Editor’s Note: In recognition and celebration of the diversity within the cable industry, we will be highlighting some of CableFAX’s Most Influential Minorities and their responses to a series of questions on mentorship, job skills and diversity. For the CableFAX Diversity issue in its entirety go here.


Salaam Coleman Smith

President, Style Media
NBCU
 
Tell us at least one true story of a mentor who’s advice you still use to this day.
 
I have learned over the years that a crucial component of mentoring is tough love and that criticism is not a nullification of merit, but instead a powerful tool for maximizing one’s potential. When the stakes are high, cutting to the chase is the mark of a true leader and giving and receiving honest feedback is paramount. The best gift I have received from effective leaders & mentors is the encouragement to discover my own personal power to deliver a well-articulated vision and lead a team to success.
 
What’s the skill that has helped you the most in your career—what’s the next skill to master?
 
Like many people, I was immensely inspired by the 2012 London Olympic Games and had the honor of attending in person. While there, I was struck by how the spirit of an athlete mirrors the spirit of an effective leader. You need to have focus, discipline and a relentless drive to win. Similarly it’s important to find the right balance between teamwork, singular purpose, command leadership and humility. In my view, successful leadership begins with a clear self-vision, demand for challenge and self-improvement, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. As I go for the gold I hope to tap into the talents of my team and quickly grow Style as the preeminent lifestyle network celebrating woman’s insatiable appetite for all things Style. 
 
Diversity is important to cable’s bottom line because…
 
As witnessed at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the diversity represented on the world stage enabled us to unleash the very best in human potential. You must be all-inclusive to win. We all come from different cultures and backgrounds, but we all have that incredible spirit in us to win, to do better and to strive for greatness. Media consumers and viewers represent the greatest cross-section of diversity. A diverse and inclusive workforce can only help us better serve our audience and businesses.
 

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