It was something akin to poetic justice that the 1st Kaitz dinner under cable’s new NCTA-led organizational arrangement was a well-orchestrated tribute to Kaitz’s namesake, its founders, the retiring chief of the Walter Kaitz Foundation Spencer Kaitz, NAMIC, WICT and The Emma L. Bowen Foundation. On a beautiful, if humid evening in NY, the annual fundraiser hosted 1400 people, raised $1.4mln for the Foundation and moved along expeditiously, completing its program in a rapid 40 minutes. A film tribute to cable’s diversity orgs belied the tensions simmering beneath the surface for months, with the buzz being that at least one of the groups’ future is in doubt. Even Spencer Kaitz praised the new structure as "simple, elegant and it makes sense." But he wasn’t reticent about presenting cable’s bifurcated diversity picture. He acknowledged important diversity gains, but noted cable has yet to travel "the last mile." There are not enough executive-level jobs for people of color, particularly Hispanics; with its weak record in hiring and growing Hispanic execs, it’s not a coincidence cable is far behind DBS in Hispanic customers, he said. He decried gay and lesbian execs having to meet privately, fearing their sexual orientation could hinder their careers. "California is our future," he said, noting 80% of consumers there are women, people of color, gays and lesbians. "Clearly, we’re not in Kansas anymore..,it’s our destiny to be the world’s most diverse nation." Population trends have left cable behind, yet the industry has "unparalleled potential" to be a "marketing powerhouse" to people of color, women, gays/lesbians, he said. The choice is and has been cable’s to make, he said; unfortunately, "complacency is our enemy." Indeed a theme throughout the night was the importance of managers to make a personal commitment to diversity. "If we don’t join the 21st century, our competitors will," Kaitz said. "Our new customers are all around us; find them, become them, grow with them." — Kaitz Kibbitz: We liked the Chuck Klein touches last night, including the jazz trio during dinner, the flower arrangements (to emphasize diversity, each table had a distinct floral treatment) and the extra room between tables. — Great way for Jenny Alonzo to cap her NAMIC tenure, as the 2-day confab drew some 535 attendees, up from roughly 460 last year. — We’d be remiss if we didn’t say how proud we were that our founder Paul Maxwell was a Kaitz Foundation founder. — Post-dinner chatter was favorable for new Kaitz Foundation head Debbie Smith. — Showtime’s Matt Blank got the night’s biggest laugh, describing Spencer Kaitz thus: "Never have so many raised so much money in honor of someone who’s never signed an affiliate agreement."

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