It’s a tricky affair, putting together CableWorld’s annual list of the Most Influential Minorities in Cable. Influence comes in many forms: the power to hire and fire, the industrywide reach of an individual, service to the community, mentoring young staffers. This year we had a lot of help from the cable industry itself. Cable professionals spent a great deal of time filling out the nomination form on our website, Cable360.net, frequently ignoring the 50-word limit on responses, which turned out to be a good thing, and not just because we no longer had to decipher handwritten scrawls on faxed forms. The nominators’ respect and admiration for their nominees clearly shone through. We also benefited from the guidance of NAMIC, which took the time to consider the industry’s nominees, tell us who we were missing and make suggestions on which minority executives have the most power and influence.

The most obvious changes from last year’s list are the addition of Andrea Wong, the new president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services (interview on page 20), and the absence of Laureen Ong, the former president of National Geographic Channel who left for Hong Kong to work for News Corp. subsidiary Star. We’re already anticipating the next big change: Dick Parsons, our No. 1 this year and last, could very well be leaving his post atop Time Warner after his contract ends next summer. Real power rests with those who are ultimately responsible for a company’s value on Wall Street, and in the media business that translates into influencing what appears on screens. As Spike Lee has said, there are just a few gatekeepers who make the big decisions regarding what gets shown on TV, and minorities have got to rise to that executive level to effect real change in both the visibility of minorities in the media and in the way they are depicted. Who will take Parsons’ place among that select few if he leaves?

The Top 10

[1] RICHARD PARSONS
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, TIME WARNER
Looks like this might be the unflappable Parsons’ last hurrah at the top of this list. Parsons, the rare person of color who happens to be a CEO running a major entertainment company — including cable’s second-largest MSO and notable nets TBS, CNN and TNT — has hinted that during 2008 he’ll turn over his duties to Jeff Bewkes and go run a vineyard somewhere. And then there are rumors that he’ll be running for mayor of New York. Whatever comes next, he’ll leave a legacy of solid stewardship, along with a foundation for growth beyond 2008. Parsons pushed for Time Warner Cable’s IPO this past winter and new VOD/interactive TV activity this fall. His new VP appointment, T. Hudson Williams, will manage an expanded multicultural agenda companywide.

[2] CHRISTINA NORMAN
PRESIDENT, MTV

Norman probably would love to forget the first half of 2007. Two months in, she presided over a staff cutback that plunged deep into MTV’s management ranks. The hook also came out for MTV World, three nets targeting Asian-Americans. Still, there’s optimism Norman will have MTV finishing strong this year, helped by the ratings of new Real World and The Hills episodes.

[3] DEBRA LEE
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BET NETWORKS

The multimedia expansion push instituted by Lee in January 2006, upon taking the CEO mantle from founder Bob Johnson, continues. BET J, the company’s first digital channel, is crafting its programming identity, moving from jazz to a mix of music and reality series. Original broadband content at www.bet.com, BET On Blast and BET Mobile is plentiful and increasing.

[4] ALBERT CHENG
EVP, DIGITAL MEDIA & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, DISNEY-ABC TV GROUP

Cheng, a pioneer in the advancement of television, continues to set the digital content strategy for the Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group and help define the industry standard for multi-platform content. No digital media deal is sealed for Disney Channel, ABC, SOAPnet or ABC Family without Cheng having the final say.

[5] ANDREA WONG
PRESIDENT AND CEO, LIFETIME ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES

Taking the top job at Lifetime in April made Wong the highest-ranking Asian-American woman executive in cable. At ABC, Wong developed hits Dancing With the Stars, Wife Swap and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Perhaps it was good timing, but after Wong came aboard Lifetime enjoyed the successful launch of Army Wives. She also pitches in for industry organizations such as Cable Positive.

[6] MARWAN FAWAZ
EVP AND CTO, CHARTER

Bandwidth expansion, and how to make the most of it through innovative high-speed Internet, video-on-demand and interactive TV services, take up most of Fawaz’s time at Charter. He’s found some promising directions for his MSO and others over the last year by supervising "Innovation Showcase," a feature of CableLabs’ semiannual conferences whereby companies demonstrate new services ready for deployment.

[7] DINNI JAIN
PRESIDENT AND COO, INSIGHT

In his first year as president/COO, Jain pulled Insight through a technical high-speed access crisis and the launch of voice over IP telephony among the company’s systems. The year two highlights so far include a revamped approach to digital content, emphasizing linear channels arranged by genre, more HD nets and VOD. Jain continues to keep his operation — and his love for things N.C. Tar Heels — growing.

[8] MARVIN O. DAVIS
SVP, MARKETING, COMCAST

In 2006, Davis created the award-winning and subscriber-attracting "Comcastic" marketing and advertising campaign. He continues to be responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive integrated marketing, sales and branding strategies for Comcast’s video, high-speed and voice services products. As a CTAM board member, Davis plays a leading role in cable’s marketing community.

[9] HENRY AHN
EVP, TV NETWORKS DISTRIB., NBC UNIVERSAL

Just when Ahn’s variety of carriage responsibilities appears ready to lighten, along comes more to handle. First, there’s increasing distribution of NBC’s newest diginets — Sleuth and Chiller. Then there’s lining up more carriage and content for VOD and Universal HD. And, after disappointing viewership of the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, there’s building operator support for next summer’s Beijing games.

[10] JOHNATHAN RODGERS
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TV ONE

Rodgers not only leads TV One, he plays an influential role in public policy as an NCTA board member who passionately represents cable on the Hill and at the FCC. Rodgers handles many of TV One’s major deals himself, closely consulting Alfred Liggins, TV One’s chairman (see #20).

The Rest of the Top 50

[11] WONYA LUCAS
EVP AND GM, THE WEATHER CHANNEL NETWORKS

This marketer-turned-network-chief is committed to advancing diversity in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Lucas, who co-chaired this year’s CTAM Summit, has expanded the network’s scope, staking an early claim to environmental programming, and has made deals for productions narrated by the likes of Meryl Streep. She also expanded Weather’s radio network services for Hispanic markets.

[12] MARLENE DOONER
SVP, INVESTOR RELATIONS, COMCAST CORP.

Dooner, one of Comcast’s top Hispanic executives, serves as the face of the company in the investor community. She leads Comcast’s financial communications activities related to earnings, mergers & acquisitions and shareholders, and has been at the center of transactions that have helped Comcast grow revenue and add subscribers. Dooner also sits on the board of Moore College of Art and Design.

[13] REGINALD HUDLIN
PRESIDENT, ENTERTAINMENT BET NETWORKS

Two years after vowing to transform BET’s lineup and make it less dependent on music videos, Hudlin is ready to shift into second gear this fall. Picking up praise and good ratings for such shows as Baldwin Hills and American Gangster, Hudlin is rolling out new series like there’s no tomorrow — 16 by next spring, including Somebodies, Sunday Best and toon Hannibal.

[14] DOUG GASTON
SVP AND GENERAL COUNSEL, COMCAST CABLE

Gaston serves as principal legal counsel to Comcast’s senior management and leads the company’s cable law department, overseeing and directing a team of legal advisers who provide day-to-day legal counsel to the operating departments. Under Gaston’s leadership, Comcast was honored by The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) as an Employer of Choice for its commitment to diversity.

[15] MIKE HAYASHI
SVP, ADVANCED ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY, TIME WARNER CABLE

The more cable’s second-ranked operator expands its advanced services, the more crowded Hayashi’s front burners get. There’s plenty he’s dealing with, just taking VOD and DVR-type projects into account, such as the national rollouts of Start Over and Quick Clips. More for Hayashi this fall and beyond is a given, headlined by mass deployment of caller ID and other interactive TV services.

[16] LINO GARCIA
GM, ESPN DEPORTES

Garcia has been a key driver behind ESPN’s commitment to the Hispanic community. He joined ESPN in 2003 and was charged with the launch of ESPN Deportes, and has since launched ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Deportes La Revista magazine. Most recently, Garcia led efforts to acquire the exclusive Spanish-language rights to the Pan American Games.

[17] LUIS SILBERWASSER
SVP AND GM, DISCOVERY NETWORKS U.S., HISPANIC GROUP

Under Silberwasser’s leadership, Discovery has deepened its commitment to U.S. Hispanic audiences with increased investment (100-plus hours) in original Spanish-language content for Discovery en Español. To advance discussion on issues facing U.S. Hispanic families, Silberwasser also commissioned a study that was released in May called "Moving Forward: Thought Leaders Share Their Views on Issues Facing U.S. Hispanics."

[18] ANTOINETTE ZEL
SENIOR EVP, NETWORK STRATEGY, TELEMUNDO

Zel had a good year at mun2, with The Chicas Project becoming the channel’s first pop culture-oriented hit series, and documentary Latinos in the Military earning critical respect and a Peabody Award. More documentaries are ahead, and all three new series launching early 2008 — Holamun2.com: The Show, Beauty es Cool and mun2Hook Up — will broaden the channel’s image.

[19] ARTHUR ORDUÑA
SVP, POLICY AND PRODUCT, ADVANCE/NEWHOUSE COMMUNICATIONS

Advance/Newhouse subsidiary Bright House Networks rolled out the Pivot wireless product this past spring, the last of the Sprint-MSO joint venture participants to jump in. Orduña, Advance’s Pivot overseer, waited until Cox, Comcast and Time Warner Cable were well along in their rollout cycle, giving Bright House’s engineers and marketers the opportunity to learn from their counterparts.

[20] ALFRED LIGGINS
CHAIRMAN, TV ONE

Liggins spent four years trying to get TV One off the ground, and proved that more than one channel for African-Americans can succeed. A born salesman who’s comfortable with everyone from Dick Parsons to Snoop Dogg, Liggins convinced Comcast to get behind TV One and continues to work on deals that will impact the cable business.

[21] SCOTT MILLS
PRESIDENT AND COO, BET NETWORKS

What a way to celebrate a decade in one place — become president. That’s what happened in July to Mills, when CEO Debra Lee appointed him president and COO, after four years as the Viacom-owned operation’s CFO. Mills now makes the final call on matters involving ad sales, marketing and carriage. He also continues to monitor www.bet.com.

[22] OLIVIA SMASHUM
EVP, AFFILIATE MARKETING, HBO

Whatever direction Smashum takes at HBO, it’s bound to be in lockstep with her commitment to a diverse audience. Take HBO On Demand, which she pitches to affiliates. As an incentive for operators to reach out to people of color, Smashum provides exclusive VOD content, as well as community outreach opportunities geared to Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and other celebrations.

[23] ED HUGUEZ
EVP, AFFILIATE SALES AND MARKETING, STARZ ENTERTAINMENT

Huguez is responsible for all aspects of sales and affiliate relations at Starz. The premium movie service provider will be bulking up on HD content as it becomes available, and Huguez will be busy hawking it to operators as a churn-buster to combat his former employer DirecTV, which he helped build in the mid-90s.

[24] PATRICK YOUNGE
PRESIDENT AND GM, TRAVEL MEDIA

Younge was a central player in Cox’s acquisition of Travel Channel as part of a larger $2 billion deal. Since Younge took the reins in 2005, Travel has grown to more than 90 million households. Seeking to focus on travel-related content, Younge chose not to renew World Poker Tour and has secured long-term contracts with Anthony Bourdain, Samantha Brown and John Ratzenberger.

[25] SALAAM COLEMAN SMITH
EVP, THE STYLE NETWORK

Smith, one of the youngest women running a network, led Style to a strong second quarter with the help of new series I Propose and the second seasons of Split Ends and Dress My Nest. As a former Kaitz Foundation Fellow, she’s committed to diversity: She has counseled subsequent fellows and is an active member of NAMIC and WICT.

[26] CLARA KIM
EVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS, DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS

Kim’s a newbie to this list, as well as at the company she works for, having joined Discovery a month ago. However, she’s no stranger to cable programming, legal and diversity matters, thanks to various executive roles at Viacom. At Discovery, she’s responsible for programming acquisitions, including those affecting next January’s relaunch of diginet Discovery Home as Planet Green.

[27] BOB GERRARD JR.
EVP AND GENERAL COUNSEL SCRIPPS NETWORKS

With HGTV, Food, Fine Living, DIY and GAC in Scripps’ hands, Harvard Law School grad Gerrard and his legal eagles have plenty of business to handle. He marks his 10th anniversary with Scripps this fall, arriving there after positions with HBO and Sega Channel. At HBO, Gerrard received an Andrew Heiskell Community Service Award from parent Time Warner.

[28] GEOF ROCHESTER
EVP, MARKETING, WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT

WWE hired Comcast/Showtime vet Rochester to help shape the company’s global ambitions and its forays into new media. He helped put together key marketing partnerships with AT&T and Donald Trump for WrestleMania 23, and created WWE’s first ventures with MySpace and YouTube. His affiliate team also developed the "Greatest Fan" viral video campaign with Comcast’s Ziddio.

[29] KELVIN WESTBROOK
CHAIRMAN, CHIEF STRATEGIC OFFICER, MILLENNIUM DIGITAL MEDIA

Westbrook’s role shifted shortly after last year’s list was published. He became the MSO’s chairman, turning president and CEO duties over to former Cebridge CEO Bill Shreffler. Assuming the title of chief strategic officer, Westbrook has been hunting for systems, while launching VOD and the triple play among 110,000 Millennium customers in Maryland, Michigan, Oregon and Washington state.

[30] NATHALIE LUBENSKY
SVP, AFFILIATE MARKETING, DISNEY AND ESPN MEDIA NETS

Lubensky oversees all marketing for Disney and ESPN distribution deals, her reach extending across more than 40 products and services, but she finds time to be a committed advocate for diversity in the workplace. Within her company she oversees a small group of employees charged with attracting, recruiting and retaining diverse candidates for the sales and marketing team.

[31] JAMES BROWN
SVP, NEW PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, ESPN

This JB’s got a brand new bag at ESPN, to paraphrase a song title from that other JB. It’s a far cry from the other arena Brown was responsible for at the all-sports channel: Before, he managed affiliate relationships in the field for ESPN and other Walt Disney-owned channels; now the 12-year ESPN vet concentrates on new programming ventures.

[32] ROCKY BOLER
SVP, CUSTOMER SERVICE, CABLEVISION

Cablevision enjoys the highest advanced service penetration levels of any MSO. Of 3 million-plus basic customers, more than two of three take digital and high-speed Internet offerings, and one of three uses telephony. A large portion of the credit for those results belongs to Boler’s aggressive service initiatives, enabling customers to install their own services and do their own troubleshooting.

[33] KEITH DAWKINS
VP AND GM, NICKTOONS

A year ago, Dawkins had Kappa Mikey, the first animated sensation his Nickelodeon diginet offshoot could call its own. Mikey’s since been joined by popular originals The Secret Show, Skyland and Martin Mystery. As Nicktoons heads past 50 million households, Dawkins is searching for other ways besides an annual animation festival to develop the next generation of toon creators.

[34] RITA TUZON
EVP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, AND GENERAL COUNSEL, FOX CABLE NETWORKS

Pull out the football metaphors for Tuzon, quarterback of Fox’s legal strategies. They are especially appropriate this second half of 2007. She’s already helped complete a big first down on the linear channel playing field, with the launch of The Big Ten Network despite distribution resistance from some key MSOs. Now it’s on to the next marker: next month’s premiere of Fox Business Channel.

[35] SANDRA MITCHELL
SVP, GM, AFFILIATE SALES, HBO

While HBO searches for its next contribution to culture on the order of The Sopranos, Mitchell’s the executive paying attention to affiliate needs. On the national scene, she crusades for support of HBO’s VOD/SVOD service and assortment of linear digital channels. In Atlanta, Mitchell helps develop industry leaders as a board member of Women Looking Ahead.

[36] PEARLENA IGBOKWE
SVP, ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING, SHOWTIME NETWORKS

As overseer of creative development for Showtime’s original programming, Igbokwe promotes diversity both on- and offscreen. She supervises Showtime’s Black Filmmaker Showcase and supports programming that impresses viewers and critics. A sampling from her career at Showtime: Soul Food, which won two consecutive and NAACP Image Awards for best drama, and Peabody Award-winning Strange Justice.

[37] PRAGASH PILLAI
VP, STRATEGIC ENGINEERING, BRESNAN

Pillai, who was on the team behind Charter’s first-in-the-industry digital simulcast deployment in Long Beach, Calif., in 2004, is bringing the all-digital age to Bresnan. Under his guidance, the operator switched on a 400-mile fiber network five months ago and implemented simulcasts throughout Montana. Next up: more all-digital conversions in Montana and elsewhere, opening the door for advanced service rollouts.

[38] KAMAL DUA
VP AND GENERAL AUDITOR, COMCAST CORP.

Dua leads Comcast’s internal audit group, which is responsible for conducting 200 internal audits a year. He plays a key role in every Comcast acquisition, including, most recently, Comcast’s purchases of Fandango, New England and Bay Area SportsNets and Patriot Media. Additionally, he monitors risk and oversees performance of financial, operational and systems audits and special investigations.

[39] MICHELLE KIM
VP, CHIEF COUNSEL, PROG., TIME WARNER CABLE

Kim is an instrumental part of both the legal and programming areas at Time Warner Cable, and is noted for her ability to see all sides of a debate. Her recent work includes broad agreements with Sinclair Broadcasting and Disney.

[40] DOUG HOLLOWAY
PRESIDENT, CABLE INVESTMENTS, NBC UNIVERSAL CABLE

Where would a NAMIC conference or Diversity Week be without Holloway’s presence on a panel or behind the scenes? That’s just some of the work this NBC Universal vet does to promote diversity in cable, when he’s not helping steer the course of channels NBC holds equity positions in, such as A&E and Shop NBC/ValueVision.

[41] SUSAN JIN DAVIS
VP, CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, COMCAST CORP.

Davis is responsible for planning and overseeing government and regulatory affairs related to voice and online issues for Comcast. She also provides counsel and works as a strategic partner with Comcast’s online and voice services senior management. She’s a key leader in Comcast’s diversity initiatives, and has served on NAMIC’s conference planning committee.

[42] PAYNE BROWN
VP, STRATEGIC INITIATIVES, COMCAST CORP.

Brown is one of Comcast’s leaders in the company’s diversity strategy. He manages strategic relationships with federal, state and local governments and special interest groups and, on the local level, develops relationships with communities as an advisory board member for YMCA Achievers, Philadelphia Outward Bound and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board.

[43] HIMESH BHISE
VP AND GM, HIGH-SPEED INTERNET, CHARTER

Under Bhise, Charter’s high-speed business has been robust: revenue grew 21% YOY in the first quarter, and 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps speeds were launched across the footprint. Bhise has overseen Charter’s relaunched wireless home networking product and redesigned customer portal.

[44] MICHAEL SMITH
SVP, MARKETING AND CREATIVE SERVICES, FOOD NETWORK

Food’s ratings and personality profile keep rising, partly due to the savvy and taste of Smith’s marketing. With such diverse kitchen mavens as Paula Deen, Emeril, Giada and the Iron Chefs, it’s tough to keep campaigns and consumer targets straight. Nevertheless, Smith whets audience appetites while satisfying his own passion for pop culture.

[45] JAMES MAKAWA
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, THE AFRICA CHANNEL

Makawa launched The Africa Channel in 2005, and is growing the 24/7 network. The Channel is dedicated to offering African perspectives here and abroad (it recently inked a carriage deal with Sky in the U.K. and Ireland). He’s also making sure the channel is locally involved; in Atlanta it’s working with schools and Sister Cities International.

[46] KEVIN STEPHENS
SVP, COMMERCIAL & ADVERTISING OPS, SUDDENLINK

Stephens leads the 500-person CAO division, representing more than $150 million in annual revenue. As leader of the ad sales and business services units, he is expected to deliver accelerated growth. Stephens also serves on the CTAM Business Services steering committee and is a member of NAMIC.

[47] GARY McCOLLUM
VP AND REGION MANAGER, COX HAMPTON ROADS, VA.

Previously, McCollum managed Cox’s Northern Virginia operation and received acclaim for turning that system around. Less known is his work in local communities: a licensed minister, he delivers sermons in low-income neighborhoods, and his support of the Boys & Girls Club in Fairfax, Va., evolved into a companywide partnership.

[48] KIMBERLY EDMUNDS
REGION VP, COX KANSAS/ARKANSAS

Edmunds leads the bi-state operation of Kansas and Arkansas by combining her cable industry savvy with her skill at linking resources with community needs. Appointed by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to the state board of youth mentoring, Edmunds has established herself as a mentor and volunteer and has helped shape Cox’s positive profile in Kansas and Arkansas.

[49] LUCINDA MARTINEZ DESIR
VP, MARKET DEVELOPMENT, HBO

HBO Latino and other diversity efforts involving the Time Warner premium channel come under Desir’s bailiwick. One such example: the short film competition HBO conducts annually with the New York International Latino Film Festival. Since 2004, promising film and video directors have submitted shorts with Latino actors or themes each spring for a shot at $15,000 and an HBO presentation.

[50] EGLON SIMONS
EVP, OPERATIONS, RAINBOW ADVERTISING SALES CORP.

Simons, one of the pioneers of cable interconnects, oversees the corporate infrastructure of RASCO, which generates $600 million in annual revenue. Simons negotiates deals with vendors in areas ranging from research to traffic, and continues to be a trailblazer merging technology with advertising. He is currently developing new ways to advertise using VOD.

The Second 50

There are obviously more than just 50 minority executives in cable who are very influential. Here are 50 more, in both operator and programmer categories. They wield positive influence not just within their companies, but in the industry at large and, perhaps more important, in their communities.

OPERATORS

DIANNE EARLEY
VP and GM, Cox Media Interactive

Earley oversaw a reduction in employee churn from 50% in 2005 to 29% in 2006, and helped Cox Media deliver $1 million over revenue budget in 2006.

BARBARA GEE
VP, strategic sales alliances, Comcast Cable

An active member in both NAMIC and WICT, Gee has developed a business partner network that emphasizes the bottom-line value of diversity.

SUSAN GONZALES
VP, Comcast Foundation, and senior director, federal government and external affairs, Comcast Corp.

Gonzales represents Comcast’s policy positions on Capitol Hill and serves as the company’s representative for national diversity advocacy and outreach.

RICK GUERRERO
VP, broadband network engineering and operations, Cox

Guerrero is responsible for Cox’s strategic vendor decisions, plus a budget approaching $90 million (2006-2009) for network improvements, such as switched digital video.

BOB HATTORI
VP, operations, Cox Business Services

Hattori is responsible for developing and deploying national back office applications and processes to support Cox’s commercial organization.

RICH JENNINGS
area VP and GM, Denver, Comcast Cable

Jennings operates the largest cable system area in the Colorado market, and is responsible for Comcast’s full suite of broadband services with full P&L accountability for all aspects of the business.

PHILIP JIMENEZ
assoc. gen. counsel, Cable One

Jimenez is widely influential when it comes to legal matters impacting this top 10 MSO.

JERRY LAMBERT
associate general counsel, Bresnan

At Bresnan, Lambert focuses on the company’s advanced services and is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance at all levels.

FILEMON LOPEZ
SVP, South Florida region, Comcast Cable

Lopez runs Comcast’s business in Miami-Dade, the Florida Keys, Broward County and the Treasure Coast, a region that serves approximately 700,000 customers.

SHERRYL LOVE
VP, supply chain mgmt., Cox

Under Love’s leadership, Cox’s spending with minority suppliers has doubled since 2002.

TONY MALDONADO
VP, acquisition marketing and sciences, Cox

Bringing more subs who are people of color into Cox’s tent is Maldonado’s business. Spanish-language telephony, which he developed at the MSO’s Arizona systems, represents one tactic toward that end.

MANNY MARTINEZ
VP/GM, Nevada KMA, Charter

Martinez has been a leading industry figure for more than 25 years, and was recently named Citizen of the Year for Sparks, Nev., by the Sparks Chamber of Commerce.

CATHERINE MITCHELL
VP, field services, Cox

The rare woman who serves as a field services manager, Mitchell was Cox’s corporate lead in New Orleans after Katrina.

MAURO PANZERA
senior director, multicultural marketing, Comcast Cable

Panzera is Comcast’s expert resource and lead executive when it comes to multicultural marketing.

TONY SPELLER
SVP, Houston, Comcast Cable

Early this year, Comcast sent Speller to Houston to oversee operations following a Time Warner Cable swap.

JACQUI VINES
VP and region manager, Cox Baton Rouge

In Baton Rouge, Vines not only talked about the digital future, she delivered it. Previously, some rural head-ends carried 24 channels; today every customer has access to some 270 channels.

STEVEN A. WHITE
SVP, Mid-South and West Palm regions, Comcast Cable

White is responsible for 4,200 employees serving 1.6 million basic customers across portions of five states.

EMERSON YEARWOOD
director of regulatory affairs, Cable One

Yearwood is the senior official in charge of regulatory matters for Cable One.

PROGRAMMERS

CHELSYE BURROWS
VP, programming publicity, Starz Entertainment Group

PR whiz Burrows is president of NAMIC’s Denver chapter and is a member of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists.

PAUL BUTLER
VP, business affairs and development, Gospel Music Channel

Butler was a key player negotiating the Gospel Music Channel-Black Family Channel agreement, extending GMC’s reach into key markets including New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.

KEITH CLINKSCALES
SVP, content development & enterprises, ESPN

Clinkscales recently was chosen to lead the ESPN content development team, and is directly responsible for the ESPN Publishing businesses.

SEAN COHAN
SVP, international, A&E Television Networks

Cohan is responsible for the management and expansion of AETN’s brands and services outside the U.S.

MICHAEL COOPER
VP, affiliate marketing/ad sales, Fox Cable Networks

Cooper’s top priority: Get operators excited about the just-launched Big Ten Network and the soon-to-launch Fox Business Channel. His other priority is helping operators win local sponsors for both networks.

MO DAVENPORT
SVP and GM, ESPN Radio

Davenport just got a promotion: He now oversees all aspects of ESPN Radio content, as well as distribution, ad sales and marketing initiatives.

STEPHANIE DAVIS
VP, Western region, network distribution & service, Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movie Channel

Davis is responsible for a 17-state territory in the Western region, overseeing distribution negotiations, renewals, channel repositions and affiliate promotions.

RAUL DE QUESADA
assistant GM and SVP, marketing and communications, Fox Sports International

De Quesada has been the creative and tactical engine behind the growth of Fox Sports en Español and Fox Soccer Channel.

CLARA FELIX
VP, consumer research, Showtime Networks

What makes shows like Weeds or The Tudors winning choices with Showtime subscribers? Felix and her team pursue answers, while looking for the next big TV trend impacting Viacom’s pay net.

HAYES FOUNTAIN III
VP, network origination, Turner Broadcasting

Although he oversees a staff of 140, Fountain finds time to serve as a mentor to young associates.

PHIDERIKA FOUST
SVP, business development, Scripps Networks

Foust identifies and pursues new business ventures for Scripps Networks and its television and interactive brands. After one year of service, she was promoted to SVP.

MARK GARNER
VP, distribution & business development, A&E Television Networks

Garner supervises affiliate distribution of — and affiliate revenue opportunities for — A&E’s linear diginets, including The Biography Channel, History Channel en Español History International and Military History Channel.

VICKI HAMILTON
SVP, enterprise performance, TBS

Hamilton makes sure that the infrastructure and processes are in place that will support Turner’s business activity on emerging consumer platforms.

AUGUSTINE SC HONG
chairman and CEO, ImaginAsian Entertainment

ImaginAsian marked its third anniversary last month with a unique changing of the guard: New CEO Augustine Hong replaced brother/founding CEO Michael.

JAMIE HOWARD
president and CEO, Imagine Communications

Howard began his cable career working in subscriber installations, eventually becoming COO of BigBand Networks. Now he leads the "personlized TV" vendor.

LISA HSIA
SVP, new media, Bravo

Hsia finds ways for Bravo’s growing stable of reality hits to prosper on broadband. One minute, it’s all about showcasing Top Chef contenders, another, it’s which D-lister occupies Kathy Griffin’s psyche.

MARK KANG
VP, affiliate relations, The Sportsman Channel

When he’s not working to make The Sportsman Channel available to all dedicated sportsmen and -women, Kang commits time to WICT and NAMIC.

DAPHNE KWON
CEO, Expo TV

Of 30 million cable households with on-demand capability, 25 million can see Kwon’s service, which offers video demonstrations and reviews of products.

KELLI RICHARDSON LAWSON
EVP, sales, strategy & partnership, BET Networks

Lawson helps drive BET’s ratings and viewership levels year after year and engineers BET’s award-winning pro-social initiatives (Rap-It-Up, BET Foundation, Summer Camp for Girls).

BRIGITTE McCRAY
SVP, prog. & sched., Oxygen

McCray is responsible for the short- and long-range strategic planning of Oxygen’s programming, and manages scheduling, network stunts and specials.

DONNA NORTHINGTON
VP, strategic planning, Turner Network Sales

Northington leads the TNS Diversity Council, which identifies and communicates why diversity is important to Turner Broadcasting’s business and employees.

LISA CHOI OWENS
VP, business development, fuse

Owens is responsible for identifying revenue streams and trends and negotiating deal terms at fuse. She also volunteers for the Fresh Air Fund, mentoring inner-city teens.

ALEX PELS
GM, Mun2

Under Pels’ leadership, Mun2 has solidified its role as an innovative and leading provider of creative content for Latino youth.

ROSE CATHERINE PINKNEY
EVP, programming & production, TV One

Her boss Johnathan Rodgers puts it best: Pinkney leverages her relationships with black Hollywood to bring TV One award-winning producers at prices a 3-year-old cable network can afford.

ALICIN REIDY-WILLIAMSON
SVP, corporate responsibility and public affairs, MTV Networks; chair, NAMIC board of directors

MTV’s assortment of public service initiatives, covering topics from AIDS/HIV to young voter registration, develop under Williamson’s purview. New NAMIC projects she’s overseeing include the Diversity Week writer’s workshop.

MIKE ROGGERO
CFO, Sí TV

Roggero is responsible for all of the network’s financial operations, and has recently expanded his oversight to include legal, human resources, broadcast operations and IT departments.

NIGEL SONARIWO
VP, marketing, HSN

The 12-year-industry veteran of the cable operator and programming sides recently joined HSN, and was charged with promoting the brand to cable affiliates.

KENO THOMAS
SVP, sales, Starz Entertainment

Thomas has senior responsibility for key Starz accounts and is tasked with crafting affiliate deals that will grow Starz revenue and units.

TANYA VAN COURT
VP, preschool and parents online, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group

Broadband content developer Van Court moved from ESPN to Nick, taking on a bigger playing field that includes virtual worlds, where avatars roam and kids use them to create play environments.

SANDRA WEBER
VP, multicultural market development, Turner Entertainment Group

Weber is responsible for identifying new marketing opportunities within the Turner Entertainment portfolio and for consulting with network original programming staffs on content diversity.

DENMARK WEST
president, digital media group, BET Networks

West’s job: Exploit every digital opportunity BET can pursue, whether that opportunity is Internet video and audio, high-definition content or additional linear digital channels.

KAREN WISHART
EVP & chief legal officer, TV One

Wishart recently received a Next Generation Leader Award from NAMIC and a Touchstones of Leadership Award from the D.C./Baltimore WICT chapter. 

Also Influential: The Defenders of Diversity

Any salute to cable’s most influential minorities should include a tribute to those minority executives leading cable’s human resources departments, whose efforts are creating an environment for inclusiveness and achievement. As recruiters and developers of talent, their influence is inestimable.

ROSALIND CLAY CARTER
SVP, human resources, A&E Television Networks

Carter has been in the forefront AETN’s diverse workplace; over the last 11 years she has shepherded an increase in diversity by more than 69%. Beyond her company, she has served as a leader for CTHRA and participates in NAMIC’s mentoring programs. Carter also volunteers for Young Audiences New York, which advances the artistic development of public school students.

LISA CHANG
SVP, human resources, The Weather Channel Companies

Chang is a leader in work/life initiatives, bringing recognition to Weather. CableWorld, for one, honored the company as one of its Top 10 Places to Work last year. Chang broke new ground at Weather recently by creating an outreach committee that extends executive participation in professional organizations. Her ties to CTHRA, the Emma Bowen Foundation and WICT are strong.

MARSHA CONAWAY
VP, human resources, Midwest region, Time Warner Cable

Conaway was instrumental in helping to facilitate a smooth transition for former Adelphia employees, and has helped bring a greater sense of organization to her region. She also served as one of the planning committee co-chairs for this year’s NAMIC conference.

MAE DOUGLAS
SVP and chief people officer, Cox

Douglas was a key figure behind the creation of Cox’s National Talent and Strategy program, which recruits broadband executives, and initiated and chairs the company’s diversity council. Her team also develops training programs. Douglas is everywhere: She’s on NAMIC’s board, volunteers for WICT and Cable Positive and provides counsel for minority members of the industry.

RAYMOND GUTIERREZ
EVP, human resources and administration, Showtime Networks

Gutierrez actively promotes diversity within Showtime Networks, and his commitment to equal rights for minorities in the cable television industry beyond his company is equally unyielding: He serves as the first vice chair for Cable Positive and sits on the board of directors for NAMIC and CTHRA.

GENE HAWKINS
SVP, human resources, Hallmark Channel

Focused on recruiting and retaining diverse employees, Hawkins is developing Hallmark’s first diversity initiative. As head of HR, Hawkins’ efforts and persistence can be felt across Hallmark’s footprint.

MARGARET KING HARRIS
VP, human resources, Carolinas region, Time Warner Cable

It’s said within her company that Margaret King Harris sets the standards that all others follow. A leader trusted by colleagues and superiors alike, she’s not afraid to make tough decisions. She is very involved with NAMIC and served as a planning committee co-chair for this year’s conference.

CHARISSE R. LILLIE
VP, human resources, Comcast Corp.; and SVP, human resources, Comcast Cable

Lillie, Comcast’s most senior minority executive, has a pretty clear goal: creating a workforce that reflects the communities Comcast serves. Trained as a labor and employment lawyer, Lillie is responsible for the compensation, training and benefits for 90,000 Comcast employees. She’s also been integral in expanding Comcast’s partnerships with black colleges and universities, and is the recipient of the 2007 Philadelphia Magazine Trailblazer Award.

CHRIS POWELL
EVP, human resources, Scripps Networks

Powell has been developing Scripps’ newest diversity program, geared to achieve measurable progress in the areas of workforce, community, suppliers, audiences and content. He will be a guest speaker at this year’s NAMIC conference. Powell also supports diversity initiatives and events in the Knoxville community.

MARVA SMALLS
EVP, public affairs, and chief of staff, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group; and EVP, global inclusion strategy, MTV Networks

A wearer of many hats, Smalls works with the leadership of her company’s brands to champion diversity. As chief of staff, she coordinates financial resources and personnel for New York, Los Angeles and international offices, and oversees meetings of the company’s executive management team. She also oversees pro-social and corporate responsibility initiatives, and sits on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

DEBBIE SMITH
VP, diversity, Discovery Communications

After leading the Walter Kaitz Foundation, Smith became Discovery’s first senior manager dedicated to diversity in April 2006. She oversees Discovery Points of View, which ensures that multiple viewpoints within Discovery are heard, has developed diversity awareness workshops and is establishing a supplier diversity initiative. Smith continues to be an active member of NAMIC and the Emma Bowen Foundation.

LORETTA WALKER
SVP, human resources, TBS

In addition to serving as the top human resources executive for Turner’s entertainment networks, Walker oversees recruiting and internal and external diversity outreach efforts. Recently she helped lead the integration of Court TV into the Turner Broadcasting portfolio.

Also Influential: Organizations and Others

PARTHAVI DAS
SVP, strategy & initiatives, WICT

Das is the driving force behind many of WICT’s programs, including the WICT Accolades and the PAR Initiative. She also oversees the development of WICT’s educational programs.

KATHY JOHNSON
president, NAMIC

Under Johnson, NAMIC continues to be a force behind the industry’s shift toward multi-ethnic diversity through its educational and mentoring initiatives. Her goal: the adoption of diversity as a business imperative.

BENITA FITZGERALD MOSLEY
president and CEO, WICT

This year Mosley launched the WICT Leadership Conference, and also led WICT to record membership, breaking the 6,000 member mark for the first time in the organization’s history.

CYNTHIA PERKINS-ROBERTS
VP, diversity sales & business development, CAB

Perkins-Roberts created CAB’s diversity initiative in 2000. Since then she has grown the program to include a website, training and presentations that highlight cable’s multicultural networks.

LORETTA POLK
general counsel, NCTA

Polk’s diversity leadership enables NCTA to continue to strengthen its relationship with the FCC. She is also a board of trustee for the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

DAVID M. PORTER JR., PH.D.
executive director, Walter Kaitz Foundation

Porter devotes his time to generating sponsorship dollars from cable companies to provide grants for the industry’s key diversity nonprofit organizations. He has also consulted with Fortune 500 companies on diversity-related issues.

WANDA E. TOWNSEND
VP, government relations, NCTA

Townsend advances cable’s public policy agenda with congressional and civic minority groups, highlighting cable’s diversity in hiring and supply vendor outreach.

BARBARA O. YORK
SVP, industry affairs, NCTA

York, whose primary responsibility at NCTA is running cable’s annual convention, will receive one of the industry’s greatest honors this year: induction in the Cable Hall of Fame at the Cable Center.

ADRIANA WATERSTON
VP, marketing and business development, Horowitz Associates

A Latina born and raised in Puerto Rico, Waterston has used her position at Horowitz to make the case that multicultural consumers are some of cable’s best customers.

The Daily

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