When Women in Cable Telecommunications unveiled its annual PAR survey this month, it showed that the percentage of women in the industry has edged down slightly. Among the specific categories exhibiting a decline are those involving technology.
The latest PAR results are but one indication why WICT’s Tech It Out initiative is viewed with great importance within the organization – and why it has apparently made so many advancements since it was first rolled out a year ago.
From one initial sponsor – MTV Networks and its BET Networks group – the program now has support from three MSOs: Advance/Newhouse Communications, Insight Communications and Cox Communications. And this just in: Tech It Out has announced its first vendor sponsor, Motorola. It also just received a $22,000 grant from the Kaitz Foundation for research, which will aim to determine how the cable industry can support women who already are part of the technology workforce, and how it can encourage more women from both inside and outside the cable business to transition into cable technology positions.
Tech It Out has attracted 30 senior-level women involved in technology to serve as ambassadors. They speak at schools and WICT local chapter and national events in an effort to interest girls and women in other areas of the cable business to consider technology careers. Tom Quash, WICT’s VP of marketing and communications, notes that WICT used CableWorld’s exclusive story "Top Women in Technology" (Nov. 13, 2006) to pinpoint women who could serve as ambassadors.
In addition to the ambassadors, Tech It Out also aims to energize girls about technology through its recent partnership with Zoey’s Room, an online social network for girls in the 10-14-year-old bracket. The program is also partnered with Cable in the Classroom, which periodically features Tech It Out in its magazine and website.
The program has a personal connection for Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, president and CEO of WICT. "I’m an engineer by degree, but I didn’t stay with it because I didn’t marry my passion with my book knowledge," she says, adding that if she’d known about all the ways in which cable technology "makes life easier and simpler and faster" she might have been inspired to continue that career path. WICT’s work at inspiring women to enter the technology field couldn’t come at a better time. The organization’s latest PAR survey shows that the proportion of women in two tech categories is trending downward from their 2006 levels. Last year, 15.6% of all IT managers/project directors and 27.2% of technical workers in corporate headquarters were women. In comparison, 36.8% of all cable employees were women.
Tech It Out gets high marks from Shellie Rosser, who’s been involved in cable technology for about 30 years. "To have young girls get more involved in science and develop math skills — and not shy away from them — is a great service," says Rosser, president of SR Consulting, which provides tech suppliers with business development and marketing solutions.
Below is a roll call of prominent women involved in the technical side of the cable industry, compiled by WICT.
VP, engineering and technical operations, Comcast Northern Division
SVP and GM, voice services, Comcast
EVP, strategy & development, Advance/Newhouse
MARY BETH BOWER
director, technology operations, Comcast
senior director, technical operations, Time Warner Cable
director, operations engineering, Cox
VP, product engineering, planning & strategy, Comcast
sr director, engineering product mgmt, Time Warner Cable Adv. Tech Group
VP, business systems support, Time Warner Cable
VP, product development and management, Cox
VP, operations planning, Time Warner Cable
SVP, system engineering, Comcast
SVP, strategic planning, SeaChange
director, technical administration, benefits, Comcast Cable
sr director, set-top box software development, Time Warner Cable
SVP and GM, VH1 Digital
SVP, corporate information svcs, BET Networks
director, MIS, Comcast
director, technology, CNN
director, technology svcs, Turner Broadcasting System
VP, new products group, Turner Broadcasting System
principal, iBox System Inc.
director, video engineering, Cox
SVP, ops, info systems and tech, Lifetime
director, engineering project mgmt, Time Warner Cable
VP, business development, fuse
VP, bus & quality svcs, Scripps Networks
director, distrib technology ops, Turner Net Sales
SVP, network ops, Turner Ent Group
director, video product mgmt, Time Warner Cable
director of eng, Time Warner Cable Southwest
VP, information technology, Cox
regional director, engineering, Time Warner Cable
VP, strategy, wireless, Cox
VP, technical operations, CNN