Cable operators and programmers can expect to see more of Manish Jha in the next 12 months. As the ESPN executive wraps up his two-year term as NAMIC’s president, he plans to visit supporters and detractors to figure out how NAMIC can become more of a resource for the industry. As he’s learned, 25 years of existence doesn’t guarantee a 26th if you can’t prove an organization’s value. CableWORLD: What grade would you give the cable industry for its diversity efforts? Manish Jha: It’s probably a B. The industry hasn’t made as much progress as many of us would like to see, particularly among Latinos and even among African-Americans. We’ve made progress on the programming network side. They have realized there’s a business opportunity. An increasing number of channels are targeting [viewers in] specific communities of color. CW: So programmers are ahead of operators? Jha: Programmers tend to have smaller employee bases than the operators. It takes a little longer for operators to respond and to be cognizant of the market opportunities. Quite frankly, the satellite guys have done a good job of targeting ethnic minorities [with programming]. CW: People complain about the number of diversity organizations they are asked to support—NAMIC, Kaitz, T. Howard, Emma Bowen. Why should they support all of them? Jha: They all have different missions. Kaitz has evolved into a fund-raising organization that supports entities that are getting programs into place and doing a lot of the heavy lifting. T. Howard is focused much more on the satellite industry. Other programs, like the Emma Bowen Foundation, prepare the pipeline for people of color that come into the industry. But we fill distinct roles. It’s important for companies that support all of us to continue to support all of us. CW: Some complain of double dipping when it comes to supporting diversity organizations. For instance, Kaitz gives grants to NAMIC. Jha: If you look at the amount of money that people spend supporting Kaitz and NAMIC combined, relative to the benefits we provide, it’s a terrific value. Compare NAMIC’s annual budget to other industry organizations. Look at the important work NAMIC is doing to help the industry develop people of color and help companies understand the market opportunity associated with targeting products and services to an increasingly multi-ethnic America. CW: What has NAMIC done with its Kaitz grant? Jha: Our plan was to hire a little more than half a dozen people. We have filled all but one position. That goes a long way toward making NAMIC an even more effective resource. Because of our increased staffing, we’ve introduced a number of initiatives. We’ve taken the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) on the road. Thanks to resources dedicated to our conference group, we have cut the costs we pay to third parties. We are doing a much better job of servicing our members through a membership person that we brought on board. CW: One more gripe. Some complain that organizations like NAMIC are little more than networking groups. Jha: I implore anybody who feels that way to take a look at our track record. NAMIC is a resource that should be utilized by all people—not just people of color—to become more effective and more profitable. We support our members by giving them opportunities to connect with each other, get best practices, find mentors and go to conferences to increase their skills. But first and foremost, our goal is to be the resource within the industry for multi-ethnic diversity. CW: What has been NAMIC’s biggest success in the past 25 years? Jha: The greatest success has really been the ELDP, which we’ve run in conjunction with UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. It continues our mission of educating the best of people of color in the industry to help them get to even higher levels. CW: What are you hoping to accomplish as you wrap up your presidency? Jha: My goal is to reach out even further within the industry to its leaders and get their advice and support on how NAMIC can be more effective. We have a terrific story to tell, and we are in the process of gearing up and telling that story.