WICT chief Benita Fitzgerald Mosley tells Simon Applebaum how cable’s becoming more diverse as competition has made a better, smarter workforce mandatory.

CableWorld: What’s been the biggest development for cable’s diversity effort during the past 12 months?

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, president & CEO, Women in Cable & Telecommunications: Companies are becoming much more competitive across the board. With all the product lines they have, they understand that they need great, smart people managing their cable networks, systems and operations. They understand that getting the best talent is the key, and diversifying that talent is a major opportunity. [Time Warner Cable CEO] Glenn Britt mentioned to me recently that his company is doing a huge diversity push, particularly in technology. They’re going beyond the usual suspects in cable, recruiting more women and minorities.

CW: This is an across-the-industry effort?

Mosley: Definitely. Because these companies must remain competitive. You need the best talent to put forward the best products and services against the competition. More operators are taking the same philosophy [as Time Warner Cable] in growing the business.

CW: How is your initiative to get more women to consider tech careers in cable, “Tech It Out,” doing?

Mosley: It’s achieving the initial goal, which is to have the industry aware there are far too few women in these important tech roles. Companies need smart people to roll out technologies like VOD and telephony and have them work effectively.

What we’re finding is that there are all kinds of inside and outside organizations with a similar mission or goal. They’ve approached us to piggyback our campaign with their campaign. We’re looking at some partnerships. Also, we’re rolling out “Ambassadors” later this month, where we have women in cable technology mentoring careers of other women in this sector, or women who want to be in this sector.

CW: Your New York chapter holds a luncheon next week, during Diversity Week. Has WICT considered doing something else for the week?

Mosley: No. We’re sensitive to the fact there are so many events going on during Diversity Week, and the N.Y. luncheon is pretty successful year after year, so we support that as much as we can.

CW: Any message for the industry from new summer hits like Saving Grace, Damages and Army Wives, all featuring women?

Mosley: People figured out from The Closer as cable’s top series that female protagonists are successful. They saw it from Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy working on broadcast. Cable networks aren’t stupid. If female protagonists work elsewhere, they’ll work for cable channels as well.

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