The buzz in the industry seems to be that there are too many associations. No distinction is made for the different types of organizations, however. Groups serving specific disciplines like CTPAA, CTAM and CTHRA are viewed just like education-oriented groups such as Cable Positive and Cable in the Classroom, and they are treated the same as the diversity organizations WICT, NAMIC, Kaitz and the Emma Bowen Foundation. Each of these organizations grew out of a need felt by the professionals who make up our industry and are governed by these professionals and industry leaders. These groups work to support the industry by providing the tools necessary to succeed in the competitive business environment that exists in cable. Associations like CTAM, CTPAA and CTHRA help our employees hone their craft and learn new and innovative ways of getting the job done. Cable in the Classroom and Cable Positive allow us to use the talents and technologies of the industry to make the world we live in a better place. The diversity associations do both; they provide cable’s employees with the leadership skills and development tools necessary to reach their potential and demonstrate the importance of diversity both in the workplace and the world. Each group is providing cable with a different tool. But the tools are worthless unless we put them to use; that new power saw isn’t going to renovate your kitchen by itself. Just as there is more than one home renovation show on cable, there is more than one cable association offering more than one tool to get the job done. These organizations provide the industry with the tools it needs to achieve diversity – through education, leadership development, research and advocacy. Competition keeps the industry on its toes, and it forces the organizations that support the industry to constantly reevaluate their offerings and hone the services they provide. The cable associations may be competing for your eyes, ears, dollars and time, but this is nothing compared to the competition the industry faces to retain and attract the best and brightest employees. If our industry doesn’t diversify, our competitors will be happy to snatch away our best talent with the promise of diversity and advancement. Once our industry has greater diversity from the boardroom to the call center, not only will our products better reflect the diverse needs of our diverse consumers, but the programming that we produce and run will be a more accurate depiction of the consumers who pay for our services. Leadership teams that leverage diversity are likely to be creating effective policies, programs and systems, as well as a work culture, that maximize a company’s assets and creates new ones, a Catalyst study says. The study also found that companies with the highest representation of women on their senior management teams had a 35 percent higher return on equity and a 34 percent higher total return on shareholders than companies with the lowest representation of senior women. Cable’s associations are providing the tools to achieve this diversity and are working together to ensure that the industry has what it needs. We work together through formal channels like the NCTA Diversity Committee and informal partnerships like the alliance between WICT, Cable Positive and the NY WICT Chapter that brought cable its first Cable Spring Break Week last March. The need for cable’s diversity organizations is stronger than ever. Until we’re able to look around the industry and see a diverse workforce at all levels, these groups will be advocating change and providing support. It is easy to criticize programs and organizations that we don’t fully utilize or understand, but by putting these groups and their programs to work for the industry, we’ll remain more competitive and retain our valued employees.

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