(The following cable executives are listed alphabetically.)
Jess Aguirre, SVP, Research, Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movie Channel
Most successful companies rarely make a move without listening to their customers. One of the people at Hallmark who deploys the listening tools and analyzes the data is Jess Aguirre, a 20-year vet of the family friendly network. And speaking of families, Jess recently aligned Hallmark with the Entertainment Technology Center at USC so the two could study how life stages influence emerging media choices. The study also seeks to spot key consumer trends and how they could influence future entertainment offerings. Jess is a member of several industry associations and is on the board of the Media Ratings Council.
Michael D. Armstrong, SVP, GM, BET International
As BET expands its footprint beyond the United States, Armstrong is leading the charge. At the end of ’08, he ushered in BET’s launch to 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa — expanding an international reach that already included the US, Canada, Carribbean and UK. His lengthy list of responsibilities for BET International includes licensing BET programs, developing, launching and operating BET-branded channels and programming blocks, as well as the development of the BET brands on mobile and broadband platforms.
Tim Ashley, VP, Advanced Technology Group Operations, Time Warner Cable
Ashly has been heavily involved with all of TWC’s telephony, high-speed data and video initiatives. He has been a major force on several major wins, including leading technology teams during TWC’s integration of the Comcast and Adelphia cable systems and the deployment of TWC’s Emmy-winning Start Over service. His recent charge is to shape the future of TWC’s commercial service initiatives, where significant revenue growth is expected. He is also involved in several nonprofit organizations including the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America and Our Kids Basketball Association.
James Brown, SVP, ESPN RISE
The launch of ESPN RISE, the sports giant’s new high-school content business, has become a stellar opportunity for 14-year Disney/ESPN veteran Brown. Since RISE’s launch about two years ago, Brown has helped create and launch two new high school sporting events: ESPN RISE National High School Invitational and the ESPN RISE Games. To be sure, Brown’s 12 years negotiating deals with top MSOs will come in handy as he touts ESPN RISE to those same affiliates. Meanwhile, Brown has overseen several acquisitions, including the purchase of SchoolSports/RISE, hoopgurlz.com and Student Sports. A NAMIC board member, Brown is active in numerous cable groups.
Payne Brown, VP, Strategic Initiatives, Comcast
Brown is a key part of the development and implementation of Comcast’s national diversity strategy, which is focused on the African-American community, including the development of content as well as public affairs and community investment initiatives. Payne is an advisory board member with several non-profits, including the Honickman Learning Center, YMCA Achievers, Philadelphia Outward Bound and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board.
Paul Butler, General Counsel, Gospel Music Channel
You’d guess that Paul Butler could provide song and verse on the intricacies of musical property rights. Well, he can, but Butler’s far more than the network’s general counsel (he was recently promoted from SVP). Overseeing business and legal affairs, he’s a key part of Gospel’s fast growth. He’s also much in demand at industry panels. Yet his major contribution may be giving back to the community. He’s chaired the board of Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a Harlem non-profit that helps young minorities become empowered critical thinkers. One student called Butler’s career "truly an example for all of us." We agree.
Rosalind Clay Carter, SVP, Human Resources, A&E Television Networks
A 14-year vet of AETN, Clay Carter is responsible for HR activities at corporate and satellite offices, including those in the U.K. Goals during her tenure include developing talent and hiring diverse candidates. As such she’s been active in WICT, NAMIC, The Walter Kaitz Foundation and CTHRA, the cable HR association, where she chairs the diversity committee. Back at AETN, since she joined the company ethnic diversity has doubled.
Sherita Caesar, VP, Product Engineering, Cross Platform Applications and Engineering Analysis, Comcast
Caesar designs, implements and deploys cross-platform applications. So it goes without saying that she’s pretty important to Comcast and the cable industry as it takes on competitors offering the triple play nationwide. Her hands touch everything from design efficiency to economic analysis of products to evaluation of security requirements for voice, video and data. And that’s no small task as networks become increasingly complicated and competitive. In addition, Caesar serves on the WICT board and was previously National President for the Society of Women Engineers. She’s also on MMAE Executive Advisory Board for Illinois Institute of Technology.
Lisa Chang, SVP, Human Resources, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
What a portfolio. Chang oversees recruiting, benefits and compensation support for a slew of Turner properties domestically. The classically trained pianist and violinist also leads HR for Turner in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. In her "spare" time, Chang serves on the board of WICT and is president-elect of the board of CTHRA, the cable human resources association. We know what you’re thinking: ‘this woman deserves a medal.’ NAMIC thought so, too, awarding her its Diversity Luminary trophy; WICT Atlanta named her A Woman to Watch.
Darlene Chapman-Holmes, Senior Director, Affiliate Sales, Retirement Living TV
It’s not a coincidence that Darlene was aboard as RLTV continued its growth spurt. A 20-year cable veteran who seems to know everyone, Darlene is one of the most pleasant people in cable, her bright smile having lit up many an affiliate meeting and trade show floor. Her personality is but one ingredient that makes Darlene one of the most effective closers in the business. A firm believer in the importance of relationships and networking, the Betsy Magness alum is a valued member of just about every organization out there, including CTAM, Emma Bowen, NAMIC and WICT, where she sits on the board.
Jeff Chen, SVP, Advanced Technology, Bright House Networks
Who said engineers weren’t personable? Just ask Chen’s boss and Bright House President Nomi Bergman, who calls him "one of the nicest, and certainly one of the brightest" engineers in cable, noting "I don’t think there is anyone who would not wish to welcome him into their conversation." That’s a powerful endorsement from Bergman, who came up through the techie ranks herself. Not only is Chen involved in most of Bright House’s capital decisions, but he has also led key tech deployments such as Bright House’s major VOD initiative. In addition, Chen contributes to the entire industry with his participation in CableLabs’ OpenCable Certification Board.
Lisa Clark, VP, Consumer Marketing & Media Strategy, National Geographic Channel
Besides providing superior programming, there’s nothing more critical to a network than marketing its slate to the public, which helps deliver the eyeballs. That’s Clark’s job — designing and implementing the engagement strategies and marketing campaigns that bring viewers to Nat Geo. Her success has helped drive consistent ratings growth at the network. A former chief of the Black Filmmaker Foundation, she also finds time to be a volunteer mentor at National Geographic Channel as well as being active in WICT.
Keith Clinkscales, SVP, Content Development and Enterprises, ESPN
Armed with more than 20 years experience defining and servicing cross-cultural audiences, Clinkscales has used a keen ability to communicate social context and relevance in nurturing ESPN’s 2008 and 2009 New Year’s Eve live countdown, E:60, The ESPYs, X Games and Peabody Award-winning documentary Black Magic. Since he’s a key player in expanding ESPN’s role in platforms from books to films, Keith has been the point man for 30 for 30, the project where 30 filmmakers are creating sports-related films in honor of ESPN’s 30th anniversary. He serves as treasurer of the Apollo Theater Foundation Board of Trustees and is a member of PepsiCo’s Multicultural Advisory Board.
Sean Cohan, SVP, International, AETN
Of the many cable executives who live much of the year out of a suitcase, Sean Cohan must be a charter member. Since joining AETN five years ago, he’s helped create more than 25 international channels and partnerships across Asia and Europe. With all that, the Stanford MBA finds time to do good works. He’s volunteered for more than 20 years with Anchor, a recreation program for handicapped children and adults and was chairman of East Harlem Tutorial Program. His volunteer work to cure blindness earned him the first Humanitarian of the Year award from Hope for Vision.
Eduardo Conrado, SVP, Global Business & Technology Marketing Communications, Motorola
Find it a challenge to convey a message to a few members of your team? Spend a day in Eduardo Conrado’s shoes. His daily task is to get Motorola’s worldwide team from two of its three divisions — Home & Networks Mobility and Enterprise Mobility Solutions — to speak with a single voice. There’s a lot at stake; these divisions return a combined $18 billion in revenue yearly. And Eduardo’s work supports sales as it touches branding, product and channel marketing, internal and external communications and direct marketing. Eduardo also is President of Motorola’s Latino Business Council and Cadre 2000, which seek to develop new business leaders.
Michael Cooper, VP, Affiliate Marketing and Ad Sales, Fox Cable Networks
One of cable’s nicest people, soft-spoken Cooper’s tenure with Fox Cable Networks began as the unit started on its growth path. That rise was due in no small part to Michael’s managing of marketing strategies and promotions for the group’s extensive portfolio. He’s also been a key player in shaping FCN’s ad sales strategy, determining the best integration of emerging platforms, such as Canoe and interactive TV. The former Court TV exec has long been active in promoting diversity, having chaired NAMIC’s Los Angeles chapter and now as a NAMIC board member.
Parthavi Das, SVP & Interim President, WICT
How do you replace a hugely popular cable industry leader, who’s also an all-American athlete with multiple Olympics medals? If you’re Parthavi Das, you acknowledge that you’re not Benita Fitzgerald Mosley — you have different strengths and weaknesses than she, this is one of the lessons of diversity — and you move ahead. Das confidently assumed the top job in July and continued the excellence she’s been achieving at WICT since 1996. Among other duties, she carefully navigated the delicate environment that has cable condensing a year of events into just two weeks. Fortunately for WICT, Das has strong leadership skills, having headed WICT’s PAR Initiative and its recognition awards. The movie buff (who loves Bollywood films) is scheduled to give way to new WICT chief Maria Brennan on Oct. 19.
Susan Jin Davis, VP, Corporate Development, Comcast Corporation
Susan’s oversight of government and regulatory affairs related to voice and online issues for Comcast means she also provides counsel and works as a strategic partner with Comcast’s online and voice services senior management. Meanwhile, Jin Davis works tirelessly at both the strategic and grassroots levels to raise visibility and create dialogue among Asian Americans within Comcast and the industry. That includes not only a formal industry mentoring program, but her informal mentorship of countless others looking for career and personal development advice. It’s no wonder that Jin Davis serves on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc., and NAMIC’s Philadelphia Chapter.
Raúl de Quesada, Assistant GM/SVP Marketing, Communications & Creative Services, Fox Sports en Espanol and Fox Soccer Channel
A glance at Raúl’s title tells you his portfolio is large. Indeed, he can point to accomplishments in marketing the two channels, their on-camera look and even show creation (the Fox Pan-American Sports awards show that honors Latino athletes here and abroad, Premios Fox Sports, is Raúl’s baby). There’s no question, the man with the bulging business card has been key to the growth of the channels, with Sports en Espanol reaching 15mln U.S. homes and Soccer Channel in 34mln. Raúl also has insisted the channels be philanthropic. They support a bevy of charities and Raúl sits on the board of LA’s Green Bags for a Green Earth.
Vicky Free, VP, 360 Consumer Marketing, Turner Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media
In 2005, when McDonald’s wanted integrated marketing campaigns for African-American and Asian-Pacific-Islander women it turned to Vicky Free, its director of women’s initiatives for the U.S. When Turner needed consumer-centric, integrated marketing for high-profile series like The Closer and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne it also turned to Free, by that time its VP of Entertainment Marketing for TBS, TCM and TNT. Now she’s facing another challenge: touting product to young adults and kids as the newly installed VP of 360 Consumer Marketing. Few are better qualified to conceive multi-platform, integrated initiatives for this demo, whose media-viewing habits are non-traditional and mercurial.
Richard Gay, EVP, Strategy & Operations, MTV and VH1
Gay’s responsibilities include strategic and long-range planning, key operational initiatives and serving as brand liaison for centralized back office functions, such as finance, HR, legal, IT, etc. His star has risen quickly, with Gay elected to partner at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Global Media and Entertainment Practice at the age of 32. He’s also active in the community, having led several pro bono consulting initiatives, including efforts for the Chicago Urban league, the Museum of Television and Radio and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Gay is currently a Trustee of Second Stage Theater, an off-Broadway theater company and The New York Institute for Special Education.
Barbara L. Gee, VP, Strategic Sales Alliances, Comcast Cable
Third-party sales partnerships are never easy to forge and maintain, but Gee excels in identifying, analyzing and launching the best relationships — all while developing sales and retention strategies. Comcast depends on Gee to bring in new revenue in a tough economic environment — making her even more invaluable in 2009. And Gee has never disappointed as she shares insight and expertise, and cultivates third-party relationships to build stronger ties with customers. Gee mentors at WICT and at NAMIC Philadelphia, and is also a member of CTAM and the American Management Association.
Ishmel Goodrum, VP, Network Operations, Insight Comm
As Insight split its technical operations from Comcast in ’08, Goodrum played an instrumental role by undertaking a slew of projects to improve the reliability, redundancy and security of the MSO’s infrastructure. Customers’ appreciation of the transition’s smoothness is evidenced by Insight’s significant increase in customer satisfaction levels as measured by JD Power and Assoc. Goodrum remains the MSO’s lead technical interface with numerous vendors and signs off on equipment deals related to network management and capacity. He’s an active member of SCTE and was a presenter at a network operations session at this year’s Cable Show.
Vicki Hamilton, SVP of Enterprise Performance, Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
Sometimes we wonder if Vicki Hamilton’s got a clone. Her day job — ensuring that infrastructure and processes are functioning to support Turner’s business in emerging consumer platforms — has numerous facets, including project and resource management for large, multi-divisional initiatives. Yet she’s also a tireless volunteer, having served as NAMIC Atlanta’s President and VP. Presently she’s co-chair of its leadership development committee. A NAMIC mentor, she’s a board member of GlobalEXECWomen and Urban League’s Black Exchange Education Program.
Gene Hawkins, SVP, Human Resources, Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movie Channel
The senior HR executive at Hallmark’s pair of channels, Gene handles benefits, perks, promotions, internal communications and other employee issues. Wading into turbulent health care waters, Gene negotiated for a new set of medical and dental plans with insurance carriers, moving Hallmark to a calendar benefit year. Gene also is Hallmark’s liaison with the Emma Bowen Foundation, which brings interns to the network each summer in what has become a very successful program.
David Hudson, VP, Unscripted Programming, Specials and Franchises, TBS and TNT
Talk about a cool gig, David Hudson oversees creative and production on TBS specials like Christmas in Washington and The Screen Actors Guild Awards. More? Hudson’s also in charge of creative for Turner’s forays into unscripted original programming. Easy now, you can’t just apply for a position like Hudson’s. Before the cable vet joined Turner he was a co-series producer of Earth’s Fury on TLC and numerous others. Previous to his current gig at Turner, he served as VP of Production and Production Finance for TBS and TNT originals. In 1998 he created his own production company to make informative and entertaining reality programming at "a manageable price."
Mark Kang, SVP, Affiliate Relations, The Sportsman Channel
What we like most about Kang — and there’s a lot to like — is his ability to mix old and new. While he’s one of the youngest affiliate chiefs in cable and arguably its consummate party animal, his youth blends with an old-world respect for hard work and the people on his team. Many managers talk about growing their people; Kang actually does it, urging them to broaden their horizons and take chances. He enrolls them in training that encourages creative thinking and rewards them when they succeed. And succeed they do — witness TSC’s 700% growth from June’08-‘09. Kang knows his roots, always crediting the lessons he learned from his mentor Bob Rose when the two were at Court TV. Evidence of Rose’s influence is Kang’s support of numerous cable groups like The Cable Center, NAMIC, WICT and CTAM.
Jerold C. Lambert, VP, Associate General Counsel, Bresnan Communications
Lambert is a Renaissance man inside a lawyer’s body. A regulatory specialist, not only does he represent Bresnan before all reg agencies, legislative bodies and industry organizations, he’s also the company’s point man on advanced services, particularly digital telephone. That’s enough of a load for most, but Lambert goes beyond the normal lawyer. The cable veteran of two decades is also instrumental in franchise issues, programming contracts, intellectual property matters and commercial services policies. He reportedly also finds time to sleep, eat and participate in Bresnan’s many community volunteer programs.
Jeanine Liburd, EVP, Communications & Public Affairs, BET
Liburd is not just responsible for managing all communications and public affairs for BET, but also oversees events — including the network’s upfront, ancillary events for awards shows and events surrounding BET’s newest launch, CENTRIC. Despite her busy to-do list, we as reporters can tell you she always finds time to help us out. This year, she was honored in The Network Journal’s 40-Under-Forty Black Achievement Awards. At this year’s NAACP National Convention, Liburd spoke to a group of young people about ways the community can advocate for balance and diversity of content in the entertainment industry to create positive role models for youth.
Bam Liem, VP, Advanced Network Engineering, Insight
Charged with the architecture, design and development of all of Insight’s HSD and phone products — including technology and vendor selection — Liem implemented plans and designs during Insight’s technical split from Comcast that now allow the MSO to operate a far more complex system with a greater degree of control. Also responsible for the MSO’s Wide Area Network and enterprise phone system, which he successfully split along with email, Liem’s constantly consulting with peers to stay ahead of the rapid developments related to residential/commercial HSD and phone services. He’s also an active member of SCTE and CableLabs.
Tony Maldonado, VP, Acquisition and Marketing Sciences, Cox
Among the pioneers of cable marketing to sell advanced video, voice and data services to minorities, Maldonado played a crucial role in Cox’s Latino telephony launch and helped create the MSO’s first Latino-targeted bundle: an eight-channel Spanish-language digital assortment and phone service including one or two hours of free long-distance calls to Mexico. He’s a member of The Kaitz Foundation and serves on CTAM’s Multicultural Marketing Committee. Also, as a member, he regularly speaks at NAMIC events and conferences on topics including segmenting, marketing and strategic branding.
Enrique Martinez, EVP and Managing Director, Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic
Discovery Channel launched in Latin America 15 years ago, and Martínez has been instrumental from the beginning in growing the business and making Discovery one of the leading players in the region. The brand now touts a portfolio of 10 network brands across 34 countries throughout Latin America, reaching nearly 130mln cumulative subscribers, as well as two Hispanic brands distributed in the U.S. market. Most recently, Martinez oversaw the execution of the deal with DirecTV to launch Discovery HD Theater in more than 10 Latin American countries, making Discovery the leading provider of HD services in the region. Put simply, Martinez has been a big part of Discovery’s success in Latin America, and there’s little doubt he will continue to be invaluable as Discovery continues to make inroads.
Lucinda Martinez-Desir, VP, Acquisition & Multicultural Marketing, HBO
Martinez-Desir is responsible for subscriber acquisition marketing activities at HBO, including wireless entertainment services. She oversees external creative agencies and determines which sponsorships and strategic event partnerships are in line with HBO’s brand objectives She has also established herself within multicultural communities through initiatives that include marketing/promotions and sponsorships related to the African-American, Latino and Gay/Lesbian markets.
Ramsey Naito, VP, Long-Form Programming, Cartoon Network
Yes, Naito has heard all the jokes: ‘Long-form programming at Cartoon Network? Are you serious?’ Indeed the six-year Cartoon vet was present at the creation of this unlikely sounding department and now greenlights all movie projects that emanate from it, like Rugrats in Paris and The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. She’s done the cartoon-into-movie thing well enough to have created Cartoon’s #1 telecast, Ben10: Race Against Time, a live-action film from the animated series. From that success other projects are on the fall schedule, including Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and Ben10: Alien Swarm. She’s also a member of NAMIC and CAPE, the organization addressing the interests of Asian Pacific Americans in the entertainment industry.
Monica Neal, VP, Emerging Markets & Partnerships, TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies
It’s not often that a person’s job is a perfect fit for her personality — that’s why it’s been great to see Monica Neal’s rise through the Turner ranks. Her quest to find partnerships is perfect for her because there’s not a better partner in cable than Neal, who is one of the nicest and hardest-working execs in the business. Monica’s current charge, reaching out to underserved audiences for TNT, TBS and TCM, is one of the most important issues facing cable. It’s not surprising that Neal’s handling outreach for the new George Lopez late-night talk show on TBS considering that she brokered successful marketing deals for Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns (TBS) and Hawthorne (TNT), both of which became hits.
Donna Northington, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Turner Network Sales, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Northington leads a group that translates the desires of Turner Network Sales’ strategic initiatives for distribution, sales and marketing into financial and operating realities. In other words, she and her team develop the not-too-sexy-sounding-but-vitally-important tools like rates, sales incentives, contract terms, annual budgets and long-range forecasts. Needless to say Northington’s work guides the decision makers at Turner, making this member of the Turner Diversity Council and CTAM advisory board an indispensable part of the operation.
Walter Oden, Regional VP, Content Distribution & Marketing, MTV Networks
One of cable’s classiest, Oden is responsible for overseeing distribution growth and field operations for MTNV’s 23+ networks across Time Warner Cable’s footprint. As if working on MTVN’s distribution and new product strategies with the 2nd largest MSO in the country wasn’t enough to keep Walter busy, he still finds time to serve on the board of CTAM NY and co-chairs its Advocates Committee. The youngest member of CableFAX’s Sales Hall of Fame, the Miami, FL, native received an MBA from Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry.
Lamont Orange, VP, Information Technology, Charter
As the final arbiter and subject matter expert for the lion’s share of Charter’s IT applications, Orange has negotiated hundreds of contracts and vendor relationships and is the key negotiator for the MSO’s Microsoft contract. He’s also instrumental in obtaining crucial compliance and licensing deals that strengthen Charter’s business, and helped implement the necessary programs and processes to accommodate the latest revisions in the current regulatory, data retention, and personal privacy areas. A strong presence in the St. Louis community, Orange supports and encourages young people through affiliations with NAMIC and Junior League.
Lisa Choi Owens, SVP, Online Distribution & Partnerships, Scripps Networks
In only a short time with Scripps Networks, Choi Owens has come into her own and developed an industry-wide reputation as a dealmaker and consummate "heavy hitter." Her depth of experience in the interactive realm has guided new business opportunities and several strategic partnerships; her "closer" mentality has led to successful deals with AOL, YouTube and numerous cable, mobile and Web outlets. She leads the team working to develop a strategic framework to extend the company’s growth of non-linear platforms while managing policies, operating procedures and financial goals. A graduate of the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, Owens contributes to several industry groups such as WICT and NAMIC, where she’s a board member.
Mauro Panzera, Senior Director of Multicultural Marketing, Comcast
As Comcast’s expert and lead executive on multicultural marketing, Panzera develops video, broadband, phone and wireless strategies and tactics geared toward a multicultural audience. In 2003, Panzera led a cross-functional team in the successful introduction of Comcast’s CableLatino and Selecto programming packages, which increased availability of Spanish- and English-language video and audio channels. The following year, he was instrumental in the successful launch of On Demand en Español, which offered 100+ hours of free Spanish-language VOD content, including movies, sports, music and children’s programming. Meanwhile, Panzera contributes to CTAM and often participates in roundtable discussions and panels regarding multicultural marketing.
Richard Ramlall, SVP, Strategic External Affairs, Programming & International Marketing, RCN Corporation
Few executives are as well known and lauded as Ramlall, whose reputation as a workhorse and expert multitasker are legendary. It’s no wonder then that tiny RCN has been able to compete so effectively against some of the largest MSOs and DBS providers. Ramlall wears a number of hats, including programming, public relations, investor relations and government affairs. Meanwhile, he’s the lead negotiator for all of RCN’s programming deals with mammoth media firms like Disney and Viacom, as well as increasingly aggressive and retrans-happy broadcasters. Ramlall also serves on numerous boards, including Evolving Systems, Gateway Communications Services, TelecomHUB, and the Alzheimers Association’s National Capital Area Chapter.
Debbie Smith Rayford, VP, Diversity and HR Services, Discovery Communications
Rayford oversees development and implementation of company-wide diversity initiatives, serving as the HR representative for global diversity standards and practices. Her mission: recruit and maintain a workforce that meaningfully represents the diverse and culturally rich audiences the cable industry wishes to attract. In addition, Rayford manages Discovery Points of View, which seeks out diverse perspectives to spur innovation, as well as a number of other employee-driven groups like Multicultural Alliance, GLBT Network, Discovery Veterans Group and the Women’s Leadership Network. One of cable’s most articulate speakers on diversity, Rayford is not only active in WICT and NAMIC but also the Society for Human Resource Management and American Women in Radio and Television.
Paul Richardson, SVP, Human Resources, ESPN
A member of ESPN’s Executive Committee, Richardson oversees all aspects of the company’s global HR efforts covering the sports giant’s 50 business units and more than 5K employees. In just two years of service, he has been instrumental in supporting employee activity around the launch of ESPN’s Los Angeles production facility, creating new development programs and introducing eight employee resources groups focused on driving diversity initiatives and fostering a more inclusive culture. Richardson’s a member of NAMIC and SHRM, is an Urban League of Greater Hartford board member, and thrives in his role as a foundation board member for the California State Summer School for the Arts.
Kent Takano, VP, Branded Entertainment Programming, Fine Living Network
Takano has a long history of influencing program decisions. His current gig at Fine Living comes after years of practice, including his earlier role as director of programming at HGTV and his distinction of being the first director of programming at Scripps’ New Media Division. His solid background as a consultant, producer, writer and programmer has served him well as he strikes content deals in an increasingly complicated environment. Takano spearheaded Fine Living’s acquisition of high-profile personalities like Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse, and has developed new brand partnerships. A member of the Scripps Networks Diversity Committee, Takano is a graduate of the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program and has served on several NAMIC committees.
Melody Tan, SVP, Strategy and Business Operations, Content Distribution and Marketing, MTV Networks and BET Networks
VOD, HDTV, ITV, advanced advertising, online — all this and more is in Tan’s wheelhouse. She and her team lead the development and implementation of new products and business models that MTVN offers distribution partners. That also means she makes strategic recommendations for MTVN and BET Networks’ sales and distribution initiatives. She helped forge a multi-year deal with TVN Entertainment for the support of MTVN and BET video-on-demand offerings this year. She also was named to the ’09-’10 Class of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.
Claudia Teran, SVP, Business and Legal Affairs, Fox Cable Networks
Teran oversees business and legal affairs for several of the Fox Cable Networks divisions. But that’s not even the half of Teran’s bulging portfolio. She’s also responsible for the legalities of Fox Cable’s corporate office and digital media properties. On top of that she’s also asked to spread the wealth of her legal experience to international transactions, working extensively in Spanish-language markets, where she’s negotiated deals for Fox Sports and FUEL TV in Latin America. So, while she ostensibly wears a lawyer’s hat, you will see her working here and internationally in licensing, distribution, marketing and affiliate relations.
Luis Torres-Bohl, President, Mexicanal
Splitting his time between Mexico and the States, Torres-Bohl is a hands-on deal maker for his network. Mexicanal is a 24-hour Spanish-language network that targets Mexicans living in the U.S. It’s now available via cable, satellite and multicast, providing a lineup of regional news and entertainment from 12 different affiliates throughout Mexico. That’s important since much of America’s growing Hispanic population comes from outside Mexico City.
Jennifer Turner, VP, Licensing & Strategic Partnerships, Bravo Media & Oxygen Media
If the dream job is to get paid for going shopping, then Jennifer Turner is nearly there. She’s Oxygen and Bravo’s sole link to retailers, brokering licensing and strategic relationships with them to enhance the two brands, drive revenue and help the networks leap off the TV screen and into viewers’ homes and on their backs. Remember those upscale Kooba handbags you saw on NYC Prep? Getting Kooba to design that line for the series and putting them for sale at bravotv.com was Jennifer’s work. And the Fashion by Bravo items you see online and in retail outlets? That was also Jennifer’s doing, as she brokered the first in-show fashion line in conjunction with Bravo’s series The Fashion Show.
Indira Venkat, SVP, Audiences and Research, Travel Channel
Talk about good timing. Venkat joined Travel’s executive team in January 2008 as the network was popping with hit series from globe-traveling foodies like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. Travel experienced double-digit growth in ratings and web traffic from ’07 to ’09, and the network’s median age dropped from 50 to 45 in ’08. Into this space Venkat’s research on the influence of mood states on TV viewing choices led to a framework for Travel’s scheduling and played a critical role in increased viewer engagement. The CTAM Research Committee member also saw a need for short-form video about travel and helped launch Travel Channel Studios to fill that void.
Denmark West, President, BET Digital Media
For the past two years, West has led BET Networks digital brands, including BET.com, BET Mobile, BET on Demand and BET’s digital download offerings. He’s doing it right, with BET.com experiencing record-breaking numbers this summer. BET.com saw a 100% increase in unique users for BET Awards ’09 versus the BET Awards ’08 day of show, and had the best two-day total for unique users in BET.com history for the day of show and day after. West is also on the boards of Dress for Success and IMPACT Coalition, a non-profit that advocates debate as a key to success in building healthier communities.
Barbara York, SVP, Industry Affairs, NCTA
The economy is down, as are travel budgets, while layoffs are up. So how will York induce the industry to fly to Los Angeles for The Cable show? If anyone can do it, this Cable Pioneer and Hall of Famer can. In fact, by the time you read this, the detail-oriented York and her staff will have been working for months on the 2010 show, checking and re-checking everything from panel topics and booth logistics to the Battle of the Bands (one of Barbara’s ideas). And if you’re hungry in L.A., ask Barbara for a tip. Her knowledge of restaurants rivals that of cable’s resident gourmand/partymeister Chuck Klein.
Patrick Younge, President/GM, Travel Channel
It’s been our policy that when an executive has announced he’s leaving cable we don’t include that person in our lists. We break that tradition here by inserting Younge, in tribute to a job very well done. Possessor of a great sense of humor, Pat totally changed Travel Channel during his tenure, which ends Jan 1 when he returns to the U.K. as Chief Creative Officer for BBC Vision Productions. The new gig is a coup for Younge, but well deserved. Not only did he revise Travel’s slate, he grew it into a Top 15 cable net in prime, added HD and lowered its median age.