(The following cable executives are listed alphabetically.)
Michael D. Armstrong, SVP & GM, BET International
Armstrong at last got to wave the Union Jack this February when BET UK officially launched on BSkyB in 8.8 million digital homes. The launch, a crown jewel of Armstrong’s tenacious business plan, will help guide his oversight of BET’s extensions into other international markets. His purview includes program licensing, creation of branded channels and programming blocks and development of BET brands for mobile and broadband platforms. And it’s all in the cable family for Armstrong: His mother recently retired from Hallmark after 25 years in the business and his sister works at Bright House Networks.
Tim Ashley, VP, Engineering Operations, Time Warner Cable
As if leading the team responsible for Time Warner Cable’s Emmy-winning Start Over service and heading the implementation of separable set-top security initiatives weren’t enough, Ashley’s had his hands full of late leading the technology teams responsible for the MSO’s integration of the acquired Comcast and Adelphia systems. No small task, that. Unabashedly people-centered, Ashley has mentored more than 20 professionals within and outside Time Warner Cable and continues to solidify working partnerships with Time Warner Cable vendor organizations.
Kenetta Bailey, SVP, Marketing, WE tv
She’s no Bridezilla, but Bailey does pack a whole lot of marketing ferocity. She has launched some of WE’s most successful promotional initiatives, including season premiere campaigns for the aforementioned hit series Bridezillas, Secret Lives of Women and, most recently, the premiere campaign for High School Confidential, which debuted this March. Not only has she reorganized WE’s marketing team into focused groups to maximize the network’s effectiveness in reaching customers and the cable industry, but Bailey also runs the public affairs initiative WE Empowers Women, whose key focus this year is WE Vote ’08. Its threefold goal — encouraging women to register to vote, to get educated about the candidates and to get out to the polls in November.
Payne Brown, VP, Strategic Initiatives, Comcast Corp.
Programming content, public affairs and community involvement initiatives all fall under the purview of Brown’s position as a leader for Comcast’s national diversity strategy focused on the African- American community. Among the many programs he champions are the Comcast Diversity Congressional Scholarships which, in conjunction with the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, helped place seven students attending historically black colleges and universities in Capitol Hill internships.
Greg Bunch, VP, Affiliate Distribution, Ovation TV
What a difference a year makes. Bunch has been front and center in Ovation’s charge from 5 million to nearly 30 million subscribers since the network’s relaunch last June, making it one of the fastest-growing indie nets around. Most recently, he played a significant role in Ovation’s launch in Dallas, a key market for the channel, with his signature blend of tough negotiation tactics (remember, this guy played for the New York Knicks before he segued into our industry) and unbridled enthusiasm. And he still finds time to support the Southern California Cable Telecommunications Assn., CTAM, NAMIC and WICT.
Paul Butler, VP, Business Affairs and Development, Gospel Music Channel
Though it’s only September, Butler is already celebrating a banner year. He helped cement GMC carriage on DirecTV, which became official in March with an Easter-music extravaganza. Plus, the network is reaping the benefits of its smooth segue into markets previously served by the now-defunct Black Family Channel (with BFC’s strong endorsement, no less) via deals Butler helped negotiate with true finesse. Butler is also a tireless advocate for diversity both within and outside the cable industry.
Sherita Ceasar, VP, Product Engineering, Cross-Platform Applications and Engineering Analysis, Comcast Corp.
A senior executive with more than 27 years in the telecom and cable industries, Ceasar is a role model for women and minorities alike. At Comcast she oversees cross-platform applications deployment, design efficiency and the evaluation of security requirements for Comcast’s video, data, voice and cross-platform products — all critical to Comcast’s ability to deliver innovation to its customers. At WICT, she serves on the board of directors.
Lisa Chang, EVP, Human Resources, The Weather Channel
In the last five years, Chang has surfaced as one of the industry’s leaders in pay equity best practices. As a result, Weather has been identified as a top company in pay equity in the WICT PAR results several years running. Chang now is catalyzing change in other companies in the cable sector. She is actively involved in Leadership & Education for Asian Pacifics and the National Association for Asian American Professionals, and contributes her time to mentoring and speaking engagements to support young minority professionals. In the cable sphere, she sits on the national boards of directors for both WICT and CTHRA.
Darlene Chapman-Holmes, SVP, Marketing, AmericanLife TV Network
It’s hard to believe that youthful Darlene Chapman-Holmes has been in cable for more than two decades. The always cheerful cable vet has marketed programmers ranging from BET and MTV to Discovery Channel and Nickelodeon. At AmericanLife TV, the Betsy Magness alumnus spearheaded the recent rebrand of the channel, using concepts and art by famed ad man George Lois, and was instrumental in marketing and special promos for its Darfur documentary, hosted by Nick and George Clooney. A tireless messenger for diversity, Chapman-Holmes seems to be at every important cable event in the D.C. area. In addition she has been active with the Emma Bowen Foundation, NAACP, NAMIC and WICT, for which she twice served as conference facilitator for its leadership conference.
Lisa Choi Owens, SVP, Online Distribution & Partnerships, Scripps Networks
A new kid on the Scripps digital team, Owens is already developing a reputation as a heavy hitter. She successfully finalized partnerships with AOL, YouTube and Adobe Media Player for Scripps. She also leads the team developing a strategic framework to extend the company’s growth in non-linear platforms. On top of all that, Owens manages major policies, operating procedures and financial goals. In her spare time (how does she find it?), she is heavily involved with WICT and NAMIC.
Jennifer Chun, SVP, Business and Legal Affairs, Fox Cable Networks
Talk about well-rounded. Economic trends, politics and even popular culture factor into Chun’s astute leadership of the business and legal team that supports the affiliate sales and marketing department for FCN’s 10 national and 16 regional sports nets. This year her visionary approach helped shape the playbook that sealed the multifaceted deal with Comcast for The Big Ten Network, a deal that includes television, broadband and VOD carriage. Chun also advises on other strategic corporate transactions for FCN sister companies.
Raúl de Quesada, Assistant GM/SVP, Marketing, Communications and Creative Services, Fox Sports International
Overseeing all Fox Sports International properties requires the speed, agility and smarts of a championship quarterback. Fortunately for his home team, de Quesada has these characteristics down. During the past few years he’s successfully executed the rebranding of Fox Sports Latin America, Fox Sports en Español and Fox Soccer Channel. In addition he’s revitalized the on-camera look of all Fox Sports International channels and was the driving force in the creation of Premios Fox Sports, the only pan-regional sports awards show that pay tribute to the achievements and contributions of U.S. Hispanic and Latin American athletes on and off the field.
Johnita P. Due, Senior Counsel & Diversity Council Chair, CNN Worldwide
An integral part of the CNN team, Due advises on 1st Amendment issues, newsgathering, copyright and new-media law. Of late she’s been focusing attention on issues arising from user-generated content and managing access matters for CNN, including a successful lawsuit against the state of Florida for a copy of its suspected felons list and one against the federal government for access to information about Hurricane Katrina. She also oversees the company’s diversity council, which develops initiatives to produce inclusive content and support an inclusive culture for CNN’s staff.
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, President & CEO, Women in Cable Telecommunications
WICT’s membership has grown steadily every year since 2004, reaching a record high of 7,000 members in 2008. That means the group has become an even stronger advocate for the professional advancement of women in cable through leadership development and initiatives — something we and everyone else can applaud. Owner of one of the nicest smiles in cable, Benita continues to build WICT in her own image: hard-working, fast-moving, smart, utterly professional and classy. And in this Olympics year it’s time to repeat that the WICT chief is the owner of a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles (she won gold in the Pan American games, too) and represented her country in the Olympics three times. It’s not a surprise then that Benita has helped make WICT the gold standard for professional women’s groups.
Phiderika Foust, SVP, Business Development, Scripps Networks
Can a cable network focused on food make a fashion statement? Foust answered this question with a resounding "yes" in 2008. Her innovative deal with Kohl’s department stores brings Kohl’s a new line of kitchenware and entertaining products designed by Food Network chef Bobby Flay, and provides Scripps with a unique marketing and revenue opportunity as Food’s first retail licensing and merchandising agreement. We’ll certainly be watching to see what other taste-making opportunities the multiyear Kohl’s partnership provides.
Vicky Free, VP, Entertainment Marketing, TBS, TNT and TCM
If you’ve noticed one of the Turner trio’s eye-catching multicultural marketing campaigns of late, chances are Vicky Free was behind it. She and her team built the campaign that skyrocketed TBS’ Tyler Perry’s House of Payne to record-shattering viewership and recent partnerships with Wal-Mart and Def Jam Recordings. Free and her team are set to receive a record five EMMA awards from NAMIC for the House of Payne campaigns. The former Coca Cola exec’s also grown audience share for TNT’s The Closer and most recently headed the marketing for TCM’s groundbreaking Race and Hollywood: Asian Images in Film series, which ran every Tuesday and Thursday night in June.
Brenda Freeman, Chief Marketing Officer, Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media, Turner Broadcasting
When Turner decided to align marketing efforts across all its properties targeting children and young adults, Freeman was the natural choice to lead the team. She hit the ground running this year, joining the company Jan. 1 from her previous post at Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group, and has spent much of 2008 retooling the company’s focus on kids and young adults via signature on-camera and off-channel campaigns that extend to viewers, users, ad sales clients, promotional partners, affiliates and industry trade communities. Her purview comprises Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, and digital enterprises GameTap and Super Deluxe.
Mark Garner, VP, Distribution and Business Development, AETN
Mark Garner’s day job has him overseeing affiliate sales and distribution relationships with AETN’s myriad distribution partners. As a result the industry is filled with Garner admirers, testament to the 20-year vet’s cable acumen. But as important as Garner’s professional duties are, he stands out because of the countless hours he devotes to activities outside the office. His diversity credentials include 13 years on NAMIC’s board. And Garner has not ignored the larger community. He’s active in an effort of his alma mater, Stanford University, to conduct educational and cultural seminars designed to open new worlds and ideas to the entire community. Back East, Garner counsels youth at the local Y in South Orange, N.J.
Richard Gay, EVP, Strategy & Business Operations, VH1 & CMT
Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus may have grabbed all the eyeballs as hosts of this year’s CMT Awards ceremony, but behind the scenes it’s Gay who oversees the network’s long-range strategy. Honored in recent months by both NAMIC and Ebony magazine, Gay makes key decisions regarding affiliate sales and programming at CMT and VH1. This year viewers have seen his vision play out with a greater focus on reality programming such as the Tom Arnold-hosted My Big Redneck Wedding, a new deal with Dick Clark Productions for the CMT Awards and cross-promotional channels, including a new advertisement in conjunction with Exxon that features stars of CMT’s popular Trick My Truck series.
Barbara Gee, VP, Strategic Sales Alliances, Comcast Cable
When it comes to drumming up business, Gee’s got potential subscribers’ numbers. Literally. Her movers’ sales and retention strategy, which she has generously shared with industry colleagues via CTAM, has revolutionized the way Comcast handles movers across its footprint. Other Gee-inspired national programs that are helping drive and retain customers are a new construction sales strategy, where the MSO teams with builders and developers, and its lowest-cost sales channel model that defined national third-party partnerships. Above all, Gee is a consummate team player who manages never to compromise her competitive spirit. This is, after all, a woman who noted in our May CableFAXIES issue that the brand other than Comcast she’d like to represent is the NBA.
Gavin Goffe, SVP, Commercial Operations, MTV Networks
If you’re looking for keen business sense and strong people skills, Goffe’s your man. Not only is he MTV’s go-to guy for protecting revenue generated in disaster-recovery-related situations, he manages an 86-member department and supervises managers and directors for each network in the MTV Networks traffic area. Together, those departments are maintaining sales of more than $3.5 billion this year. His responsibilities include setting team goals, analyzing system-related problems and ensuring day-to-day functions run smoothly.
Susan Gonzales, Corporate Senior Director of Government Affairs, Comcast Corp.
The first Hispanic woman to lead Comcast’s involvement in federal government affairs, Gonzales serves as the company’s representative for national diversity advocacy and outreach. As such, she oversees the creation of partnership agreements with national Hispanic organizations and has created numerous opportunities to increase Comcast’s visibility and extend its commitment to diverse organizations. Thanks in part to Gonzales’ dedication, Comcast is a consistent recipient of various accolades for diversity and most recently committed to making a diverse workforce a priority in the construction of the Comcast Center in Philadelphia.
Ishmel Goodrum, VP, Network Operations, Insight Communications
Goodrum was a key decision maker in Insight and Comcast’s agreement to split their formerly shared Midwest properties. This former Marine takes a no-nonsense approach as he continues to transform Insight’s network operations, overseeing a staff of 75 and indirectly interfacing with a larger field staff. His efforts were a factor in the 5.4% growth in basic video customers Insight enjoyed during the past year — no small feat. Insight’s hands-on approach for managers has led to improvements in customer satisfaction due in part to Goodrum’s meticulous scrutiny of the performance of every router and every switch.
Vicki Hamilton, SVP, Enterprise, Turner Broadcasting System
An active member of NAMIC, Hamilton is responsible for ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to support Turner’s business activity on emerging consumer platforms. Her job entails working with divisions across the company, often facilitating project and resource management for large-scale, multi-divisional initiatives. Hamilton is a Betsy Magness Leadership Institute fellow and works with 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta as a volunteer and mentor of single mothers.
Gene Hawkins, SVP, Human Resources, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel
Aside from overseeing all of Hallmark’s human resources activity — including recruiting, employee development, company policies, benefits, compensation and diversity initiatives — Hawkins has spent much of 2008 tackling the daunting task of retooling the company’s benefits plan. He is renegotiating those plans in an effort that ultimately will provide employees with a more comprehensible medical plan at minimal cost. Now if he could only share his wisdom with the federal government…
Hamid Heidary, EVP, Central Operations/Chief Technical Officer, Insight Communications
Heidary’s first act at Insight was to rescue the company from a troublesome migration of its broadband service from AT&T servers in 2006, a detailed process that culminated in the increase of download speeds from 4 Mbps to 20 Mbps by the end of 2007. His efforts have helped swell the operator’s high-speed Internet customer base from 48,000 in 2004 to 78,000 in 2007, second only to Cablevision these days. For his latest trick, Heidary is leading the Insight technical team to develop revolutionary solutions like the Performance Management Tool (PMT), which enables end-to-end monitoring of the HSI customer experience, including download speeds, DNS response, e-mail response and browsing speeds to the most widely utilized domains on the Internet.
Susan Jin Davis, VP, Corporate Development, Comcast Corp.
A leader in Comcast’s diversity initiatives, Jin Davis serves as the liaison between the MSO and national Asian and Asian-American organizations. She also oversees government and regulatory affairs related to voice and online issues for Comcast, and provides counsel to the company’s online and voice services senior management.
Kathy Johnson, President, NAMIC
Johnson advocates the business case for diversity and serves as liaison joining companies in their efforts to, literally, change the face of cable. Since taking the NAMIC helm more than two years ago, she has expanded the concept of diversity from the theoretical to the pragmatic through initiatives including mentoring programs, multicultural marketing campaigns and town hall meetings.
Mark Kang, VP, Affiliate Relations, The Sportsman Channel
Before joining The Sportsman Channel, Mark Kang wasn’t what you would call an avid sportsman. Kang’s habitat is Manhattan, which wasn’t even a hotbed of hunting and fishing in 1626, when the Manhattoe Indians sold it for $24. Still Kang’s hard-driving spirit and cable tutelage under Bob Rose were enough to convince TSC to let Mark create a New York office. It’s been a good move. A slew of carriage agreements have followed, due to TSC’s slate and Kang’s relationship building. Kang seems ubiquitous on the cable circuit, touting TSC at NAMIC, Cable Positive, the Cable Hall of Fame and a slew of regional events.
Parisa Khosravi, SVP, International Newsgathering, CNN Worldwide
A 20-year CNN veteran, Khosravi was appointed SVP, international newsgathering, in July 2007 and has not rested since. Her oversight of CNN’s entire international newsgathering operation includes more than 60 correspondents, 30 bureaus and the Atlanta-based international assignment desk. With news acumen gleaned through years of covering events including the death of Pope John Paul II, the Asian tsunami, both Gulf wars and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Khosravi ensures that international newsgathering is integrated into the day-to-day news operation of CNN Worldwide with editorial, operation and administrative leadership.
Carla Lewis-Long, SVP, Affiliate Sales, AmericanLife TV Network
When cable people talk about seasoned professionals, they inevitably mention Carla Lewis-Long. Somebody usually adds that Carla’s also one of the most stylish execs in the business, too. Lewis-Long began her successful career at USA, where she spent 12 years, rising from regional manager to director of affiliate sales. When NBC acquired USA/Universal in 2004, her duties expanded to include distribution, contract negotiation and subscriber growth for 10 networks. At AmericanLife TV, Lewis-Long’s efforts have contributed to a 30% increase in sub growth during the past two years. And Carla’s leadership extends beyond the boardroom to CTAM, where she is president of CTAM Carolinas. Previously she was co-VP of CTAM New York and president of CTAM New England.
Bam Liem, VP, Advanced Services, Engineering, Insight Communications
There is no such thing as a dull day at the office for Bam Liem, who sits at the nexus of Insight’s residential and business services for phone and high-speed Internet service. His responsibilities include the architecture, design and development of all of the operator’s high-speed data and phone products, including technology and vendor selection, plus oversight for Insight’s wide area network, the enterprise phone system used at its call centers.
Tony Maldonado, VP, Acquisition and Marketing Sciences, Cox
The science of customer acquisition is ever changing, and Maldonado is a consistently proactive, results-driven force at Cox. Known as one of the brightest minds in the business, he not only successfully restructured the corporate creative services team into two distinct entities — one that focuses on direct response and the other on brand recognition — but recently executed two effective centralized acquisition initiatives. The first, a data-based outreach campaign for nonsubscribers, was implemented in six systems. The second, a campaign dubbed "Go Fastest," is a system-side initiative aimed at keeping all Cox marketers "on the bus" with centralized tools and resources. All this and Digital Max won’t make a move without Tony’s approval. Some guys have it all.
Lucinda Martinez-Desir, VP, Acquisition & Multicultural Marketing, HBO
A steadfast champion of giving voice to minorities via outside sponsorships, partnerships and community outreach, Martinez-Desir is well known for her groundbreaking initiatives and her convivial personality. As well as overseeing HBO’s subscriber acquisition marketing activities — including wireless entertainment services — she has led campaigns directly focused on the African-American, Latino and gay/lesbian markets. Her efforts contributed to HBO being cited as one of the gay-friendliest brands according to a 2008 study by Prime Access/Planet Out.
Emilio "Che Che" Mata, SVP, Creative Services, Starz Entertainment
New to our list this year, Mata was a key driver in the comprehensive rebranding initiative Starz undertook with the Troika Design Group that came to fruition this April. The $25 million "Are You Ready?" year-long campaign — the company’s largest brand investment since 2002 — brought a new look and identity across Starz’s standard-definition and HD networks. Outside of the Starz orbit, Mata is active with NAMIC and other industry organizations.
John Murchison, VP, HBO Films & Miniseries
Many of HBO’s most acclaimed programming events can be directly linked to Murchison, a screenwriter at heart who goes the extra mile to bring a diversity of subjects and creative expertise to the network. Among the miniseries benefiting from his personal stamp: Generation Kill, The Pacific, Elizabeth I, Rome and John Adams, which grabbed a leading 23 nominations at this year’s Emmys. Outside the office, Murchison has been a judge at the American Black Film Festival and mentor to at-risk teens in Los Angeles.
Donna Northington, VP, Strategic Planning, Turner Network Sales
An active member of NAMIC and WICT, Northington volunteers her time to lead the TNS Diversity Council, which identifies and communicates why diversity is important to Turner Broadcasting and employees. She works to establish the business case for: diversity; increasing employee diversity on- and off-camera; building employee communication and awareness; and collaborating with TBS and Time Warner’s diversity efforts.
Walter Oden, VP, National Accounts and Field Operations, Content Distribution & Partner Marketing Group, MTV Networks/BET Networks
As you can see, Walter Oden has a title that takes up several lines on his business card. Indeed, he oversees distribution and field ops as well as new product strategies across the country for MTVN’s 23-plus networks in their work with Time Warner Cable. He’s also a CTAM N.Y. board member and was on the board at NAMIC, in its N.Y. and D.C. chapters. But words on paper don’t convey the respect this former A&E executive commands. The best we can do is to say the soft-spoken Oden has built numerous strong alliances throughout the business, mostly due to the classy way he does everything.
Lamont Orange, VP, Information Technology, Charter Communications
Heading up IT for the operator that changed its marketing proposition to one based primarily on data crunching is no small task. Orange rises to the challenge with aplomb, supporting and educating multiple departments within Charter on a variety of tech issues including security. He was instrumental in Charter’s recent PCI certification and has assisted in the negotiation of multiple enterprise-wide agreements that have saved the company millions of dollars. He also finds time to give back, serving last year as president of his local NAMIC chapter and mentoring area high schoolers.
Mauro Panzera, Senior Director, Multicultural Marketing, Comcast Corp.
An active member of CTAM, Panzera leads Comcast’s multicultural marketing initiatives, including the introduction of the MSO’s On Demand en Español, which offers more than 100 hours of free Spanish-language VOD content, and the CableLatino and Selecto programming packages. The jovial Panzera has also led efforts to bring Hispanic customers in Comcast’s markets other expanded viewing choices, including highly valued Spanish- and English-language video and audio channels.
Richard Ramlall, SVP, Strategic External Affairs & Programming, RCN Corp.
Ramlall’s massive overhaul of RCN’s strategic regulatory/government affairs and marketing functions not only paved the way for money-saving initiatives — notably the extension of RCN’s set-top-box waiver through January 2009 to the tune of $50 million — but is reshaping the landscape for many cable peers (competitors?). His recent efforts have helped grow RCN’s institutional ownership from 74% to 93% and more than tripled its sell-side analyst coverage. Ramlall also pioneered corporate donation of on-camera time, gifting $12 million to charities, including the United Way.
Cynthia Perkins-Roberts, VP, Diversity Sales & Business Development, Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau
An early pioneer of cable’s push into multicultural advertising and programming, Perkins-Roberts founded CAB’s multicultural department in 2000 and has been helping ethnic programming networks make inroads on Madison Avenue ever since. Aside from tirelessly connecting agencies and advertisers with cable sales professionals, she serves on Nielsen’s African-American Television Advisory Council.
Debbie Smith Rayford, VP, Diversity and HR Services, Discovery Communications
Smith Rayford works to create diversity both on the television screen and within the Discovery ranks. She serves as the company’s HR representative for global diversity standards and manages Discovery Points of View, a companywide initiative that supports innovation through the inclusion of a broad range of perspectives. It also includes outreach to groups like Discovery’s Multicultural Alliance, GLBT Network, Discovery Veterans Group and the Women’s Leadership Network.
Lisa Stockmon, VP, Brand Communications, Time Warner Cable
With 46% of the U.S. Hispanic population residing in Time Warner Cable’s footprint, multicultural marketing is critical. Stockmon, who began her Time Warner career at Cinemax in 1991, is clearly up to the challenge. Not only did she help structure the MSO’s first integrated brand campaign to sell the triple play — including advertising that aggressively differentiates its brand from Verizon and DirecTV — but she carved out a dedicated multicultural marketing function for the company to support initiatives such as the new combined English- and Spanish-language digital video package the operator launched in April in Los Angeles.
Kent Takano, VP, Programming, Fine Living Network
Takano really got things cooking at FLN this year when he led the acquisition of new episodes of Emeril Live!, a popular staple on Scripps sister channel The Food Network. The show began running on Fine Living in July and has forged a formidable programming block preceding The Martha Stewart Show, another viewer magnet he negotiated for the network. But Takano, who sits on the Scripps Networks diversity committee and is a graduate of NAMIC’s Leadership Development Program, is not content with proven staples. Under his supervision FLN greenlighted four original series this summer, including design competition From the Ground Up.
Sherice Torres, SVP, Global Home Entertainment, Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products
While most of us expect to see children’s television characters winking at us from cereal boxes or packages of cookies, Torres continues to push the envelope, leading Nickelodeon’s efforts to address healthy eating and wellness among kids. She expanded the network’s licensed food program to include more fruits and veggies such as carrots, citrus and, yes, even spinach. We raise a glass — of milk — to Sherice.
Lenore Washington-Graham, VP, Strategic Resourcing, Scripps Networks
If you’ve been around the cable industry for a while you’ve probably already lost count of how many times Scripps is cited as best in class for embracing diversity. Much of that credit goes to Washington-Graham, who heads the company’s program for diversity excellence including staffing, on-camera talent, vendor relationships and community partnerships. Beginning with her first initiative, the development of a diversity committee chaired by Scripps Networks president John Lansing, Washington-Graham continues to set an example for us all.
Tina Waters, SVP, Customer Service Operations, Comcast Cable
Waters plays a key role in Comcast’s customer service effort, overseeing the company’s operations process improvements, billing, credit and collections initiatives, employee selection and development and quality assurance for Comcast call centers. She also volunteers her time as Leadership Development Committee co-chair for the Phi Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Denmark West, President, Digital Media, BET Networks
West had a busy 2008 overseeing all things digital at BET, including BET.com, BET Mobile, BET On Demand and the company’s digital download offerings. Among his most visible accomplishments thus far this year: shepherding the debut of a Web-based advertising network targeting the African-American and urban markets that launched in January with more than 30 music, entertainment and lifestyle sites.
Barbara York, SVP, Industry Affairs, NCTA
What a difference a year makes. During Diversity Week 2007, Barbara York was a difference maker little appreciated beyond NCTA’s offices on Massachusetts Ave. This time around she’s a member of the Cable Hall of Fame and the Cable Television Pioneers. What hasn’t changed is York’s humility, attention to detail, her knowledge of every good restaurant in town and her fun-loving nature. She needs all those qualities and more to run The Cable Show, the industry’s largest trade event. Did you think cable’s help for New Orleans — including the wildly successful Battle of the Bands — last May was well done? Thank Barbara and her staff. Despite years of successfully educating, housing and entertaining thousands of convention attendees each spring, the soft-spoken York still can’t believe she’s in the Hall. We can.