3 Questions for 2021 Horizon Award for Woman to Watch Winners & Catalyst Award, Women in Technology Winner

Congratulations to Kia Painter and Heather Symmes, our Horizon Award for Woman to Watch Winners, and Katie Horne, our Catalyst Award, Women in Technology Winner.


Name:  Kia Painter-Holland

Location: Atlanta, GA 

Title: SVP, HR Business Partnerships

Company:  Cox Communications  

What does getting this award mean to you? 

Receiving the Horizon Woman to Watch award is a product of living a personal commitment to help others succeed, to support the growth of my company, and to create pathways for others to journey and thrive.  I am over the moon that WICT Southeast and Cox are recognizing me.  I am truly honored.  To me, this means that I am making a difference and contributing in a way that I am poised to continue to add value for years to come.  

As women, we often find it difficult to pat ourselves on the back, but I’m going to ask you to do just that. What do you think sets you apart from other nominees?

I have a long, consistent track record of delivering results and performing my job to the best of my abilities while also keeping my eye out for other leaders to bring along on the journey to develop and grow.   I started with my company as a part time HR assistant fresh out of college and haven’t looked back.  I am personally compelled to mentor other future leaders looking to ignite and grow their careers.  It is my duty. 

This year’s theme is ‘Be a Catalyst.’ Why do you think setting the wheels of change in motion is more important than ever in 2021?  

The time is ripe with opportunity to make a positive impact in our industry and in our worlds.  There is so much we’ve done to push the limits of who we are as women the last 18 months.  Helping our companies deliver during a pandemic, taking care of our employees as they navigate social issues challenging their communities, while also trying to keep their families safe and healthy-these are unprecedented times.   And as leaders, we can continue to step up and be the catalysts in our businesses and communities.  We are programmers and distributors delivering innovative content and services into people’s homes and businesses- in a way that impacts their everyday livelihoods.   We are each uniquely positioned to catalyze, spark, and ignite positive change to improve and enhance those lives of both our current and future customers.  Be a Catalyst, let’s get it done.

Name: Katie Horne

Location: Atlanta, GA

Title:  Executive Director | Cyber M&A, Product Security, CB Sales Information Security and Third Party Risk

Company: Cox Communications

What does getting this award mean to you? 

This award means the world to me. It means that people take notice and appreciate the work that means so much to me.

As women, we often find it difficult to pat ourselves on the back, but I’m going to ask you to do just that. What do you think sets you apart from other nominees? 

I am certain that the other nominees are fantastic so I will only speak for myself.   I take pride in the fact that I never back down from a challenge, whether it’s taking new and different responsibilities in my current job or moving careers to try something new!  Be a catalyst to change, right? 😊

This year’s theme is ‘Be a Catalyst.’ Why do you think setting the wheels of change in motion is more important than ever in 2021?

 The past 18 months have shown us that embracing change is the only way to thrive.  We have had to learn how to work differently, to live our personal lives differently, basically do everything differently.  Change is difficult but being able to drive change and lead through that change makes all the difference in the world.  

Name: Heather Symmes

Location: Atlanta, GA

Title: Vice President, Content Distribution & Marketing

Company: UP Entertainment, LLC

What does getting this award mean to you?  

First, I am incredibly honored to receive this amazing award. Thank you to all who contribute to the success and growth of the WICT overall, to WICT SE and the esteemed Red Letter Awards! I have attended and supported the RLA’s for many years, and the incredible caliber of winners and nominees is mind blowing. I’m truly speechless to be selected among this esteemed group of leaders whom I admire, and whose characters, successes and accomplishments, are so inspiring to me. I am deeply grateful and thrilled to be the recipient of the Horizon Award for Women to Watch. 

As women, we often find it difficult to pat ourselves on the back, but I’m going to ask you to do just that. What do you think sets you apart from other nominees?

I am seriously humbled to be selected among stellar and highly accomplished fellow nominees. I believe the nature of my personality, how I operate as a leader, and my role within our organization, helps set me apart. Although I have been in the industry since 1996, my career path has been an interesting journey! I enjoy embracing change and navigate this swiftly evolving industry by continually learning about media, technologies, competition and new ways to consume content. I am also an artist, so I view the world through a colorful and creative lens, but with laser focus on business goals and priorities. I am a champion for the development and flawless execution of remarkable, cost-effective marketing campaigns that distinguish UP Entertainment among our competitors, regardless of our smaller size. I’ve continued to build and foster strong business relationships over time.  I also strive relentlessly for excellence, which has paid off significantly with the major goals I have met and exceeded throughout my career.  I like to explore new platforms and opportunities for UP Entertainment’s unique brands (UPtv, AspireTV, UP Faith & Family and Cine Romántico), diving into where our content can live, be elevated and most of all, be celebrated. I have a deep knowledge of our distributor platforms and create value by consulting with our partners on mutually beneficial opportunities where our programming can be enjoyed by their customers/our audiences and leveraged for optimum awareness and subscriber growth. As a result, distributors and other stakeholders turn to me, and often think of UP Entertainment first when considering partnerships or collaborative campaign ideas. I strive to set a positive example of diversity in the workplace, among my colleagues and friends, our brands, and within the industry. I celebrate my family: my wife and 12-year-old daughter, and it has been an incredible journey to be in a place where I can bring my authentic self to the workplace and community. I feel that over time and with each relationship, I have organically created a lasting and positive impact on all who know me professionally and personally. I am incredibly proud to work within this dynamic industry, and I find it so much fun, too.

This year’s theme is ‘Be a Catalyst.’ Why do you think setting the wheels of change in motion is more important than ever in 2021?

For better or worse, our entire world has changed drastically and unexpectedly, and will continue to change by the moment. Everything that has gotten us to and through this year, won’t keep us here, nor will it get us to the next place we aspire to be within the industry, our communities, careers and our own personal lives. Media and technology are an increasingly powerful force in our day-to-day life and will be further entwined throughout our experiences and interactions. Technology has become personal. Speed is the norm, and we as leaders can guide the way by evolving quickly for sustained performance. We can explore and seek knowledge, be uncomfortable in our growth and surround ourselves with unique minds and perspectives that challenge us to new ways of being. However, we must be willing to listen, lead with our heads and our hearts, and motivate others thoughtfully through challenging times and situations. To me, this is the really fun part about life well lived and meaningful work. I hope to continuously discover opportunities to serve others along the way by being open to the creativity in diversity, in equity and fully inclusive of the various and wonderful talent inside and outside this dynamic industry, and within this incredible WICT organization.  Everything is new all the time, and just like anything else, our careers are a journey, not a destination. Knowledge and curiosity are the powerful foundation of our future success as women and as leaders during these tumultuous and exciting times. I know through experience that it only takes one decision, one person, one moment, one action or one interaction to create powerful changes that we want to see happen, even while change is happening to each of us. It requires us all working together and supporting each other that will determine amazing outcomes along the way.