First, the objective data: Nomi Bergman began her technical career in 1985 as a computer programmer consultant with Arthur Andersen Consulting and Advance Publications System Group. She then joined Time Warner Cable (TWC) where she consolidated call centers and systems and helped lead the launch of Road Runner high-speed Internet services. As the current executive vice president of strategy and development for Advance/Newhouse Communications (A/N), she guides the evolution and development of the company’s video and data services. She resides in Fayetteville, New York, with her husband Neal and three daughters, Becca, Dori and Allison. Now, the subjective truth: Nomi Bergman has a unique combination of strategic vision and operational depth. She is a dedicated and widely respected executive who emphatically places family first, and a manager who values the collaborative process and takes her greatest pride in contributing to the success of her co-workers and employees. Her career thus far is an example of balance—the professional and the personal, the innovative dreamer and the roll-up-your-sleeves worker. What is most exemplary, however, is not that she achieves this balance, but that she does so—according to her past and present colleagues—with compassion, grace and modesty. Her acceptance of new challenges, tenacious work ethic and dedication to building diversity makes her a model for all women—and men—in technology. A cable background Nomi always has felt at home in the cable industry. During high school and college, she had many summer internships at NewChannels Communications (a Newhouse-owned cable company). Those summers saw her learning the cable business from the ground up, working in the call center, manning the front counter and going into the field to complete nonpay disconnects. After receiving her B.A. in economics and statistics at the University of Rochester, she accepted a job with Arthur Andersen as programmer consultant. Shortly thereafter, she joined Advance Publications System Group, primarily supporting the needs of cable clients. During this time, the group was asked to determine all of the requirements for a new billing platform, a large and complex initiative. Once the requirements were defined, Nomi jumped at the opportunity to oversee the conversion process. She really felt strongly about taking on this leadership role, saying, "As a consultant, you always hunger to see things through to completion, and this was my opportunity." The conversion was not an easy assignment. In fact, it was quite a grueling task, requiring long hours with many days away from home. However, all of this hard work had a silver lining. Nomi increased her knowledge of cable operations and got to know the personnel in each of the client systems quite well. "You shouldn’t shy away from the hard jobs," she said. "Those jobs produce the best learning and the greatest sense of accomplishment." The experience she gained, as well as her growing reputation as a technical expert, helped her with the next cable industry challenge. Transition to cable After working on more than 40 billing conversions in two years as a consultant, Nomi moved "to the other side of the table" in 1994, as director of customer care and information technology for Time Warner Cable’s Charlotte system. Once there, she led a call-center consolidation, one of the first within the cable industry. Under her leadership, the call-center consolidation team tackled interconnecting the different phone systems, establishing local dialing numbers for customers and even creating a disaster recovery plan with complete overflow capabilities. During the transition, Nomi made the employees her number-one priority. "We wanted this to be a very employee-centric consolidation," she said. "We did everything we could to ensure our employees were comfortable with the transition. We even drove from the old location to the new location [to figure out how much further employees had to drive], and adjusted benefits to compensate for increased mileage." Such gestures went a long way towards making the project successful. She also believed in maintaining a local, decentralized, autonomous organization and tried to strike a balance between standardization of procedures and maintaining local innovation and creativity even after the consolidation. In her next role as the director of business operations, she drew on the call-center consolidation experience as she led the consolidation of the Charlotte TWC and A/N cable systems. "With this transition," she said, "we were not only consolidating functions, but also people and cultures, which added an additional level of complexity." After a successful close to the consolidation, Nomi was promoted to vice president and general manager of high-speed data operations for the TWC Charlotte system. "This was a natural transition for me because I always particularly enjoyed working with computers and technology," she said, "and I was extremely excited about the new role since I was able to build my new team from the ground up." She lost no time in building that team, drawing on her professional beliefs. "You must be bold enough to hire people who will disagree with you," she said. "This ensures that you have diversity of thought among your team and, hopefully, with such diverse opinions you achieve the best business result." Nomi and her team met and overcame the challenge of helping launch high-speed data services, a formidable task that strengthened their mutual respect. It was with great regret that her team bid her adieu when she moved on to Advance/Newhouse Communications in 2002. "She possesses every trait you would like to see in an employer and mentor," said Bob Wallace, call-center manager for TWC Charlotte, and former direct report to Nomi. "I will always be thankful to her for taking a chance and allowing me the opportunity to get my foot in the door." New challenges at Advance Newhouse In her current position, Nomi oversees a dynamic team that sets the company direction in the key areas of broadband data services, advanced technologies and strategic initiatives. Back in 2002, A/N had no corporate staff. Now, thanks to her efforts and eye for talent, A/N has a team that rivals any in the industry. In her new job, "it is important to take very complex ideas and present them as simple concepts that everyone can understand," said Nomi. "This helps us push the business forward with everyone on board." "Nomi has a special gift," said Ann Carlsen, founder and CEO of Carlsen Resources. "[She has] an ability to put complicated technical issues in a business context. This allows her to navigate gracefully from strategy to tactical implementation of new product launches that make appropriate business sense." She also is committed to the ongoing development of cable standards for our industry. Through her individual and corporate support of CableLabs and SCTE, she is one of the key technologists leading our industry towards a future based on open and interoperable standards—standards that will allow us to compete more effectively and provide even more value to our customers. Giving back Nomi has been a member of Women In Cable & Telecommunications since 1992 and currently serves on the National WICT Inc. board. She is a graduate of the first Betsy Magness Leadership Institute (BMLI) class and is an avid supporter of the program and its goals. In addition to her involvement with WICT, she also is an active member of SCTE and strongly supports NCTA, CableLabs and CTAM, participating in numerous initiatives. "She does not complain about being the lone woman [in a professional situation]," said Carlsen. "She does something about it by encouraging other women to join in." Recently, Nomi has given back by urging the institution of a company-wide mentoring program at Advance Newhouse. She always has been an advocate for mentoring, doing so informally throughout her career. "I obtain satisfaction from being able to give back and help other people achieve goals," she said. "I really try to see the potential in people, not just where they happen to be today." While she juggles many responsibilities at work, she always finds time to dedicate to community and volunteer activities. Nomi recently moved to New York from Charlotte, N.C., where she was on the board of Leadership Charlotte, an organization dedicated to developing and enhancing volunteer community leadership. In Charlotte, she served on the board of trustees for her daughter’s school, and she completed volunteer work with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and other organizations. In New York, she is involved with her daughters’ schools and volunteers as a homeroom mom. Nomi currently participates in an organization called Girls On The Run, which is committed to preparing young girls for a lifetime of self-respect and self-esteem through a running and educational program. Nomi regularly runs with her eldest daughter as a part of this program. It only took a brief conversation to sense Nomi’s dedication to her work, her family and her commitment to the industry. It has been a pleasure getting to know her. Please join me in congratulating Nomi Bergman as the very deserving recipient of the 2004 Women in Technology Award. Marcie Anderson is vice president, Cox Business Services, and the 2003 Winner of the Women in Technology Award. Email her at [email protected].