Whether it’s leading a board meeting or navigating the Appalachian Trail (a feat she accomplished this fall with her son), Laulis’ sense of direction serves her well. Right now, she’s steering the integration of newly acquired Fidelity Communications—rolling out the red carpet for new associates and customers in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Laulis, who worked her way up in the industry from a CSR role, continues to set the tone for the new, consumer-facing Sparklight brand. One way she helps foster Cable ONE’s culture is by supporting programs by WICT, The Cable Center and other groups. The company has been a supporter of WICT for nearly 30 years, sending women associates to programs such as the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and Rising Leaders. Over the past three years, it has doled out more than $315,000 in tuition to women associates. “We have a strong culture focused on continual learning and we are deliberate in ensuring development opportunities are available to our diverse talent bench, both internally and externally,” she says. “Career planning with an emphasis on internal mobility, vocational training, professional conferences, leadership development programs, and job rotations are also available and encouraged in order to assist our associates in increasing their skills and expertise.”
What advice would you give your 13-year old self?
I could probably write a book (or at least a short story!) on advice I’d like to give myself! A couple of pieces of advice would include:
- It’s ok to have some downtime and fun—life will go by quickly—make sure it’s being enjoyed in its totality!
- Let go of expectations. We do not control the big plan, so be willing to roll and adjust with the punches.
- Nothing can replace time with a loved one or the great outdoors—both are so restorative!
- Progress isn’t always linear. It’s okay to zig and zag on the adventure of life. Be open to possibilities.
- You really do NOT need things.
- How your hair looks really doesn’t matter!
- Books and your running shoes are must haves for the rest of your life.
What specifically does your company do to support and elevate the women who work there?
Cable ONE has been a proud supporter of WICT for nearly 30 years, and each year sends women associates through programs such Rising Leaders, the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, Executive Development Series/Summits, Tech IT Out, and Leadership Conferences to name just a few.
We have a strong culture focused on continual learning and we are deliberate in ensuring development opportunities are available to our diverse talent bench, both internally and externally. In addition to numerous free, online training and development programs, Cable ONE offers a robust tuition reimbursement program. Over the past 3 years, we have provided more than $315,000 in tuition to our women associates, resulting in technical certifications, as well as bachelors and master’s degrees from universities across the U.S. Career planning with an emphasis on internal mobility, vocational training, professional conferences, leadership development programs, and job rotations are also available and encouraged in order to assist our associates in increasing their skills and expertise.
In order to ensure continuous improvement in how we support our associates, we recently participated in the WICT/NAMIC/Mercer AIM/PAR Diversity survey to understand how we compare against our industry peers. We are currently reviewing results to identify areas in which we excel, but more importantly areas in which we have opportunities to improve.
How can the industry do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions?
The focus on diversity and talent in general means focusing on end-to-end programs—
- Hiring: ensuring your recruiting pipelines are diverse, networks are broad, and hiring processes are fair
- Compensation & Benefits: pay is fair and equitable and reviewed minimally annually, benefits offered are competitive and associate/family friendly with a focus on health and wellness including work/life harmony
- Progression and ongoing development: learning and development is ongoing, opportunities are available and evident, and companies provide open and deliberate opportunities to learn and grow
- Advocates: mentors and coaches are available and accessible at all levels, internally and externally, and include both women and their male counterparts as advocates in success
- Retention: ensuring the right talent is in the right roles, and people know they are valued
- Culture: A strong, inclusive and positive culture should be the foundation of everything the company does
- Visible Role Models: we need to ensure the industry continues to showcase and support women leaders as role models for current and future generations of talent