Even as cable continues to blaze multicultural trails, panelists at a Fri’s NAMIC luncheon at Discovery Comm’s MD campus acknowledged that much work remains left to do—beginning at the corporate level. "The current business imperative is to make diversity part of the corporate fabric," said Fox Ent’s vp, emerging markets Rick Ramirez. Diversity officers shouldn’t occupy a remote wing, he said, but integrate with execs at all levels to reinforce diversity as a corporate mission. Also important is a payroll that represents target markets, said Allan Navarrete, vp, affiliate distribution for Discovery’s US Hispanic nets. "The same percentage of customer ethnicity should be represented as executives," he said. Ramirez added that ethnic employees shouldn’t fear speaking up in meetings. Comcast sr dir, multicultural marketing Mauro Panzera said it’s equally vital to view each market on a regional basis. Cable can’t apply broad, corporate-wide diversity initiatives everywhere, he said, because the effectiveness of such initiatives remains unproven. "Multicultural marketing is still a leap of faith," Panzera said. Discovery vp, diversity and HR services Debbie Smith said much headway won’t occur until today’s teens are sitting in corner offices. "It will be the generations below us that will force the hands of advertisers," said Smith. "The 13-14-15-year-old generation is color blind."

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