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.

SUSAN ADAMS
VP, engineering and technical operations, Comcast Northern Division

CATHERINE AVGIRIS
SVP and GM, voice services, Comcast

NOMI BERGMAN
EVP, strategy & development, Advance/Newhouse

MARY BETH BOWER
director, technology operations, Comcast

DEBBIE BRAINARD
senior director, technical operations, Time Warner Cable

SABRINA CALHOUN
director, operations engineering, Cox

SHERITA CEASAR
VP, product engineering, planning & strategy, Comcast

GRACE EGAN
sr director, engineering product mgmt, Time Warner Cable Adv. Tech Group

CYNDEE EVERMAN
VP, business systems support, Time Warner Cable

KRISTINE FAULKNER
VP, product development and management, Cox

VICKIE FIALA
VP, operations planning, Time Warner Cable

CHARLOTTE FIELD
SVP, system engineering, Comcast

YVETTE GORDON-KANOUFF
SVP, strategic planning, SeaChange

REGINA GRILLO
director, technical administration, benefits, Comcast Cable

SHERISSE HAWKINS
sr director, set-top box software development, Time Warner Cable

TINA IMM
SVP and GM, VH1 Digital

DEE JACKSON
SVP, corporate information svcs, BET Networks

VICKI KLEIN
director, MIS, Comcast

MICHELLE LACKEY
director, technology, CNN

KAREE LANG
director, technology svcs, Turner Broadcasting System

RHONDA LOWRY
VP, new products group, Turner Broadcasting System

CHRISTY MARTIN
principal, iBox System Inc.

VICKI MARTS
director, video engineering, Cox

GWYNNE MCCONKEY
SVP, ops, info systems and tech, Lifetime

COLLEEN MERCER
director, engineering project mgmt, Time Warner Cable

LISA OWENS
VP, business development, fuse

SANDY SEXTON
VP, bus & quality svcs, Scripps Networks

DEBORAH SHEA
director, distrib technology ops, Turner Net Sales

VERONICA SHEEHAN
SVP, network ops, Turner Ent Group

DIANA SMITH
director, video product mgmt, Time Warner Cable

CHARLOTTE STRONG
director of eng, Time Warner Cable Southwest

TONI STUBBS
VP, information technology, Cox

CAROLYN TERRY
regional director, engineering, Time Warner Cable

MIMI THIGPEN
VP, strategy, wireless, Cox

ANNE WOODWARD
VP, technical operations, CNN

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