As CTPAA begins today in DC, it’s appropriate to doff our caps to Kim Martin, who’s made public affairs a priority just months into her tenure as gm of WE. To be launched tomorrow at CTPAA, ‘WE Empowers Women’ is WE’s 1st national public affairs initiative, and will be a big part of the network’s identity. The campaign is committed to "providing mentoring, education, financial assistance and access to health care and health care programs for women," Martin says. It will do that by supporting charitable groups "whose values are in line with what WE is all about." The first is Girls Inc (formerly Girls Clubs), which encourages girls 6-18 to be "strong, smart and bold" through after-school classes at 80 mostly urban chapters. Martin expects WE will select 2-3 more groups to support by year’s end, with a cancer org a possibility. "The organizations that we will work with will be different from those that other women’s networks are working with," she says. WE’s might run Girls Inc PSAs, provide financial support, and "we’re talking to our cable partners about rolling out Girls Inc programs across the country." Girls Inc classes foster an atmosphere where girls can have fun, but feel safe taking risks and making mistakes, says Girls Inc’s Alex Kopelman. While Girls Inc classes are open to all, 75% of those served are girls of color, from HHs with incomes of $25K or less, he says. — WE’s public affairs initiative will also be felt on-screen, with a new, green color scheme and 60-sec editorials next month featuring female leaders/celebs addressing issues important to women. The spots will be refreshed weekly. WE promises a "strong" ad campaign in cable trades (amen!) and is sponsoring CTPAA and WICT events. — WE, The People: US Disabled Ski Team champ Sandy Dukat will be the spokesperson for WE Empowers Women. — WICT chief Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Comcast svp Suzanne Keenan and Charter’s Dave Anderson are, (sorry), charter members of the WE Empowers Women advisory board. Martin says the group will probably grow to 4-6 members. (And how about telco participation, from Verizon, for example? "I don’t know anybody at Verizon," Martin says. "I reached out to people I know" in cable to "create a board that reflects the industry we work in.")

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