It may have been a WICT NY lunch Wed, but it was NAMIC’s diversity study that set off the fireworks. After decrying cable’s results in the study, outspoken Bravo pres Lauren Zalaznick described her fantasy for achieving more diversity: The large number of "legacy" execs would contract "a horrible cable retirement disease… Challenge yourself with whom you would replace them with in that plague," she declared (she later added that some vets, such as fellow panelist Italia Commisso Weinand of Mediacom, would have disease immunity). She said everyone shares responsibility for spreading the diversity message. "Be the white guy in the room that brings it up," challenged Zalaznick. The Bravo chief also took on a few of her fellow lunch panelists. When moderator Rob Stoddard of NCTA asked why more women don’t enter the tech field, Advance/Newhouse evp, strategy and dev Nomi Bergman blamed a difficult work-life balance. Countered Zalaznick: "I think it’s crazy to sit in a room full of women and reinforce the negative stereotype of work-life balance." Bergman said she didn’t mean to comment negatively, adding, "you have to be willing to jump in and make it work." SOAPnet evp, gm Deborah Blackwell wondered aloud if some women may feel they don’t have an affinity for things technical (even throwing in the caveat that she didn’t want to get into trouble for gender stereotyping). Zalaznick noted that the heads of her Website and interactive wireless business are female and said women need to step up with tech ideas and create businesses. She added that innovations like MySpace, YouTube and Google are typically created by men and force women to play catch-up. Panelists agreed, however, that diversity goals must come from the top down. "I can influence by example," said Commisso Weinand, Mediacom’s svp of programming and HR, noting that minorities make up 60% of her corporate staff. — Kudos to Stoddard for taking the luncheon a little off it’s future technology course to discuss NAMIC’s findings.

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