has led Telemundo into a period of tremendous growth. Currently the nation’s top producer of Spanish-language primetime content, Telemundo is breaking records. The first half of 2013 was the network’s best ever, and late summer growth indicates the second half of the year will likely be as strong, if not stronger than the first. Telemundo delivered the best quarter ever in the first quarter of 2013, on the heels of a record-breaking 2012. And millennial-focused mun2 also broke records. “With NBC Universal’s support, we are focused on creating the Hispanic Hollywood, producing high quality content, and growing our distribution,” he says. “Our strategy is clearly starting to pay off.”
EVP/General Council, Fox Networks Group
A guiding force behind the launch of MundoFox, Tuzon is currently engaged in leading Fox’s legal challenges to the DISH-Hopper ad-skipping feature and TV streaming startup Aereo. She also oversaw the business and legal efforts involved in securing Fox’s partnership with the Yankees for the YES Network. Working with a solid, reliable team is important to Tuzon, who says that “a strong work ethic, an open mind and a positive attitude, excellent judgment, and an egalitarian view of the work team” are among qualities she seeks in new hires.
EVP, Content Distribution & Marketing, Scripps Networks Interactive
Two years into the lofty job of overseeing Scripps’ distribution strategy, Ahn has added several feathers to his already sizable cap, including the launch of TV Everywhere to well more than half (65%) of Scripps’ customers. He also led the negotiation that secured Scripps’ first online-only subscription distribution deal earlier this year, which brought hundreds of episodes from HGTV, Food Network, DIY, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel to Amazon Prime Video customers. When looking to hire a member of his team, Ahn looks for “curiosity and energy. I seek out people who care deeply and are willing to grow and learn.”
Chairman, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
No one likes a good comeback more than Winfrey. This year she’s the star of her OWN story, with continued momentum after double-digit ratings growth in 2012. The first series from her exclusive multiyear development deal with Tyler Perry—”The Haves and Have Nots,” and “Love Thy Neighbor”—came on strong and were ordered up for two more seasons. Tent pole shows like “Oprah’s Master Class” continue to draw viewers, and her multiplatform Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 is a winner. Then there’s the heart of the Winfrey experience—her in-depth interviews. For instance, her January sit-down with Lance Armstrong for “Oprah’s Next Chapter” reached a whopping 28 million viewers globally. While subsequent interview specials with the likes of Beyonce didn’t quite reach those levels, it’s safe to say the queen of talk is back on her throne.
EVP, Digital, Disney-ABC Television Group
Cheng always clocks in near the top of our list, and here’s why: He’s a lofty visionary who also has the business acumen to get products and services launched on the ground. No small task when your launch pad is the massive ABC-Disney group. After soaring success with the Watch Disney TVE products in 2012, Cheng took a crack at Watch ABC this year—even sooner than his team had planned to. And now device-based access to ABC’s 24-hour feed is already available in all eight ABC-owned local station markets. Cheng also has his hands all over the company’s social media strategy and other multiplatform distribution models. Known as a strong team player, Cheng says: “An incredible mentorship experience happens when there is a two-way exchange and learning on both sides.”
The former FCC chairman took the helm at NCTA in 2011 and has since focused largely on the availability and reliability of broadband, a message he touted at this year’s Cable Show and which he recently defended in a letter to the editor of the LA Times. An always-eloquent speaker, Powell has pointed to the staggering $200 billion spent building out the cable industry over the past decade, which resulted in a speed increase of 1,500%, broadband rollout to 93% of the country and continued innovation. “We should work harder than ever to ensure that all Americans—regardless of ethnicity, background, or gender—can enjoy the benefits of broadband,” he says. Onward!
President, Sports, News and Local Programming, Time Warner Cable
Not only is Rone a good sport, he’s also a newsman now. Last year he assembled a team of 300 employees and successfully launched regional sports nets for the L.A. Lakers and Galaxy. This year his role expanded from overseeing TWC’s sports programming business to include oversight of TWC’s 52 local news channels across the country, which he’s working to rebrand under “Time Warner Cable News” outlets. He’s also busy launching, distributing and selling ads for SportsNet LA, new the regional net home for the L.A. Dodgers beginning with the 2014 MLB season. “In any scenario, reject the crutch of homogeneity and in turn, embrace a process that encompasses a variety of voices, experiences, perspective and capabilities,” he says, “therefore, making it inclusive enough to get you to the best and right place in the end.” Wise words.
West Division President, Comcast Cable
The West belongs to White, and if he has his way, he’ll make it the best division in the country. For an unbroken 20 months, the West Division has finished No. 1 in Comcast’s power rankings—a measure of multi-department business metrics—and has charted three years of employee-evaluated improvement. One of his greatest pieces of advice comes from a time he ignored his mentor’s guidance on an important issue. “I didn’t listen, and he was right,” says White. Moral of the story: “Seek great mentors and listen to them.”
EVP/Chief Content Officer, Discovery Networks International
Discovery Networks International is only getting bigger, thanks to Silberwasser. The exec has built a world-class team of content creators for DNI’s production and development unit, with some of the unit’s 30 original series already renewed for second seasons. DNI is now a significant supplier for Discovery’s U.S Networks. In collaboration with Erik Logan, president of OWN, Silberwasser is overseeing the successful international rollout of an OWN block on TLC in the U.K., Central and Eastern Europe, and Discovery Home & Health in Australia. Additionally, he worked closely with Discovery Channel U.S. on the broadcast of Skywire Live, live in nearly 200 countries.
COO, Telemundo Media
Among her many duties, Hernandez supervises mun2, including its digital, mobile and social platforms. She also oversees Telemundo’s domestic revenue, plus its integrated marketing and branded entertainment divisions. Hernández recently spearheaded Telemundo’s major rebranding effort and is excited about how well viewers responded to the new “Power of the T” campaign celebrating the duality of the network’s Hispanic-American audience. “I think America is an excellent example or definition of diversity,” she says. “And as programmers and marketers the more we can reflect diversity the more successful we will be in reaching growing audiences.”
Founder/Chairman/CEO, Entertainment Studios
If you want to keep up with Allen, put on your running shoes. Entertainment Studios this year launched its newest cable network, Justice Central, and signed AT&T U-verse as the net’s first distributor. Allen also just closed a deal for BET Networks and Centric to air all 208 episodes of his two sitcoms “The First Family” and “Mr. Box Office,” and in a nod to big things to come, this spring he signed a long-term lease on 70K square feet of production space in Culver City. As distribution continues to expand for all seven Entertainment Studios networks, Allen is now even going international. We have no doubt he’ll conquer the world in no time.
SVP/General Counsel, Comcast Cable
An industry leader in law, Gaston guides Comcast through the legal maze while heading up an excellent team of legal advisors. The Comcast/ NBCU merger and Verizon Wireless partnership both benefited from Gaston’s wise counsel. One of his greatest achievements was spurring Comcast to join major organizations in committing $30 million toward using female and minority-owned law firms several years ago. Gaston continues to push for women and minorities, mentoring in NAMIC and WICT programs.
EVP, Human Resources & Administration, Viacom
Mills ascended to Viacom’s senior management team last September after a 15-year run at BET, most recently as president/COO. A wellrounded executive with expertise in areas ranging from operations management to ad sales to digital deployment, he is making his mark at Viacom—and its properties including BET, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Paramount— at a time the company is on the road back to financial growth. A steadfast proponent of inclusion and ensuring the peaceful coexistence of personal and professional values, Mills said he is excited to build on Viacom’s legacy “in this time of unprecedented change in our industry.”
CEO, Fox International Channels
Lopez conceived of and developed Fox’s U.S.-based Spanish language broadcast network MundoFox, which launched in August 2012. He also has worked tirelessly to expand Fox Sports’ international investment in Latin America and Asia, including the acquisition of ESPN Star Sports. His efforts quadrupled the distribution of the Fox Sports brand (outside the U.S.) within two years, bringing it to nearly 70 million homes worldwide. Asked for his definition of diversity, Lopez says, “It is what makes evolution possible, as Darwin discovered.”
EVP, General Counsel, NBCUniversal
Expert negotiator Harris was a litigator with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell prior to joining NBCU, and she served in the White House Counsel’s Office from 2010-2012, where she was deputy counsel and deputy assistant to the President. Now Harris advises NBCU senior management and coordinates the global regulatory and legislative agenda. One valuable lesson learned from watching her Davis Polk mentor Bob Fiske: “Reaching the highest levels of success is entirely consistent with maintaining the highest levels of integrity.”
EVP, Architecture, Development & Engineering, Time Warner Cable
Behind every great network sits a great backbone. Hayashi oversees the ongoing development of TWC’s architecture, development and engineering organization— work that helped the company earn two technology and engineering Emmys this year. This year his work led to the deployment of a navigation system featuring a cloudbased VOD portal, delivery of video to Android platforms, and the launch of WiFi access outside the home. He’s particularly excited about deploying cloud-based navigation across the TWC footprint, while further evolving the access of the network via deeper DOCIS and wireless deployment. “Done the right way,” diversity gives companies “a competitive advantage in today’s highly competitive marketplace,” he says.
President, BBC Worldwide, North America
Scannell has a lot on his plate, including BBC America, BBC Worldwide Productions, digital networks and syndication, consumer products and U.S.- based BBC Worldwide’s global brands like “Top Gear” and “Doctor Who.” Under his watch, BBCA continues to crank out critically acclaimed series, such as its first original production “Copper,” as well as well-marketed British transplants like “Luther” and “The Hour.” This year, the net hit home with conspiracy drama “Orphan Black.” Scannell believes that the best television should be reflective of its audience. “The more you can reflect the diverse voices of your audience in your decision makers, the better your product will be,” he says.
President of Programming & Content, Univision Networks
With Univision’s historic July Sweeps win over all other nets in 18-49s and 18-34s, Ciurana is focused on keeping up the ratings momentum. And no doubt there will be even more focus on him, now that he reports directly to president/CEO Randy Falco in the wake of Cesar Conde’s exit. His goals include making “Despierta America” the No. 3 morning show, ahead of “CBS This Morning.” “Becoming number one this July at Univision is undoubtedly an accomplishment that shows the hard work and commitment my team has for serving our audience,” Ciurana says. He has also amassed more than 1.3 million Twitter followers, with whom he engages on programming and shares inspirational thoughts. “We never stop learning in this business, as the audience is very dynamic and I find myself continually learning,” he says.
EVP/GM, Fox Deportes
Fox Deportes is the most-watched Spanish-language sports network, but Cordero keeps expanding the brand with new originals like “Fox Deportes Studios” and with men’s and women’s apparel lines based on its Promax Gold-winning campaign “Con Garra” (“Live without Fear”). The products, hitting stores nationwide in 2014, are aimed at the millennials encompassing much of the network’s audience. With Latinos representing 20% of the U.S. population, ages 18-49, Cordero says, “There is a tremendous business opportunity for the U.S. media industry to re-envision the U.S. Latino paradigm from ‘Niche’ to ‘New Face of America/General Market’ and from ‘Latin Americans in the U.S.’ to ‘Americans who are Latino’.”
Advisor to the CEO, Starz
Over the past 12 months Huguez has helped Starz lock in several key distribution deals, including a major agreement with Cox Communications. With that important deal, the MSO became the first distributor to launch Starz’s PLAY TV Everywhere services. Expect to see more agreements with MVPDs soon, as he secures additional distribution for PLAY. On diversity, Huguez says the industry generally does a good job of hiring and supporting it, but it tends to fall short when it comes to the higher levels. “The only place that is lacking is in the boardroom,” he says.
EVP/Chief Strategy Officer, Cox Communications
Saksena’s responsibilities at Cox include executing corporate strategy, strategic partnerships and incubating new businesses. He works closely with peers at parent company Cox Enterprises, and others throughout cable and telecommunications. His deep familiarity with the broader communications market enables him to play a key role in driving necessary strategic shifts that make Cox competitive. Sakensa advises specializing in certain skills. “The difference between being good at a bunch of things and being real good at something specific is a successful life’s journey,” he says.
President, Broadcast Media Sales, BET Networks
Marketing and media maven Carr successfully hit the books with the launch of BET’s Black College Tour for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the largest black college tour in the country. To boot, his sales team has 21 straight years of advertising revenue growth under its belt, and he’s currently responsible for 60% of BET’s total revenue. Carr continues to connect new advertisers to the network as he outlines plans for the 2014 BET Experience and sponsor activation. Aside from his leadership role at BET, Carr is president/CEO of TV LLC, a real estate company that invests in multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago he started in part to help redevelop inner city neighborhoods.
President, Travel Channel
Ong has been at the helm of Travel Channel for more than three years, and her track record speaks for itself. She led the acquisition of Travel Channel International, launched the bestselling The Layover app and began transforming the network into a brand with hits like “Hotel Impossible,” “Baggage Battles” and “Airport 24/7: Miami.” This year, Travel Channel entered the post-Anthony Bourdain era with the addition of four new series: “Adam Richman’s Fandemonium,” wilderness survival series “Get Lost,” “Best Daym Takeout” and “Backroad Gold.” She’s also a dedicated mentor. “I love finding hidden gems in the company and pulling them out of their shell and giving them guidance and pointers to help them grow,” she says.
GM, ESPN Deportes
If you’re looking for Garcia, you’ll likely find him poring over plans to best position the network’s marketing, ad sales and programming plans for the 2014 World Cup. Garcia oversees all areas of operations for ESPN Deportes, and aside from big live events, he’s overseen the debut of four news studios shows—“Redes,” “Raza Deportiva,” “A Los Golpes” and El Bar”—and the launch of a New York radio station that grew to reach over 80% of the Hispanic market via 40 affiliates across the nation. Garcia also played a vital role in the acquisition of more Mexican soccer across ESPN’s English platforms, in an effort to better serve the bilingual sports fan.
Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Comcast Corp.
Directing her company’s expansive diversity program, Arias ardently champions inclusion in the workforce, programming slate and community investments. She also plays a key role in driving multicultural initiatives forward. And people are taking note. In the last 12 months, Latina Style magazine proclaimed Comcast its “Company of the Year” and “The Best Place to Work for Latinas.” When true diversity and inclusions are achieved, Arias believes it brings "apparent respect, cohesion, and collaborative dynamic of maximizing the unique differences that each person contributes to the group."
Regional SVP, Twin Cities Region, Comcast Cable
With product innovation surging ahead at a breakneck pace, Comcast employees felt they were falling behind in product knowledge. Martinez responded with local demonstration labs, allowing for hands-on time with new products. This should help frontline workers remain a reliable source for customer education and product implementation. It’s a good thing too, because the future of television looks increasingly complex for Martinez. “The traditional TV/Internet experience is no longer just within the home,” he says, “But wherever people reside, work and play.”
Juan Carlos Rodriguez
President, Univision Deportes
Rodriguez has been a part of 24-hour sports network Univision Deportes’ development from the ground up, helping increase original sports programming from 1,700 hours to more than 11,000 hours—including a historic agreement for exclusive Spanish and Portuguese US broadcast rights to CONCACAF soccer tournaments. “I am very proud of the important role the network and the brand play for US Hispanic sports fans. I am also proud of the incredible work our distribution and sales team have done in 20 short months to effectively establish Univision Deportes Network in the industry,” Rodriguez said. Next up, will be driving momentum in anticipation of Deportes’ comprehensive multiplatform coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Regional SVP, California Region, Comcast Cable
A former U.S. paratrooper and West Point graduate, Fore leapt into the Regional SVP position only a year ago and launched a salvo of new initiatives. In 12 months, he implemented Comcast’s X1 platform, cloud DVR and converted Santa Cruz to an all-digital delivery system. Internet speeds for several service tiers have also doubled under his command. What satisfies Fore the most in his line of work? “As a business leader, watching the organization deploy innovative products and services to our customers,” Fore says.
Alfred C. Liggins III
Chairman/CEO, TV One
It has been almost a year since Liggins stepped into the role of chairman for TV One, increasing his involvement in the network. And by all measures, it seems to be going pretty well. “Fueled by new and returning originals, TV One delivered its highest summer ratings and web traffic in the history of the network,” the media entrepreneur crowed. He has earned those bragging rights. Originals are sizzling, with last month’s “R&B Divas” reunion special tying fellow original “The Rickey Smiley Show” as the network’s number one telecast among 25- 54s. Look for him to continue to build synergy between TV One and Radio One properties.
EVP, International, A+E Networks
With oversight of AETN’s International Division, Cohan manages the company’s global brands, content and services. It’s no small feat when 61 branded channels worldwide—not to mention a range of distribution platforms—fall under your purview. Over the last year, he’s upped the ante even further, having executed an M&A transaction to achieve 100% control of A+E’s Asian operations, launched the company’s first H2 and Lifetime channels abroad across four continents and announced the launch of a partnership and channels in France. Cohan says cable can do better embracing diversity in the pipeline. “There is still work to do making high-potential diversity grads as aware of television careers as other traditional executive paths like corporate law or banking.”
VP, Community Investment for Comcast Corp., President, Comcast Foundation
Lillie is a giver. In fact, she’s given away more than $300 million to Comcast’s charitable partners. She’s also donated time by organizing Comcast Cares Day, 24-hours devoted to community projects and one of the nation’s largest corporate volunteer events. This year the effort went global and included programs in France, Germany, England and New Zealand totaling more than 85,000 participants. For Lillie, diversity‘s success hinges on inclusion. Without it, its “benefits to the business will be unrealized.”
EVP, Strategy and Operations, VH1 and MTV
Gay’s an exec who likes to be involved in as much of the process as possible. He recently expanded his strategy role to encompass the brands in Viacom’s Music Group, including MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo. And he also stepped into more direct dealings with talent and managers, adding a new dimension to his existing role as he seeks. An accomplished “bridge-builder,” Gay works with all division brands, other Viacom divisions and outside partners— from business functions to creative entities—as he seeks new opportunities to propel Viacom’s Music Group forward. He sits on several non-profit boards, including the New York board of The Posse Foundation and the New York Urban League, but his most active role is at home as father of four, including toddler triplets.
Under Mogollon’s leadership, mun2 has experienced doubledigit growth – more than 35% in August alone – with original series including “Larrymania,” “Fugitivos de la Ley: Los Angeles,” and the just-ended “I Love Jenni,” With over 200 hours of original content, mun2 now has more original programming than most cable networks. Her efforts have also redefined how marketers and networks address, interact with and program to Hispanic millennials. “Together, we have grown our business to unprecedented heights and continue to innovate and plan for the future in which the Latino market is the fastest-growing and most influential in the U.S.”
EVP, Hispanic Enterprises & Content unit, NBCU, Comcast Corp.
Dooner ranks as one of Comcast’s top Hispanic executives as well as one of its most powerful. She has been the longtime point person for Comcast’s investor relations, communicating the MSO’s gaining value to potential and current shareholders. Her talent has earned the respect of investors and media members alike, along with multiple industry awards. By year-end, Dooner will oversee the company’s initiatives and new business opportunities in the Hispanic marketplace across NBCU’s nets and platforms. In addition, she’ll oversee financial planning, strategic initiatives and business development for Comcast’s Hispanic franchises, including Telemundo and mun2.
CFO, USA Network
Since 2011, Chu has managed USA Network’s overall financial operations. In 2012, she led USA to its most profitable year to date. Chu’s keen focus on strategic planning has positioned the network to retain its status among the top entertainment cable networks. The time, feedback and guidance she received from an early mentor inspire her own mentoring efforts. “One of the things I learned from this experience is, no matter how busy you are, being a mentor can be extremely helpful to up and coming leaders,” she says.
EVP, Global Inclusion Strategy, Viacom, EVP, Public Affairs & Chief of Staff, Nickelodeon Networks Group
Smalls’ star continues to rise at Viacom. As EVP, Global Inclusion Strategy, she works with the top executives of all the company’s brands worldwide to champion multiculturism and inclusiveness. Developing the next generation of leadership at Viacom is among Smalls’ chief tasks, as is leading the expansion of the company’s partnerships with outside organizations. As Nickelodeon chief of staff, she helps direct financial resources and oversees personnel and facilities in the N.Y., L.A. and international offices. She also oversees the division’s social initiatives. A widely recognized force for positive social change, Smalls has received NAMIC’s prestigious L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Award, among other designations.
EVP/CFO, BET Networks
Pickrum defines diversity “as respecting and embracing differences.” It’s a philosophy he’s known for upholding as he manages BET’s financial operations. Aside from overseeing the business models behind the network’s launch of original series, acquisitions and expanded distribution paths, Pickrum this year provided key guidance and strategy behind the launch of the successful BET Experience LA Live multiday event, and the model of having fans purchase tickets to the BET Awards. Integrity and honesty rate No. 1 when he’s assessing potential employees, followed by someone who “believes in working smart as well as working hard.”
EVP/General Counsel, BET Networks
Walker oversees all aspects of the company’s legal affairs, including work in connection with the development, production and distribution of licensed and original programming—a growing business for BET. He also oversees all litigation, content protection and anti-piracy and digital delivery. Under his leadership, the company has brokered deals to develop hit shows starring a long list of talent including Gabrielle Union, Nick Cannon, Kevin Hart, T.D. Jakes and J.B Smoove.
CMO/EVP, Marketing, BET Networks
So where did BET’s successful We Got You! Campaign come from? That’s largely the vision of Free, whose tireless work to refine the network’s image and foster a stronger connection with its audience is paying off. She also helped launch the Black Media Matters consortium, a group of 30-plus companies that help educate marketers on the power and importance of black media and consumers. “Diversity equals difference. Different ideas, cultures, backgrounds and perspectives create an environment ripe with creative tension and limitless thinking that can ignite winning business strategies,” she says.
SVP/Chief Software Architect, Comcast Cable
Thanks to Kotay, consumers can enjoy Comcast’s deep cable offerings on their TV with the Xfinity X1 platform or on their phone with the Xfinity TV mobile app. His supervision over product development has led to the creation of next-gen platforms and high-profile integrations with the likes of Pandora and Facebook. “This is not your father’s TV,” Kotay points out. Kotay says that while major television innovations are occurring, mobile has already replaced it. “Mobile is the first screen,” he says, “It’s the one you turn to first.”
EVP, Business & Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel, Fox Networks Group
Teran, who focuses on non-linear TV Everywhere rights, served as the key legal advisor for Fox’s winning bid for World Cup rights in 2018 and 2022. She was also involved in Fox’s digital and new media strategy re-upping with the NFL, which includes a nine-year deal keeping the NFC package on Fox Sports through the 2022 season, post-season rights and three Super Bowls. Teran says true diversity involves different perspectives. “While those points of view can arise from many places— background, upbringing, culture, world view, etc—in a business like ours, it often leads to challenging the status quo and providing new solutions to complex problems.
Salaam Coleman Smith
Former President, Style Media
Coleman Smith’s dynamic leadership made Style a destination network for a diverse audience of young, affluent women. With the transition of Style to the Esquire Network in Sept, the Style era ends. But Coleman Smith’s legacy lives on, with sister net E! already picking up “Tia and Tamera” and “Giuliana and Bill.” Other NBCU nets like Oxygen and Bravo could also pick up various Style titles. Coleman Smith, who will remain at NBCU in a new role, told us she’s proud that Style’s reality shows have avoided stereotypes. “It’s important for content featuring multicultural characters to not only entertain audiences, but inspire them as well,” she says.
SVP, Security Operations, Cablevision
Taking a holistic approach to security, in barely a year’s time Love has centralized all of Cablevision’s information, personnel and physical security operations. She has overseen the implementation of an upgraded, more sophisticated system for managing the company’s facility, employee and data security. Love says true diversity goes beyond race and gender. “A well-rounded team is made up of people from different places, including domestically and internationally, city and rural, as well as people from different financial and educational backgrounds, among other perspectives,” she says. “Having a range of frameworks fuels creativity and brings to bear great problem solving.”
Stephen G. Hill
President, Music Programming & Specials, BET Networks
Hill manages and directs the creation, development and production of all music programming and specials at BET Networks. After a stellar 2012 with strong ratings in key demographics for the BET Awards, Soul Train Awards, Hip Hop Awards and BET Honors, Hill dove right in to spearhead the 2013 BET Awards and the launch of the inaugural BET Experience. The latter, an ambitious three-day music fest in L.A. where Beyonce opted to kick off her North American tour among other headliners, made good on the hype drawing big crowds and providing yet another live tent-pole event in the network’s caddy. Hill is also the man behind the network’s successful and hilarious “Real Husbands of Hollywood” sitcom, returning this year for the second season.
SVP, Small and Medium Business Sales, Time Warner Cable
A driving leader of TWC’s hefty growth in the Business Services segment, Collins oversaw year-over-year growth of more than 20% in revenue in the company’s West Business Services division. It’s a feather in the crown of Collins’ oversight of TWC’s offerings of high-speed data, networking and transport, voice and video services to businesses in half of the company’s portfolio. In addition, he continues to identify thousands of new business prospects, significantly expanding the sales force to meet demand and adapting quickly to changing market dynamics. Collins offers this sage advice for team-building: “There are a large number of people who can accomplish a task, but those who are able to complete that task in an ethical and principled manner are always a good fit for any team they join.”
EVP, Human Resources, CBS Television Networks
Gutierrez oversees human resources for CBS, including Showtime Nets, CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network, CBS News and CBS Entertainment. He is a highly respected member of the networks’ management team known for his strong integrity and work ethic. Additionally, he is very involved in industry and community organizations such as NAMIC, for which he serves as chair of the Board of Directors, and PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning), where for 10 years he has assisted a public high school in Brooklyn with a large number of Hispanic students. And impressively, despite being virtually bi-coastal between the company’s New York and Los Angeles offices, he finds the time to run marathons.
SVP/GM, BET International and Paramount Channel
Armstrong since 2011 has ably juggled dual roles of overseeing strategy and operations of both BET and sister Viacom net Paramount Channel in international markets. Under his purview, the networks’ world is definitely expanding, particularly this year in the U.K. and Africa. He recently brokered a deal with Virgin Media in the U.K. to showcase BET programming, extending the channel’s reach by 3 million viewers. “The funding and distribution of stories in the U.S. centered around multicultural lives is not keeping pace with platform and international growth,” says Armstrong, who also serves as the chairman of the national board for NAMIC.
SVP, Development & Original Production, IFC
With the continued success of the network-defining “Portlandia,” the sketch comedy show “Comedy Bang! Bang!” and “Maron,” De- Montreux has helped IFC become a true comedy standout. And there’s plenty more to come. “The Spoils of Babylon,” premiering next year, features a comedic cast of greats including Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins and Val Kilmer. “It’s a unique and over-the-top take on the classic TV miniseries that I’m incredibly proud of,” says DeMontreux. But the biggest story in cable this past year, for DeMontreux, is personal: Saying goodbye to AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” “I’m mourning the loss of that show like it’s a family member,” she says.
EVP/CMO, TV One
When it came time for a brand refresh for TV One, Bailey jumped in wholeheartedly, poring over endless research to better understand where the network stood with its audience, advertisers and affiliates. The rebrand was unveiled in August 2012, with the tagline “Where Black Life Unfolds” and an emphasis on storytelling. She’s also ramped up the net’s digital efforts, taking a holistic approach—even making sure she understood the often murky waters of the back-end CMS. The hard work has paid off. “As of August, socially, the network gained triple-digit increases in friends, fans, followers; and cited record-breaking page and video views for TVOne.tv,” Bailey said, praising her marketing and digital team.
President, News, Univision
Lee has been busy these past 12 months with Fusion, the 24- hour English language news net Univision is launching in October with ABC News. “These deals are incredibly complex and require a lot of moving parts to fall into place. The fact that it happened, is a small miracle and a testament to the will of Univision and The Walt Disney Co.,” Lee says. While Fusion is taking a lot of his attention, he’s continuing to build on Univision’s news properties, including “Noticiero Univision.” He’s a real news hound, helping Univision establish a partnership with Stanford’s Journalism graduate program that establishes a fellowship program and assigns grads to one of Univision’s news offices for a six-month program.
President/Managing Director, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic and Canada
Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, Martinez continues to emphasize Discovery’s global presence. He’s helped create a diverse and successful portfolio of networks in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula and the U.S. Hispanic markets. Credited with turning Discovery Kids into a top source of quality programming for young viewers, Martinez also has made Discovery Home & Health into the top lifestyle network channel for women. He is vice chair of the Community Habilitation Center (CHC), a training and activity center for persons with developmental disabilities in Miami.
Lisa Choi Owens
COO, uLive, Scripps Networks Interactive
Rabid fans of Scripps nets including HGTV, Food Network and DIY can’t get enough of their favorite lifestyle content. Ever-savvy Choi Owens spearheads the digital strategy that not only meets the demand for multiplatform engagement, but is creating some solid new revenue streams for Scripps. Her latest jewel is uLive, the recently launched digital destination that’s home not only to a library of Scripps content but original, web-only hub short- and long-form programming from network talent. Always on the lookout for ways to innovate, Choi Owens points to the CBS-TWC standoff as the year’s biggest cable story, which “highlighted the issues between media companies and pay-TV distributors over programming costs and digital rights.”
SVP, Networks/GM, Sony Movie Channel, Cine Sony Television and getTV
Having launched three cable channels this past year—the Spanishlanguage Cine Sony and two Canadian channels—Kalle has been busy growing awareness for the networks, adding new platforms and content delivery systems. Her oversight and influence is far reaching, across such properties as Sony Movie Channel, Cine Sony, Sony Pictures Television U.S. networks like 3net, GSN and FEARnet, and the company’s website and VOD services. Then there are boards she serves on such as Horror Entertainment, LLC; Game Show Network, LLC; and 3D Netco, LLC, in addition to boards in Canada. She is active in mentoring at WICT and NAMIC and is also a member of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Spectrum Council, an executive committee dedicated to diversity and inclusion efforts, where she executes the company’s overall diversity strategy. “It is very important that in addition to performing the tasks of the job that the candidate is able to lead well and collaborate with others,” says Kalle.
Executive Director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation
The Walter Kaitz Foundation stands at the center of the cable industry’s long-standing commitment to diversity as it seeks to advance the contributions of women and multi-ethnic professionals in cable. As its executive director, Porter plays an invaluable role in helping the foundation achieve its goals. A proponent of education, he has served as the Director of Graduate Programs for the Howard University School of Business, and as an assistant professor at the UCLA Anderson School and faculty director as well as co-creator of the UCLA African-American Leadership Institute.
EVP, Digital Media, BET Networks
It’s been a banner year for Martez and BET’s digital media group. The company’s digital platforms all clocked substantial year-over-year growth, including online monthly unique visitors, up 50%; video impressions, up 82%; and social media footprint, up 59%, with a swarm of record-setting activity around the BET Awards. BET Mobile also smashed records, generating more page views and engagement than any other year in the network’s history. Moore is continuing to explore other ways to engage the BET audience through digital activations and social apps, and is overseeing a redesign of the website and launching a gospel video portal. “We are in the midst of a metamorphosis of the current media business model,” he says. “As such, phenomenal commercial opportunities exist for media companies that demonstrate agility, speed, innovation, and a deep understanding of their viewers/customers.”
SVP, Customer Care, Charter Communications
Customer care has been at the nexus of Charter’s brand revival, and Boler is now the man behind the company’s promise. The longtime cable customer service professional joined the Charter exec ranks in April from his SVP post at Cablevision, and he already is affecting big change. Charter is opening a new call center and plans to hire 400 employees to help staff it. The plan is to get ahead of demand from the company’s phone and Internet customers. “Charter’s customer support strategy has expanded the capacity needed to care for our customers,” said Boler.
President, Original Programming, BET Networks
Under Jones’ leadership, BET’s original series continue on their upward trajectory. The fifth season of “The Game” was the No. 1 sitcom on cable in 2012 among adults 18-49 and, coupled with the net’s “Let’s Stay Together” ranked as cable’s top two sitcoms among all black viewers. Similarly, The Leaders CableFAX: The Magazine October 2013 cablefaxmag.com 19 “Apollo Live” delivered strong results among black viewers, and “Sunday Best” continues to elicit a strong ratings performance. Not resting on her laurels, Jones recently set to work prepping the launch of new original series including “Being Mary Jane,” from the producers of The Game and the T.D. Jakes talk show.
Head of Content, Discovery Latin America/U.S. Hispanic
Fluent in three languages—English, Spanish and Portuguese—Lightcap is responsible for enhancing and influencing DLA/USH’s overall vision and strategy. Her purview includes programming, marketing, program publicity and on-air promotions as she sets the strategic direction for the company’s content initiatives. With previous experience running Disney Channels Worldwide, she’s no stranger to big jobs and big responsibilities. So Discovery’s Latin American properties are in exceedingly good hands.
Janet Han Vissering
SVP, Development and Production, National Geographic Channels
Over the past 12 months, Han Vissering has brought Nat Geo Wild to new heights with expanded global programming and has matched it with record viewership numbers. In just a year, she commissioned more than 150 hours of programming for 166 countries, 330 million homes and 34 languages worldwide. Highlights include “Big Cat Week,” the net’s top-rated week for the third consecutive year, and “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” which earned the channel its toprated telecast to date. Morever, 2013’s first quarter was the highest-rated and most-watched in all the net’s key demos. When it comes to diversity on screen, Han Vissering believes the industry is doing better. “But I hope to see more positive pictures of different cultures instead of salacious extremes,” she says. Rest assured, she’ll be on the forefront of making that happen.
GM, Cooking Channel
Too many cooks in kitchen? Not at Scripps. Smith launched Cooking Channel to huge success in 2010 and hasn’t looked back. Catering to a “foodie” audience that’s a bit younger than sister Food Network, Cooking under Smith continues to build out a stable of fresh on-air talent and increase its reach through higher distribution counts. Smith has a secret sauce, too. His vigorous commitment to diversity in culture, talent and audience will look to strengthen Cooking Channel’s position as one of the most diverse networks in cable. Smith’s definition of diversity? “When the faces behind and on the screen look a lot more like the faces watching at home.”
SVP, Ad Sales/ GM, Discovery U.S. Hispanic
Bargueiras has combined programming with mentoring by helping to develop “2111”—a landmark series for Discovery Channel and its clients that focuses on the future of the main capitals of Latin America and the technological achievements predicted to occur in the region over the next century. In addition, he continues to demonstrate leadership in his career, in his development of a team and in his strategic vision for continued business growth. Bargueiras is known for valuing the importance of input from both his peers and the members of his Advertising Sales team.
EVP, Program Scheduling, Univision
Among Rodriguez’s many accomplishments is the creation of Univision Agency, a full-service Internet group overseeing media investments of more than $500 million across all of Univision’s properties. She’s also on the steering committee of the recently launched Univision’s Women’s Leadership Council to help advance women at the company. “I think the best mentorship experience that can exist is one where both the mentor and the mentee are gaining from the experience,” she says.
Corporate VP, Government and Industry Affairs, Bright House Networks
Johnson is at the forefront of regulatory policy relating to Bright House’s technological infrastructure, service, strategy and its video, voice and data services products. Known for her thoughtful approach, she has a passion for educating policy leaders and legislators. Johnson continues to increase her activism within the industry, which was made particularly evident this year when she moved up to the WICT Board’s Executive Committee to serve as Chapter Development Chair. Her greatest mentor experience, she tells us, has been working under Bright House’s own Nomi Bergman. “Through Nomi, I learned a great deal about the industry’s rich past, but more importantly, I learned that the past did not predetermine the future, and that we needed to embrace disruptive ideas as we focused on our strategy for the future,” she says.
SVP/GM, Sports Operations, Turner Sports
A look at his duties and accomplishments clearly earns Hong the winner of the MVP award at Turner Sports. Among other feats, he spearheaded the partnership with LG, the NCAA and CBS Sports for a closed-circuit production in conjunction with the Final Four in Atlanta. Hong oversees the annual NCAA Digital Internship program, which every year awards one-year paid internships to ten recent college graduates. “I look for the candidate who will be the best cultural fit, someone who has exceptional communication skills and the ability to manage team members,” says Hong, regarding what he seeks out in new hires.
SVP, Distribution Business Development, Marketing and Analytics, A+E Networks
Garner oversees digital content distribution on nonlinear platforms, business development and affiliate marketing across AETN’s networks. A strong leader who is passionate about securing digital distribution of mega hits like A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and History’s “Vikings” for the company’s customers, Garner has been at the forefront of an industrywide effort to increase awareness and usage of TV Everywhere content. He is very active in industry organizations, including NAMIC and CTAM, and this past year was named co-chair of the latter’s TV Everywhere Steering Committee. But his most cherished accomplishment? “I survived the first day of my son going to kindergarten without shedding a tear! My closest kept secret is that I am a big softie.” Good dad.
SVP, Strategic Partnerships, TV Networks Distribution, NBCUniversal
Asencio has been pivotal in helping NBCU cultivate and expand its partnerships with distributors. She plays an instrumental role as the point person for multicultural and Hispanic marketing, and helps distributors develop strategies and planning for their multicultural and Hispanic offerings. “While the cable industry has made strides in the area of diversity,” she says, “we need to continue to equip our leaders and managers with tools to better understand diversity and to embrace it, which will help companies better drive their business and allow for success.”
CMO, Turner Broadcasting Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media
A bachelor’s of science degree in chemical engineering and a MBA in marketing and finance (both from the University of Maryland) may sound like an unlikely combination, but it actually drives Piper to bring a creative and business-minded eye to her work. That work now includes more interaction with David Levy, who in August took over responsibility for the Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media department. One of her favorite sayings: “Great marketing amounts to a positive mix of art and science!” Piper also has made herself available to help counsel others, including graduate students and professional working women through organizations such as Turner Broadcasting’s Turner Women Today and Black Professionals at Turner.
CFO, Bravo Media
Over the last year, Tang has maintained Bravo Media’s profitability by supporting the overall strategy behind Bravo becoming a top 10 cable network. While the finance area requires a specific skill set, Tang looks for additional traits when assessing candidates for her department. “I look for someone who is thoughtful, smart, motivated, passionate, and can add the right personality [or] dynamic to the existing group,” she says. “Finally, following the advice from a former boss, I ask myself, ‘Could I sit next to this person on an airplane?’”
EVP/Chief People Officer, Cox Communications
Taylor feels that diversity is more than a tag line at Cox; she says it’s a critical business strategy that helps drives results for employees, customers and suppliers. This business imperative enables Cox to be an employer The Leaders CableFAX: The Magazine October 2013 cablefaxmag.com 21 and a business of choice. “We’ve re-evaluated how we assess talent across the organization to ensure we are considering talent deeper within the organization to meet our evolving business needs,” Taylor says. Her duties including setting human capital strategy in support of Fox’s long-term strategy and operating plan. In addition, Taylor fosters student education and development through speaking engagements and serving on boards.
EVP, Bravo Digital Media
The Bravo digital team continues to draw fans and praise for its social media innovations and transmedia storytelling. Realtime playing and polling hub PlayLive—the first time both live and taped programs have featured real-time graphics on-air with instantaneous results without downloading an app—launched to big results last December. Top Chef’s “Last Chance Kitchen,” in which eliminated “Top Chef” contestants compete online to rejoin the on-air program, nabbed two Emmy noms. Not one to rest on her laurels, Hsia and her team are ensconced in four multiscreen projects, plus expanding Bravo’s TV Everywhere app. She also leads efforts to expand Bravo Digital even further into the lifestyle space.
Regional VP, Oregon & SW Washington Region, Comcast Cable
Once a part-time, entry-level Comcast care agent, Lopez proved his worth, ascending to the head of one of Comcast’s most successful markets. His devotion to self-improvement and results has paid dividends for the company in the form of big growth. Kids and adults have reaped the rewards of Lopez’s triumphs through his insightful mentorship and motivational talks. He seeks that same drive in potential candidates. “I’m looking for someone with a passion for excellence in the customer experience, as well as someone who is forward-thinking and looking for the next innovation to improve our industry.”
SVP, Customer Care, Comcast Cable
For Edmunds, people have always come first. In the office, she oversees customer care across Comcast’s largest division, affecting the lives of millions of cable-watchers daily. By focusing on transitional sales in billing and repair, she has also upped RGUs over the past year by a staggering 30%. She firmly believes in bringing aboard a diverse mix of people to teams as a sound strategy “because it is good for the business, our employees and our customers.”
EVP, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, TV One
Over the past year, Rice has nearly doubled TV One’s distribution, thanks partly to last year’s huge agreement with Cablevision. She’s always looking for more, currently pursuing partnerships for the network in Canada. But her accomplishments extend beyond TV One. A mentee in her youth, she made helping to advance career achievement among young women and minorities a priority and is a member of WICT and on NAMIC’s national board. The importance of helping the young can be seen in her response for the recent business accomplishment she’s most proud of: TV One’s launch of “Lights, Camera, AcSTEM,” a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative to provide educational support for middle schoolers across the country.
SVP, Corporate Strategy, Analysis, and Communication, Showtime Networks
Clarke has her hand in myriad strategic capacities for SNI, including evaluating the company’s sales and marketing, subscriber and revenue growth and internal communications. She oversaw the upgrade of Showtime’s intranet, which introduced enhanced collaboration tools and more streamlined access to mobile device-compatible resources for the sales force and senior executives. Mentoring up-and-comers in the industry is important to her as well. She is director at large on the Board of the WICT’s New York Chapter and co-chairs the organization’s Prime Access Executive Mentoring program. And at SNI she has recruited scores of diverse interns, many of whom have landed full-time positions at the company. Over the past five years, she has engaged 121 interns in the program. In her own words, her reward comes in the form of “the mosaic of thank you notes, emails and conversations when my mentees conveyed not just gratitude but demonstrated a greater capacity for self-regulation, awareness and confidence.”
President, Commercial & Advertising Operations, Suddenlink
Last year, Stephens accepted the Diversity Inclusion Champion of the Year honor for Suddenlink at the NAMIC Houston chapter’s Opulence Awards ceremony. It was appropriate for Stephens to accept the honors given his work in diversity and mentoring. When looking at a potential new hire, he looks for a “track record of achievement, positive attitude and strong work ethic.” Those qualities have served Stephens well. Early this year he was promoted to the 500-employee Commercial & Advertising Operations. Under his leadership, Suddenlink’s FY12 commercial revenue grew 16.8% compared to 2011, with it proving to be a record year for the company’s carrier business.
SVP, NBC Sports Ventures & International, NBC Sports Group
In addition to managing NBC Sports Ventures and appearing as an on-air contributor for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Simmelkjaer oversees international business development for NBC Sports Group, NBC Sports and Golf Channel. He has expanded coverage to include The World Series of Beach Volleyball, drawing over 2 million viewers across NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports in its first year, and this fall’s Spartan Race series on NBCSN. Ensuring sports outside of baseball, football and basketball are covered is important in courting a diverse audience, he says: “People want their perspectives reflected in the news and sports coverage and entertainment they consume.”
EVP, Corporate Market Research, BET Networks
Analytics are taking an ever-important role at cable networks, and Barnhill sits at the nexus of market research for BET and its multimedia extensions. His responsibilities include analyzing viewer patterns and trends, including demographics and ratings; developing consumer insights; and designing and analyzing custom audience research. Among his many recent contributions to the company is the creation of “African Americans Revealed,” a comprehensive suite of consumer insights on the African-American population that was part of BET’s reinvigorated brand and creation of shows including “Let’s Stay Together,” “The Game” and “The Mo’Nique Show.”
SVP, Affiliate Strategy & Business Development, Scripps Networks Interactive
It’s been a whirlwind year for Franklin as she continues to focus on redefining the Scripps experience on television, personal computers and mobile devices for consumers. She oversees the development of business models and plans relating to evolving and new business opportunities, including a host of TVE deals she and her team nabbed this year with the distribution partners. Additionally, Franklin was integral in the procurement of Scripps’ first online-only subscription distribution deal, with Amazon Prime Instant Video, in early 2013. She’s most proud that a recent employee survey suggests that, despite these challenging times, a hefty workload and high expectations, “the team feels good about the environment in which they work, they understand the value of their contribution and how it impacts the greater good, and they are pleased with the leadership that I am providing.”
SVP/Chief Diversity Officer, ESPN
Richardson’s work has had deep and wide effects. As a direct result of his visionary leadership, ESPN and Disney have achieved diversity objectives in recruitment, development, compensation and training. Among his recent programs is Heroes Work Here, an unprecedented initiative across The Walt Disney Co. to recruit and train U.S. veterans and to encourage other major corporations to do the same. Extending the good will, Disney in November will host the first Veterans Institute at Walt Disney World, a day-long free workshop designed to help small- and mid-sized companies build effective veteranhiring programs of their own. Richardson also oversees the diversity scorecard tool, which measures compensation trends and the company’s pay equity policy.
Susan Jin Davis
SVP, Strategic Services for Communications and Data Services, Comcast Cable
This newly promoted, 20-year vet helps bring affordable Internet to more than 220,000 low-income families, or nearly 900,000 Americans. Now, underprivileged families are able to apply for jobs, research health care, manage finances The Leaders CableFAX: The Magazine October 2013 cablefaxmag.com 23 and complete schoolwork at home online. Promoting digital literacy has meant a lot to these individuals and to Davis. “I’ve met families who have signed up for the program and seen first-hand the difference it makes for them,” she says. “It makes me proud to be part of the Comcast family.”
Tina Simmons Waters
SVP, Human Performance for National Customer Operations, Comcast Cable
Simmons comes at diversity with a more thoughtful and outcomeoriented mindset. “Diversity to me is not only cultural diversity, but diversity of thought, leadership style and approach,” says Simmons. “Diversity means we end up with much better solutions to business challenges.” She propels this idea forward atop several multi-cultural and professional boards such as the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources. Oh, and did we mention her development initiatives impact over 50,000 Comcast account executives? All-around impressive.
SVP, Business & Legal Affairs, Discovery Communications
Williams-Fauntroy’s practice area includes oversight and direct responsibility for deal-making and legal problem-solving for Discovery Channel, TLC and Discovery Fit & Health. She continues to focus on deepening Discovery’s relationship with NAMIC to further grow and drive diversity across the industry. She has partnered with the Discovery Employee Research Group, Multicultural Alliance and led a clothing drive that benefitted Suited for Chicago, a local career education nonprofit organization for low-income women.
SVP, Affiliate Sales & Marketing, Starz
Thanks to Thomas’ efforts, Starz entered into new, expanded multiplatform agreements with both DirecTV & AT&T U-verse in the past year in the wake of a 2011 deal with Verizon. His knowledge of technology trends is deep, having amassed more than 25 years experience working at companies like Times Mirror Cable, ESPN, InterVU and Akamai. Moreover, he oversaw the launches of Starz Play and Encore Play, the nets’ authenticated online services, with a number of key distributors. And when it comes to mentoring, his son’s achievements are at the top of the list. “After 18 years serving as mentor/father, my son Parker James completed his freshman year at The University of Chicago and is thriving,” he says. “I could not be more pleased.”
SVP/GM, Cox Communications, Virginia Region
McCollum is pleased that Cox quickly delivers products and services that customers demand in today’s world, citing the rollout of Cox’s next generation video experience— Contour—as a prime example. In June, McCollum and his team launched Connect-2-Compete, a broadband adoption initiative for low income households in his region. While he notes progress in supplying relevant content to communities, McCollum says “in the talent area, we need to ensure that our focus is not only on attracting diverse talent for entry-level roles, but also mentoring and nurturing talent for senior level positions.”
SVP, Distribution, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic
Buzanello manages the entire distribution infrastructure of the company’s 15-network Latin American portfolio. In addition, she’s responsible for all aspects of strategic sales planning, fulfillment of revenue objectives, contract negotiations and client relationships, as well as for leading the division’s ongoing developments in licensing, enhanced television applications, wireless distribution and other new business opportunities. Based in Brazil, Buzanello previously served as regional director of affiliate sales and relations for Discovery Networks Latin America/Iberia, where she oversaw increasing penetration and maintained client relationships in Brazil, Spain and Portugal.
Viacom delivered strong Q3 financial results, in large part due to higher revenues at its media networks, including Centric. Under Baker’s leadership, Centric continues to post key growth in primetime and likely will stay the course with its new package of licensed sitcoms from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Family Matters,” “Martin” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Centric is also developing original 24 cablefaxmag.com October 2013 CableFAX: The Magazine The Leaders programming, and has a growing role in the BET Experience with its own stage and talent. The recent business accomplishments he’s most proud of include the “successful launch of Centric, reviving the Soul Train Awards and brand, and honoring Don Cornelius in the 2012 show.”
It is in large part due to Butler’s strategic business planning that Aspire is now a reality. What’s more, he sealed deals to secure its first originals, “ABFF Independent” and “The Root 100,” and land numerous blue-chip advertisers. On the one-year anniversary of the network, Aspire launched its third original, “Exhale,” a talk show featuring black women of all ages discussing real issues important to their communities. Butler will continue to build on the programming slate this year as he manages the network’s day-to-day ops. Besides being a savvy dealmaker with 17 years of experience in the entertainment industry, he serves as chairman of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a Harlem-based nonprofit committed to helping young African-American and Latino youths become empowered critical thinkers and community leaders.
VP, Programming & Development, Investigation Discovery
Throughout this year and next, ID will launch its largest-ever slate of programming. That puts Henry in the hot seat for piecing together an elaborate schedule comprised of a staggering 22 returning hits and 15 new original series, including “Surviving Evil,” “Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall” and “Southern Fried Homicide.” Henry is also responsible for strategizing each program’s distribution across multiple new-media platforms, all part of the carefully crafted model that led to ID’s achieving 45 consecutive months of yearover- year primetime gains among HH, P/W25-54 and P2+ delivery. Good thing this executive has creative insights, business acumen—and energy—to spare.
EVP, Production and Development, TLC
Recently elevated to the role of EVP, Lee leads his bi-coastal team in shaping the network’s programming slate. His development work includes fan favorites “Breaking Amish,” “Long Island Medium” and “Cake Boss,” and he has served as executive producer on the global sensation “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Lee also had a hand launching new series “Family SOS” featuring former “Supernanny” parenting expert Jo Frost. A decisive leader who empowers his team to make critical decisions, Lee is regarded as having a sharp creative focus that helps move the needle without betraying the brand.
VP, Strategic Marketing, USA Network
Pierre and her team helped USA capture its eighth consecutive summer as the No. 1 entertainment cable network. They oversaw six complex, multiplatform marketing partnerships in support of USA’s new and existing summer series, and also developed strategic ad partnerships as part of USA Digital’s redesign. Under her leadership, USA’s strategic marketing programs have driven 50% of the network’s ad revenue. As for the overall cable industry, she says, “The growth of TV Everywhere has been the biggest and most exciting story for me.”
VP and CFO, Oxygen Media
In just two years, not only has Chadda built Oxygen’s business case, he’s implemented the strategic long-term financial plans behind the network’s push to double its slate of original programming. He believes investing in content now drives future success. When advising a mentee who lacked the confidence to pitch ideas, “I explained that people respect individuals who are willing to put themselves out there,” he says. “After some coaching they decided to pitch a big idea and the results were great.”
SVP, Mile High Region, Comcast Cable
This year, Jennings’ Colorado and New Mexico region finished as one of the top five in the country for Comcast. Considering his accomplishments, it’s easy to understand why. His team spent the year opening up five new Xfinity Service Centers, including an array of product demo lounges in local offices, as well as preparing to be the first to roll out new trial products. Vision, creativity and energy are all critical qualities a team member needs to display to him. But most of all, “They must be competitive,” he says.
J.D. Myers II
Market VP, Northern Virginia Operations, Cox Virginia
In January, Myers was promoted to his current post. With more than 30 years of industry experience, he is now responsible for Cox’s day-to-day operations in that area, leading a team of 400 employees. The Northern Virginia market represents 380K of Cox Virginia’s 1.5 million video, Internet and phone subscriptions. “In senior leadership roles, I consider the following table stakes during the interview process: accomplishments, experience and education,” says Myers. He also looks for a “commitment to lead by example, have a focus on teaching and developing their people, encouraging, supporting, and empowering them.”
SVP, Ad Sales, Travel Channel
Under Regis’ leadership, Travel Channel has exceeded ad sales expectations for all three years that it has been under the Scripps umbrella. His team continues to win new business in the automotive, tech and financial services, and wine/spirits categories, and he developed an integrated selling strategy that focused on audience research to outline the strength of Travel Channel viewers as trend-setting consumers. Perhaps most importantly, Regis is a dedicated team player known for equipping his sales force with the strategy and skills to succeed. His proudest accomplishment so far in 2013? “The fact that six of the people on my various teams have been promoted this year,” he says.
SVP, Worldwide Distribution, The Inspiration Networks
It’s been a record-breaking year for Inspiration Networks, and Kang’s hard work contributed mightily to the bounty. Although a media landscape increasingly dominated by conglomerates can make the outlook tenuous for independent networks, INSP gained more than 5 million subscribers, breaking the 75 million benchmark. Kang’s tenacity might be stem from his time playing on the U.S. Championship Team for Ultimate Frisbee, but his heart is in cable. He left the industry to work as an talent agent years back, then returned to cable because he missed it so much.
SVP/GM, Cox Southeast Region
In addition to Georgia “being on her mind,” Vines also oversees both Florida and Louisiana. It’s Cox’s third-largest division, which employees approximately 2,500. An ardent advocate for children in the state’s foster care system, Vines was honored by the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus. She can be found at the end of her work day walking through one of her region’s vast call centers, chatting with employees, taking their pulse on the frontlines. “Diversity has always been about a culture of inclusion and a business strategy that help drives results,” she says.
Interim Head, NAMIC; Principal, The Raben Group
Williamson recently stepped into a new position. In early August, NAMIC announced that Williamson, a communications industry veteran, would provide interim executive leadership for the association. In her capacity as principal at strategy firm The Raben Group, Williamson facilitates transitional management services. She’s particularly proud of the Group’s March on Washington Film Festival this July. “It brought together wonderful partners in the industry, including the Walter Kaitz Foundation, BET Networks and Discovery Communications,” she says.
Chief of Staff, Women in Cable Telecommunications
Das was part of the team that created WICT’s PAR Initiative (Pay equity, Advancement opportunities and Resources for work/life integration), which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The goal was a program “that helps companies improve their gender diversity tactics by helping them to set goals, institutionalize practices, measure progress and achieve results,” she explains. Das, who oversees operations and strategies for the 10K-member organization, is always looking for ways to advance WICT—whether that’s the creation of its first international chapter or its August move from the Virginia suburbs to bustling K Street. When she’s not PARing, you might find her sparring. Seriously. Das is an avid boxer in her free time.
Cablefax People to Watch Luncheon
December 04, 2018
Digital & Tech Awards
December 07, 2018
Cablefax Leaders Retreat 2019
April 29, 2019