Most Powerful Women
The 2012 Power List of Women in Cable

Women now run significant portions of the cable industry. And it’s perhaps a sign of progress that women in high positions are no longer a novelty. To be sure, women’s influence is most prominent on the content side, whether we’re talking about Sheila Nevins and Sue Naegle at HBO or the growing list of female honchos at networks like USA, Bravo, TLC, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon, BET, History, Food Network, Comedy Central, HSN, QVC, IFC and WE tv—not to mention titans like Disney’s Anne Sweeney and AETN’s Abbe Raven. Fewer women have conquered the MSO side, but that’s changing. We wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if Cox COO Jill Campbell eventually becomes the first female CEO of a major video distributor.

As we point out every year, more improvement is needed. But the sands are clearly shifting, and part of the reason is that so many women who have “made it” in cable are helping guide others as they climb that same ladder of success. This focus has started paying dividends as women in powerful roles afford their female colleagues a chance to step up. Those willing to take on more responsibility can then “pay it forward” by giving those same opportunities to other ambitious female execs below them. It’s a loop that feeds on itself—the same loop that men have cultivated for decades within the so- called Old Boys Network. Women have their own networks now.

As has become tradition, we sent out questionnaires to our Most Powerful Women, and we were blown away by the responses. The time-management advice alone could become a bestselling business book (Hint: Make lists and set goals). The tips for mid-day re-energizers ranged from exercise to power naps to doubling down on caffeine. And the advice for young execs was zen in its dedication to focused achievement. But it was the mentoring stories that really inspired us. In most cases, advice or help from one or two key mentors often made a major difference. And you can rest assured that the women in these pages—many of whom have benefited greatly from mentors who took the time to help them—are now giving back to young female execs. We only wish we could include more of the responses in the limited pages of this magazine. But we’ll make their incredible perspectives available at throughout the year.

This is a tough business. But our 2012 Most Powerful Women remind us with their words and deeds that we’re ultimately all in this together. We rise or fall based on cable’s collective success. And that’s important to never forget.

P.S. A special thanks to my resilient managing editor Cathy Applefeld Olson, without whom putting out these magazines would be pretty much impossible. She’s a powerful woman in her own regard—and an invaluable asset to all of us here at Cablefax. Thanks, Cathy!

Michael Grebb Editor

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