Editor’s Note: In recognition and celebration of the diversity within the cable industry, we will be highlighting some of the 2012 CableFAX Most Influential Minorities and their responses to a series of questions on mentorship, job skills and diversity. For the CableFAX Diversity issue in its entirety go here.



Charisse Lillie
VP, Community Investment, Comcast Corp.
President, the Comcast Foundation

Tell us at least one true story of a mentor (or mentors) who gave you advice you still use to this day.

 
All of my mentors out of law school and in my various jobs have stressed the importance of intense advance preparation and the importance of treating all people in your organization with the same amount of deference and humanity—from the CEO to the person that empties your trash basket. This advice has taken me a long way in my career.
 
What’s the skill that has helped you the most in your career—and what’s the next skill you want to master?
 
The skill that has helped me the most has been the ability to analyze, strategize and articulate. Mentees often ask me if I recommend they seek a law degree or an MBA. I generally recommend either or both. For me, my legal training has been an asset to my work in the business world. In terms of new skills, there is not a specific new skill I want to master. But I do consider myself a lifelong learner. I never want to stop being a student.
 
What advice do you have for young people trying to break into the cable industry?
 
Take as many internship opportunities in their areas of interest as they can find, and network. Good grades are a must, but they must establish contacts in the cable industry in order to break into the business.
 
In your opinion, how is cable doing on diversity? Where do you want to see improvement?
 
The business focus on diversity in cable has increased substantially in the last five years. Focus is also from the top, and that will lead to results in the long run. I would like to see improvement in the hiring and retention of diverse employees at all levels of cable companies and more diversity on the boards of cable companies. Supportive boards prodding executives who are focused on diversity and inclusion efforts will result in faster progress.
 
Diversity is important to cable’s bottom line because…
 
A diverse workforce led by diverse and inclusive leaders is going to result in more innovation, better products, and greater customer growth and satisfaction.

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