Once again, as part of our annual Most Powerful Women in Cable issue, we present Women in Cable Telecommunications’ roll call of prominent women working on the technology side of cable. The executives on these pages are signposts for the next generation of cable’s technology leaders — and there is plenty of work to be done to attract others like them.
WICT has taken care to provide role models and entry for young women engineers — and those otherwise technologically inclined — who might be considering jobs in cable. There has been a slight increase in the number of women working in cable technology, according to WICT’s 2008 PAR Initiative, which will be released this month. "Cable offers opportunity that, even today, continues to grow because of emerging technologies," says Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, president and CEO of WICT, and herself an engineer. "The possibilities are, quite literally, limitless."
Mosley would like to see the industry proactively visit college campuses to highlight the array of growth opportunities available to women in cable. Cable companies should also create employee resource groups and have them focus on future technical projects that will drive the bottom line, she adds.
Not content to wait on such action, WICT continues to take an active role in the recruitment of women techies. Its 2008 Tech It Out Case Study, sponsored by Motorola, considers the challenges cable companies face in the recruitment and retention of women in technology. Two WICT chapters have already hosted the case study, and a third will run it in December. Best practices will be extrapolated from the participants’ work, and will be shared with HR, management and others who are faced with hiring, promoting and retaining women in the technology sector, according to Laurie Root, VP, Education & Programming, WICT.
Meanwhile, if you already work in cable technology, Mosley advises that you keep at it. You may end up on this list someday.
Susan Adams SVP, Engineering and Technical Operations, Comcast Cable, NorthCentral Division
Adams’ top priority: "Readying our advanced fiber-optic network to launch the most HD choices and the fastest Internet speeds for our customers."
Peggy Ballard Senior Director, Worldwide Service Provider Marketing, Cisco
Ballard provides the information flow for one of cable’s most important tech vendors. Her technological priority is communicating Cisco’s vision of helping people live a connected life that is more personal, social and visual.
Nomi Bergman President, Bright House Networks
Bergman has driven Bright House’s development of voice, wireless, high-speed data and video technologies and products.
Sabrina Calhoun VP, Engineering, Bright House Networks, Tampa Bay Division
"One of our industry’s biggest challenges is maximizing our bandwidth through efficient content placement and strategic use of new technologies like switched digital video," Calhoun reports.
Sherita Ceasar VP, Product Engineering, Comcast Corp.
Ceasar is responsible for the design, implementation and deployment of cross-platform applications.
Grace Egan VP, Engineering, Product Management, Time Warner Cable
"My technological priority is creating new product and technology solutions that are simple to use, convenient and appealing to our customers."
Cyndee E. Everman VP, Business Support Systems, Time Warner Cable
"My No. 1 priority is bringing technology solutions to our customer care and marketing departments to improve customer service and help drive more efficient marketing," Everman says.
Kristine Faulkner VP, Product Development and Management, Cox Business
Faulkner and her team are launching an MSO-hosted/managed IP voice product featuring disaster recovery, remote office and unified messaging capabilities.
Charlotte Field SVP, Systems Engineering, Comcast Corp.
Field leads the operations and administration of Comcast’s voice communications network, which serves more than 1 million phone customers.
Joan Gillman EVP and President of Media Sales, Time Warner Cable
An influential force in interactive TV, Gillman is an industry leader helping to spearhead the Canoe advanced cable advertising initiative.
Yvette Gordon-Kanouff Chief Strategy Officer, SeaChange International
"The creation of standards and a focus on enabling convergence have been catalysts for many major breakthroughs we can point to in the industry," Gordon-Kanouff tells us. "Our industry needs to continue to make progress and evolve to meet new goals for on demand, multi-platform delivery and targeted advertising."
Sherisse Hawkins VP, Software Engineering, Time Warner Cable
Top priority: "Developing cross-platform solutions and applications so that our customers can enjoy TWC services more conveniently than ever before."
Beth Higbee SVP & GM, Emerging Ventures, Scripps Networks
Higbee’s goal as a leader of the emerging ventures team is to recognize, analyze and nurture new business ideas to meet the company’s growth goals and to encourage a culture of innovation among employees.
Barbara Jaffe SVP, Advanced Technology & Operations, HBO
Jaffe’s top job: "Our current priority is the newest enhancement to our HBO service, HBO on Broadband."
Sally Kinsman National Accounts Director, Aurora Networks
Kinsman focuses on node segmentation technologies that enable operators to expand bandwidth per subscriber without costly network construction.
Rebecca Rusk Lim Senior Director, Advanced Services, Starz Entertainment
"My No. 1 tech priority is working on ITV applications that include tru2way and EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format), also known as ETV," Lim says.
Rhonda Lowry VP, Social Media Technologies, Turner Broadcasting System
Lowry focuses on social media technologies across many dimensions at Turner.
Vicki Marts Director, Video Engineering, Cox Kansas/Arkansas
Marts was the 2006 recipient of Communications Technology’s Women in Technology award.
Gwynne McConkey SVP, Operations, Information Systems & Technology, Lifetime Entertainment
Top priority: "Implement seamless file-based production workflows across the wide area network, i.e., between New York and Los Angeles. This will be a standard-definition environment in 2008 and expanded to HD in 2009."
Lisa Choi Owens SVP, Online Distribution & Partnerships, Scripps Networks
Owens has successfully finalized partnerships with AOL, YouTube, and Adobe Media Player for SN Digital.
Susie Kim Riley Founder and CTO, Camiant Inc.
Under Riley’s direction, Camiant has emerged as a leader for deployed policy control solutions with broadband providers in the U.S. and beyond.
Veronica Sheehan SVP, Network Operations, Turner Broadcasting System
Sheehan assists in the development of advanced advertising options for TBS advertisers, and for the industry as a whole.
Carolyn L. Terry VP, Engineering Time Warner Cable, L.A. South Division
"My priorities are developing the engineering and technical skills of the workforce to support transparent implementation of new technology and services to our customers while maintaining high performance standards for current products," Terry says.
Sangita Verma Founder and CEO TAG Networks
The driving force behind the cable industry’s pioneering games-on-demand channel, Verma has garnered support from investors since the company was formed in 2003.
Sue Wante Area Vice President, Metro Boston East Area, Comcast
Top job: "Proactively ensuring that our network is operating at optimal capacity to ensure customers receive the most reliable service possible."
—With additional reporting by Chad Hollingsworth