It’s sadly ironic that our annual women’s issue is being published as the shock and hurt from the loss of Jim Robbins have barely subsided.
It’s hard to argue that any exec did more than Robbins to give women an opportunity to hold senior positions in cable, and succeed in them.
We associate Jim Robbins and Cox with WICT and women for many reasons, including that Cox was a perennial favorite to be named best operator for women at the WICT gala and that Ellen East, who masterminded Cox’s communications for years, was a major presence at the gala. It’s also because Robbins made time at the WICT gala in 2005 to sit with our Paul Maxwell for an interview about things he really didn’t want to talk about: himself, his career and his legacy. That interview was part of a cover story tribute to the retiring Robbins. While he was gracious, he wished we hadn’t done it. When it came to being in the spotlight, Robbins was uneasy. Later that night WICT’s chief Benita Fitzgerald Mosley put him there anyway, surprising the reluctant executive with a huge framed testimony to him upon his retirement.
Although Robbins wasn’t fond of ceremony and he was his least favorite subject, WICT and/or The Cable Center could do worse than to name an award, or better a scholarship or internship in customer service, in his memory. An award would ensure that despite his best attempts, the Robbins legacy of supporting women, putting integrity at the top of the business, and revering the customer and customer service, would be discussed at least once per year. Not a bad thing.
A woman who’s risen in cable is our associate publisher for sales Amy Abbey, who leaves CableWorld today for another post in cable publishing. Although she’ll be a competitor now, and a formidable one, I still consider her a cable colleague. There are few who can match Amy’s honesty, her passion for this business and its people and her ability to have fun while doing a great job. She’s good people and good for cable.