TV One interim general manager Michelle Rice told a crowd gathered for the WICT DC Baltimore chapter’s annual Powerbrokers breakfast Thursday that women need to give themselves a break from being superstars in both the board room and at home.
“Our fight for gender equality starts with the right to lean out,” Rice said, referencing Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book encouraging women to “lean in” to make their voices heard in the workplace. “Just as we tell our children their best is good enough, your best is good enough.”
Rice was the keynote speaker at the event held at the National Press Club in DC. To her, achieving equality for women in the industry and beyond will take an active effort from every individual to fight established gender stereotypes. “What’s more critical than learning is unlearning,” Rice remarked. The breakfast celebrates the chapter’s Touchstone of Leadership Award winners. Among this year’s honorees was FCC secretary Marlene Dortch. Receiving the Public Service Award, she counted the unique community of women as one of the best parts of being a part of the communications industry in DC. “When you’re not in a formal program, you can still find wonderful mentors in the people you meet,” Dortch noted after calling out the numerous women in the room who continue to inspire her.
Monica Lucero, TeamPeople’s svp, business development and marketing, was the recipient of the Geraldine B. Laybourne Fearless Award. She remarked that being fearless does not mean living up to the iconic image of Wonder Woman.
“I truly hope that someday we can look beyond the superheroes and special powers and realize that we all have the innate ability to be fearless, and we don’t need the golden cuffs and rope to get it done,” Lucero said, crediting her ability to be fearless to the values instilled in her by family, friends and mentors.
Inspire Award winner Marty Dominguez, vp of marketing at C-SPAN, took a look back at her 28 years with the network, noting that she continues to be challenged and learns everyday while getting to go to work and “play with” her friends.
This year’s winner of the Connect Award was Susan Fox, vp of government relations at the Walt Disney Company. Events fostering connections and community like the WICT breakfast remind Fox of her mother, who aided Fox’s father in his campaign for DA at a time when women were not embarking on campaign trails with their husbands.
Comcast’s Aimee Metrick earned the Communicate Award for her work as vp, communications for the Beltway region. Metrick spoke on the power of words and social media, a conversation more relevant than ever with platforms extending our reach far beyond what could have been imagined.
Another Comcast exec was honored, as vp of government relations Donna Rattley Washington received the Know Yourself Award. “To know yourself to me means to be authentic,” Washington explained. “It allows you to connect and, when you do that, it builds trust. And when there’s trust, that’s good for business.”
Catalyst Award honoree Kathryn Falk, vp market leader – Northern Virginia at Cox Communications, spoke fondly of her company’s culture, praising the development opportunities and core values that she now calls her own.
Sharon Alston, vp of human resources at TV One, charted her path to becoming the recipient of this year’s Listen Award, saying that after being a guest at last year’s Breakfast and wondering how to become a strong woman like those before her, she’s learned there is no strict trail to follow. Sometimes, it means paving your own way.
Kelly Kane was given the Glenn Britt Emerging Leader Award. The svp of marketing strategy for national accounts at Discovery Communications credited her parents for her current success. “I was raised in a home where my mom and dad both embodied everything that represents discipline, perseverance and determination,” Kane said. “I carry that with me.”