Cable vet Stacia Armstrong (pictured, top right) brings 20 years of perspective to discussions of diversity. While the Hallmark Channel/Hallmark Movie Channel regional VP, network distribution and service, is bullish on cable’s progress, there’s room to improve, perhaps by recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, she says. As we head into Diversity Week, assess cable’s diversity. It’s hard for me to do that from a nationwide standpoint. Certainly there’ll always be room for improvement, and there’s a catch-up factor. But the industry’s improved because of the emphasis it’s put on diversity. It’s certainly better than when I joined more than 20 years ago. Give a grade to minority advancement in cable. That’s a tough one—I don’t know if I can do that accurately. What I would say is the industry is doing better. It’s evolved, but it could do better. So, if you could advise NCTA chief Kyle McSlarrow on diversity, what would you say? Stay focused. And I’d tell him the NCTA should continue to support the organizations that foster and educate about diversity. All the organizations are doing a good job, but there’s room for more and programs like NAMIC’s ELDP, Betsy Magness, Kaitz, etc., which can always use more funding. I’d give our industry a better grade for having organizations focused on that issue. Is cable missing any diversity opportunities? I can only speak from personal experience, but for African-Americans, for example, Fortune 500 companies recruit at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We should tap into those resources, be there at recruitment days, both operators and programmers. I don’t know that we are doing enough on that. One of the things you’re known for is mentoring. Perhaps your best mentoring job was with your kids. Yes, my daughter is VP of marketing for Bright House Networks, Bakersfield, Calif. My son is SVP and general manager for BET International in New York. I’m a very proud parent. I know you are. Let’s talk about that. Is balancing work and home life still the toughest hurdle for women in cable? Yes. Also, there’s something I’ve struggled with my entire career—every job I’ve had in this industry has required me to travel. Here at The Hallmark Channel I have a 17-state region, that’s about half the land mass of the country. Fortunately, I don’t have children at home anymore. But when I was with HBO and ATC I had children at home. My husband was very supportive and we made it work. We had a plan for every phase of my career. What advice do you give young women joining the industry? Have a mentor, or several. As you move ahead in your career you’ll need advice or someone to be a sounding board. My second piece of advice is to investigate the organizations that can broaden your network. Our industry is really great because it has so many organizations that support men, women and minorities. You’ll be getting a LEA Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 19 from WICT Southern California. What will you feel like that night? I’m already feeling it. I feel humbled. The three words that keep coming up are humbled, awesome and exciting. It reminds me that I’ve been around for a long time in this industry, seen a lot of change and had a lot of fun at some great companies. What do you want to achieve at Hallmark? We have goals and objectives, and I want to be around to see them through. We’ve had a stellar five-year rebranding and growth at the channel, and now with Hallmark Movie Channel I just have more work to do, but I see that just as part of the fulfillment of my career. But I’d also like to continue to be a mentor—that’s very important to me. And I want to continue to be involved with NAMIC, WICT and the Emma Bowen Foundation.

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