Growing up, I loved a soap opera about vampires called Dark Shadows. The story lines were fresh each day, so if you missed a few episodes you’d missed a lot. Today, people joke that it’s possible to miss years of soaps, turn them on again and within minutes feel that nothing has changed since the last time you viewed them.
Other than being a programming genre, you may wonder how soap operas relate to our industry or the state of women in it. In my opinion soaps are analogous to what I perceive after a months-long absence from cable. Returning to the industry feels a lot like watching a modern soap after an absence—not much has changed.
There are the same players, maybe a few new partners, but the same discussions of the same issues. The perception that not much has changed confirms the ongoing importance of Women in Cable & Telecommunications.
WICT began as a partnership between women and cable industry companies to establish career progression options for their female employees. Early programs focused on broad issues of cable education, creating a network of women in the industry and exposing women and mostly male executive decision makers to each other. As those programs, training and exposure yielded fruit, women began earning and filling senior, executive and C-level roles.
Today, women’s paths to success occur in as many ways as there are people. WICT responded to the industry’s evolution by refining some programs and eliminating others that no longer apply.
WICT encourages individuals and companies to define and tailor leadership and development programs. The Betsy Magness Leadership Institute expanded to include 50 rather than 25 women per year. More than counting stats and trends, WICT’s PAR Survey helps companies define and effectively implement programs that pertain to their unique corporate P (for Pay equity), A (Advancement opportunities) and R (Resources for work/life), incorporating best practices that work for their cultures.
WICT local chapters bring national industry case study programs and opportunities for mentoring with local executives to individual members—meeting them where they are in their careers. The midlevel manager’s course and customized leadership training for corporations is another way that WICT provides relevant tools for evolving industry needs.
Only when we can tune out for months and return to find markedly more women in all functions and in more roles at the highest levels of leadership in our industry will I believe that we have achieved the goal of being a Dark Shadows soap opera in a Peyton Place world. Ms. Scott is a partner at CarterBaldwin Executive Search Services and a WICT board member. She was formerly an SVP at The Weather Channel.
Check out the rest of CableWorld’s 2006 Most Powerful Women issue – click here.