When it comes to diversity in the workplace, the cable industry these days may be less preoccupied with skin color than the color of money. “From a sales position, they see green,” said Comcast vp, strategic sales alliances Barbara Gee. In other words, cable operators and programmers are starting to understand that “if they want to see green, they better see brown,” said Emilio Mata, svp, creative services at Starz. Panelists said that being “the only one in the room”—while sometimes frustrating—can also be an advantage: “You have to be aggressive,” said Kenneth Gordon, legal counsel at ESPN. “You have to go in there and take it. Sometimes people underestimate you.” Still, panelists spoke of subtle annoyances. Gordon said he has endured insensitive comments while on the phone with people who didn’t know he was African-American. TNT vp, programming Billy Hall noted that in a previous job he started wearing a tie because clients kept assuming he was someone’s assistant when he didn’t. Rahda Subramanyam, Nickelodeon’s vp, Nick Digital Networks, lauded her own company’s diversity efforts but said non-white employees everywhere face the same reality. “You have to be better at your job than everybody else,” she said. — NAMIC’s 21st annual conference drew a record 700+ attendees. Honorary co-chair/Comcast evp David Cohen noted that America will have a minority majority in the coming years, and that it’s critical for companies to diversify their workforce.

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