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What’s It Like to Be on the WICT SE Board

Are you looking to take your career to the next level? Do you want to network and collaborate with the best and brightest in the cable and telecommunications industry? Are you an active member of WICT Southeast? Well then perhaps joining the WICT SE board is what you’re looking for. The CALL FOR CANDIDATES for the WICT Southeast 2020 Board is officially open and we need some great candidates to run for the open positions. 

For those of you who are thinking about running and want to know what it takes to run and serve, we’ve asked 3 current board members, LaShaun Solomon (President), Jamie Miller (Immediate Past President), and Renita Griskel, (Vice President) some key questions that may help guide your decision making.

What made you decide to make a run for a position on the WICT board?

Lashaun Solomon (LS): My WICT Board experience began in 2012 when I joined the Greater Texas Chapter Board as Sponsorship Chair.  In 2014, I experienced a career change and was seeking to reconnect and build my network in Atlanta. Given my previous years of WICT Board experience, I found it more than applicable to pursue an opportunity on the WICT Southeast Board.

Renita Griskel (RG): I’ve always enjoyed attending WICT events and helping out behind the scenes. At the time when I submitted my nomination, it was after talking with friends who were on the board. Those conversations nudged me out of my comfort zone and into a board position.

Jamie Miller (JM): At the encouragement of my supervisor, I joined WICT in 2007 and had been attending local events, then started volunteering to help with them (rounding up door prizes, helping with event sign-in, selecting the catering, and working up to co-chairing events). I believe in WICT’s mission and the impact that this organization has on women in the industry, so I decided to step up and run for Director of Membership for Tennessee for the 2013 board. That led to a couple of years on the Programming team, then running for Vice President (which is a 3-year commitment for VP, President, and Immediate Past President roles).

How did you prepare for the campaign?

LS: I sought out to volunteer at local WICT events and get to know the existing Board members.  The connections I made were instrumental in my joining of the WICT Southeast Board in 2015 as the Senior Director of Partnerships.  I served in this role for two years and was elected Vice President in 2018, which led to me serving as President for 2019.

RG: I did some research about the position and then determined what I would do in that role to add to the success of the chapter if I were to be elected.  

JM: Being involved as a volunteer and participating in event organization calls, I already had a feel for the kind of commitment that was required, but if you’re interested in running and not sure, please reach out to Renita Griskel and have that discussion. I worked with a couple of close friends to prepare a personal statement that incorporated my previous WICT volunteer work.

After you were elected, what was your commitment (meetings, conference calls, events, etc.) on top of your day job?

LS: WICT Southeast is a working Board of dedicated professionals.  Each role is critical to our success as a multi-state chapter. My commitments have consisted of several weekly committee calls, monthly Board meetings and attending WICT SE events across GA, TN, and AL.

RG: The commitment ebbs and flows. There are times when I’m on call’s multiple times a day and multiple days a week. There are also times when I may not have a WICT call during the week. There are always emails or slack messages daily, but there is also help available when needed for an event or program. The board is very supportive and understanding that there is work, WICT, and life balance.

JM: This is my 7th year on the Southeast board, and the time commitment has varied, depending on the position I’ve held. Membership positions have a heavier commitment in the first quarter, as that is when the annual renewal period is. That said, you are always looking to have a touchpoint with your membership via mixers. Positions in Programming require more time when you are organizing an event, up through the day of the event. As Senior Director of Programming, I was leading a four-member team that was providing in-person and virtual leadership development content in 3 states. The previous 3 years were my busiest on the board, with chapter-wide travel and responsibilities that sometimes include lunchtime calls or staying late at work to make sure those duties are completed by their deadlines. I’m lucky my work schedule was flexible and, more importantly, that my supervisor was very supportive of my board service, which allowed me to make the most of my board position and my job.

What impact has the WICT Southeast board had on your career?

LS: Serving on the WICT Board has been one of the most rewarding opportunities for me!  My involvement in WICT has inspired me to pursue new challenges and has provided me the opportunity to develop and grow my leadership skills, formulate a robust and diverse network, and expand my scope of the complex industry we work in. 

RG: I have had an opportunity to connect one on one with executives at my own company and other companies which has been helpful from a networking standpoint.

JM: WICT has had a very positive effect on my career. I’ve gained a broader knowledge of the cable industry. I’ve enhanced skills, like public speaking, marketing, and creating PowerPoint slides, as well as leading 32 talented and hard-working board members. What is most rewarding, though, is having an impact on our members. Whether it’s hearing how someone was able to use a takeaway from a panel discussion or a workshop we just held for their own benefit, or that someone was glad that you encouraged them to participate in our mentoring program, it reminds me that the time and energy we put into our board service matters.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to run for the board?

LS: Simply put, just go for it!  If elected, serving on the Board is an opportunity for you to learn a new skill in a safe and supportive space or master a current one.  If possible, start volunteering at events and meeting other Board members – this will help you gain more insight on the responsibilities.  Lastly, be honest with yourself about the commitment your willing to make to serve on the Board.

RG: If you have a passion for WICT and what it stands for and want to channel that passion to help continue the successful impact that WICTSE has had on its members for nearly 40 years, then the board is for you! It is hard work, it takes up some of your time and some of your energy, but the tradeoff is what you’ll remember the most. The work you do on the board is rewarding, far-reaching and allows you to offer the membership base multiple developmental and professional growth opportunities.

JM: Talk to your supervisor about your desire to run for a board position, including what’s in it for them/your company. Whether it’s learning new skills, forging beneficial connections or leadership growth, make sure they understand the commitment of your time & resources, as their support is beneficial in your success as a board member.

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WICT Southeast is currently looking for enthusiastic, organized, and dedicated members who would like to run for the 2020 Board of Directors! Serving on the Board is a great way to expand your leadership skills, connect with a diverse group of professionals, and make a positive impact on the industry. Click here for more information.

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Kenya Brock is a WICT volunteer and the Director of Digital Operations and Marketing for The Katz Networks/The E.W. Scripps Company. She is a marketing, partnership, media and e-commerce professional with over 15 years of experience in developing and executing multi-platform marketing campaigns and B2B/B2C partnerships for national and local brands.

Is Joining a Board a Game-Changer?

You’ve likely heard that a board role can benefit your career. Whether it’s for a non-profit or an organization like WICT Southeast Chapter, serving on a board can provide professional growth opportunities and strengthen your personal brand. But since pursuing a board role may require a big investment of time and effort, is the payoff worth it? Absolutely. Here are some ways a board position could be a game-changer for you.drew-beamer-Se7vVKzYxTI-unsplash

Strengthen your professional credibility.

 Being tapped for a board position shows that an organization trusts you with a vital, visible, and high-impact role. It’s a public endorsement of your expertise and value. This affiliation is one you can promote, and it can raise your professional profile.

Grow your professional network.

 Board roles provide an incredible opportunity to meet influential and well-connected people. As you meet new people, be sure to connect in meaningful ways and cultivate relationships. As with anyone in your network, these relationships can be valuable when you’re ready to pursue the next step in your career.

Sharpen your skills.

 Serving on a board will help you to strengthen a variety of professional skills. Key among them is a collaboration, particularly how you work with other board members and leaders. A board role can also strengthen your leadership skills, especially if you are heading a committee. And, if the committee is spread out geographically, leading them can also help you brush up on remote management skills.

Increased visibility.

 Using your expertise to contribute to a board role will elevate your professional reputation. You’ll be seen as a dedicated, strategic, go-to person with great insight. Your visibility and value within the organization and with other business leaders will grow. These leaders, as well as your board colleagues, will see the benefits of working with you firsthand, which can be helpful as you pursue future opportunities.

 

Serving on a board is a great way to showcase your capabilities, no matter what type of board you serve. It will help broaden and sharpen skills, grow your professional network, and gain exposure to new areas of business that will drive professional growth. Joining a board will elevate your reputation and strengthen your personal brand, which are key elements to fuel career advancement.

For more information, check out this article from Ellevate.  Also, WICT Southeast is currently looking for enthusiastic, organized, and dedicated members who would like to run for the 2020 Board of Directors! Click here to find out more on how you can expand your leadership skills, connect with a diverse group of professionals, and make a positive impact on the cable industry.

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Lisa Conklin is on the internal communications team at Cox Communications in Atlanta (by way of Kansas), where she focuses on executive and employee communications. She describes herself as a triathlon junkie, solo traveler, and accidental hippie.

 

R.E.A.L MAN OF WICT: Corey Prince

WICT Southeast has lots of R.E.A.L Men in our chapter. These are our male members who personify Rewarding, Equality, and Leadership.   In this new interview series, we have five compelling Questions to get to know these R.E.A.L Men of WICT.

WICT Southeast blog writer, Ana Adler sat down with Corey Prince to get his take on what having a WICT Membership means to him.

Corey Prince

 

Name: Corey Prince

Location: Atlanta

Where do you currently work, and what’s your current role?  Senior Director of People Solutions at UpTV

Why did you join WICT? What inspired you to look past the W in the name?

Many years ago, I was invited to the Red Letter Awards. I was new to TV and hadn’t heard much about the organization at that time. But being at the gala and hearing the stories of all of these accomplished women, blew me away. I was so inspired. I remembered walking away saying to myself, “Wow, I need to be better, I need to do more.” Part of me just wanted to be a part of this success.  I wanted to learn from all these women. So, when I heard they accepted men as members, I jumped on it and joined. Months later, I connected with their Membership Director and asked them to come by the office to do a presentation on the benefits of becoming a member. Because the employees loved it so much, we decided to fund their WICT memberships in January each year. If you are interested, we will cover it. And to this day, we are still doing it.

What is it that you find most rewarding about being a member?

I think developing professional relationships with people is key, but it’s also about giving back.  It’s a great opportunity to learn about people, assess their needs, and then determine how I can help. I just like being inspired by the people I meet and I interact with.

In thinking of the theme of this series REAL men of WICT (Rewarding Equality and Leadership), how has membership in WICT influenced your thinking, either personally or professionally?

For me, it’s a reminder of the work we still have to do, particularly in my role in HR, around ensuring that people are working in environments that allow them to be successful. Making sure we bring people’s attention to unconscious bias and calling it out when we see it. Even as HR professionals, despite being trained not to let biases influence our decision, we still have to check ourselves and ensure we embrace people for who they are and what they bring to the table from a skillset standpoint.

Our theme this year is Inspire, and others will follow. What has worked for you in inspiring others?

Leading by example, not being afraid to show my vulnerability as a leader.  Being open to doing what is needed regardless of my position. It also means not being afraid to let people fail and supporting failure in a good way, by asking, “What would you do differently?” “How do we learn from it?” versus making anyone feel incompetent. That’s the last thing on my mind. That’s not how you do it. You just help them realize that part of their learning is figuring out what they would do differently. What you find is that people start doing it for themselves and you don’t have to prompt them anymore. That’s when you know you’ve hit it because now, they are walking themselves through that thought process.

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WICT Southeast Blog writer, Ana Adler is a tri-lingual freelance content creator whose mad skills include the words creative director, writer/producer, video editor, project manager, copywriter, and mamá.

 

 

3 UNEXPECTED PLACES TO FIND INSPIRATION

By Lisa Conklin

“Who inspires you?” It’s an age-old question successful people get asked all the time. Typical answers range from politicians to celebrities to humanitarians. But I want to encourage you to look beyond the obvious, to dig deeper and find nuggets of inspiration you may not realize are right in front of you. Here are three places I’ve found inspiration that may surprise you.

  1. Co-workers, but not the ones you think of first. A lot of times, when looking for inspiration in the workplace, we set our sights on the top leadership. And while those folks are certainly worthy, I’ve found just as much inspiration in my everyday colleagues.

Looking beyond our workplace interactions, I see co-workers who are also parents, bloggers, activists, and athletes. I see the mom of three daughters who, by the way, just beat breast cancer. I see the openly gay colleague bravely leading a Pride employee resource group. I see a gal successfully building her side-gig brand while rocking the bonus-mom life. I see the woman who keeps her spirits high while living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Each of these people gives me different levels of inspiration on a daily basis. And they probably have no idea that by being their true selves, they’ve sparked endless inspiration. Look for those people in your life or on your team. The ones who aren’t in the spotlight but are quietly doing good things against great odds.

  1. A mentee, an intern, or a high schooler. As the famous quote goes, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Or is it? Many of you are involved in mentoring programs through your company, through WICT or something informal. We usually hear stories about mentee learning from their mentor. But what if we flipped the script and sought inspiration from those we mentor, or from those with less experience?

I recently read about a program at my company called “MentorUP,” where women in frontline positions have the opportunity to mentor a leader at corporate headquarters. This unique structure has already resulted in deeper understanding, open dialogues, genuine connections, and undoubtedly, inspiration. How cool is that?

As I think about other ways to apply this idea, I consider the summer intern in my department or my teenage nephew, who just graduated high school. How can we harness the energy and drive young people naturally have – and use it as inspiration in our own lives? When I recently asked my nephew what one word was meaningful or inspirational to him (so I could engrave it on a bracelet), he immediately responded with the word “GO.” When I pressed him for the meaning, it was simple: “GO” was a reminder to keep going, to keep moving and to go out and achieve his dreams – just GO. I was surprised that something so simple could be so powerful, and I’ve thought about it almost every day since. Kids these days, #amiright?

  1. Yourself. I’m not saying you need to go all Saturday Night Live “Stuart Smalley” (did I just date myself?), but there really is something to positive affirmations. They’ve been scientifically linked to increased achievement and health benefits, among other things.

When I’m facing a tough challenge, it helps to look back at past experiences and put things in perspective. I think about times where I’ve done something just as hard before, or I’ve overcome a similar obstacle. Remembering that I’ve been successful in similar situations is, well, inspiring! In my personal life, I’m a marathoner and endurance athlete (the word “athlete” is used loosely here). When I’m exhausted, in pain or not sure I can get my bike up the next hill – I think back to my training and remember that I’ve done this distance before, or I’ve conquered a hill like this before – so I know without a doubt I can do it. This line of positive thinking has helped me cross some tough finish lines, both personally and professionally.

If you’re in unchartered territory, another idea is to focus on positive outcomes as inspiration. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line, completing the project, or getting the promotion. Much of our success in life comes down to our thought habits and patterns. Get into the habit of focusing on positive outcomes, rather than excuses, and be an inspiration to yourself.

 

With “inspire” being one of the WICT Touchstones of Leadership, I hope these three unexpected sources of inspiration resonate with you.

 

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Lisa Conklin is on the internal communications team at Cox Communications in Atlanta (by way of Kansas), where she focuses on executive and employee communications. She describes herself as a triathlon junkie, solo traveler, and accidental hippie.

Network Like a Boss

By Olivia Johnson

 

Networking is one of the most important things you can do in your career. It can be nerve-wracking and something we all dread, but that doesn’t negate its importance. There are times when you’re unsure of how to properly network or even simple do’s and don’ts of networking.

 

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind with the WICT Membership Mixer coming up!

 

Be engaged

Listening is key with networking but showing with body language that you’re actively engaged helps immensely. Making eye contact, smiling, and mirroring actions and posture of the person you’re listening to will help show you’re invested.

Ditch the sales pitch

Keep conversation light and fun by not trying to oversell yourself. Those you’re networking with will see a more realistic version of you if you’re not trying to recite your elevator pitch or list accomplishments. Be your genuine self, and that will speak volumes.

 

Don’t dominate the conversation

When meeting someone new, a nervous reaction might be to be constantly talking, but that won’t get you very far. The best way to network is to make the other person feel important. Ask them about themselves and actively listen to what they have to say. Being remembered as a talker won’t help you as much as being remembered as a great conversationalist.

 

Follow up

Following up after the appropriate amount of time is extremely crucial. A LinkedIn connection with a personal message or through contact information you’ve exchanged is the perfect way to stay in touch. Following up will allow you to keep a connection that you can have for years to come.

 

With the help of these tips, you should be able to inspire your connections with your ideas. Like the WICT Touchstone, ‘Inspire, and others will follow,” these connections, in turn, can help inspire you to reach your full potential.

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Try these tips at 2 upcoming WICT Southeast eventsJune 13th Birmingham, AL and June 25th in Atlanta, GA. Don’t forget, there is still time to join or renew your WICT membership today!

 

WICT Southeast’s blog writer, Olivia Johnson is a recent University of Tennessee graduate and content creator. She carries with her impressive skills in social media managing and copywriting. Currently, she is looking for the perfect job position to flex her skills. 

 

 

 

5 Questions for Wargo French’s David Pernini

Presented by: 

WICT SOUTHEAST BLOG WRITER, ANA ADLER SAT DOWN WITH David Pernini TO ASK HIM SOME QUESTIONS AND GET THE SCOOP ON WARGO FRENCH’S LEVEL UP: CHARTING A NEW COURSE WHEN YOUR CAREER IS AT A CROSSROAD FOR WICT SOUTHEAST. DON’T MISS THIS EXECUTIVE MEMBER EVENT, MAY 21ST IN ATLANTA.

 

Name: David Pernini

Location: Atlanta

Where do you currently work and what’s your current role? 

Managing Partner – Wargo French, a full-service law firm based in Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

What is your background and did you get involved with Cable Television?

 

It was through the law firm. My dad was in the Navy so I moved all around as a kid and landed in Atlanta in 1997. The Cable Industry is so big in Atlanta that, when you practice law, it’s almost impossible not to get involved. Working with the Cable Industry was something that happened organically. I think broadcasting in all forms brings up so many diverse legal issues that remain interesting and challenging.  It changes so much; you always have to be looking 3 or 4 steps ahead as to what the next technology is going to be. We’ve seen in our lifetime so many different types of technology and what appears will be the next great thing often fizzles out quickly and the technology you didn’t expect becomes huge. I remember when I first heard about Twitter and I thought it seemed like a silly idea and now it dominates. You have to be prepared.

 

Why did you join WICT and why do you support it?  What about WICT makes it important for other men to join?

 

I joined WICT through Wargo French. We’ve always had very strong women lawyers here. It always surprised me how for a long time in the legal profession it was just assumed that you had to be the white male with the gray hair to get the corner office. There’s so much talent out there that’s ignored and shouldn’t be ignored just because it doesn’t fit that paradigm. So, when Wargo French started supporting WICT it seemed like a perfect idea, and having men be a part of WICT reinforces that overcoming the existing paradigm is not a women’s issue but a societal issue and it makes it more difficult to ignore.

 

On May 21st, Wargo French is hosting an upcoming WICT executive event about pivoting careers during times of change.  What tips can you give our readers if their job is currently at a crossroad?

 

I think that everyone, at some point, reaches a crossroads in their career. Success comes from recognizing the adversity that you run into and learning from it in a good way. I’m a huge UVA basketball fan. In last year’s NCAA tournament, UVA was the number one team, they were supposed to be the best team in the tournament. The way it works in the tournament is that the best team plays the worst team in their bracket to start out. So that happened last year and UVA lost, they lost to the worst team in the tournament, and it was the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament that a number one seed had lost the first game. But they didn’t just lose, they got solid beat by 20 points, it was humiliating. This year UVA won the National Championship. It was fascinating to watch how the team did that. They didn’t just pretend that they had not had a humiliating loss; they embraced the adversity. They decided “this is not who we are, but we also cannot ignore that it happened, so how can we learn from that, own it and go forward?” I think we all can learn lessons from that story because adversity happens.  You’re going to encounter it, so you need to learn how overcome it, get the panic gone, and just take one step forward and do the next right thing. In my view, we can take the hardships that come up and say, “I own this, what does this teach me going forward, how can I learn from this, yet keep true to what I want?”  I find that’s ultimately the hardest part, people deciding what they want. That can be tough to give anyone advice on. People have to take the time to look at themselves and say, “here’s what I have, what is it that I want out of this?” Figuring out what’s important to you. Unfortunately, in the business world, we all want to make money, but that can’t be the only thing because it’s ultimately very unfulfilling.

 

What would you say is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Many of our readers are fresh out of college, what career advice would you give your 21-year self?

 

I don’t know if this is the best advice that I’ve been given but it’s the one that I often use as a lawyer, and it’s that it’s called the Practice of Law, it’s not called the Perfect of Law. Mistakes are going to happen. Your goal should be to make no mistakes, but you can’t have that as a realistic view. You will make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. When you do, see why it happened, see what you can do to prevent it in the future, acknowledge it and then move forward. I think if you try to pretend you didn’t do it you won’t learn from it. Conversely, if you focus on your mistakes too much, you’ll be stuck there. To go back to the UVA game, there’s a quote UVA coach referenced, “if you treat adversity right it will buy you a ticket to a place you couldn’t have gone any other way.”  I just love that reflection.

 

The WICT touchstone theme this year is Inspire and others will follow.  What characteristics do you admire in other leaders? What has worked for you in inspiring others to follow?

 

Calmness in an emergency. In litigation, which is what I do, you’re in a fight. There are always bad things happening and sometimes they’re worse than others. Being able to keep your cool, under those circumstances, is what I look for in people I’m going to follow. In turn, when the associates that work for me come in and they’re panicked about a situation, I try to stay calm about it without ignoring how serious it is.

 

This is a random thought but, someone gave me and my wife this advice for our wedding a long time ago: When you’re planning for a wedding accept that two things are going to go wrong.  When they happen, instead of panicking, you remember there were going to be things that go wrong and they did. Having that attitude when something comes up allows people to press forward.

 

One caveat is that calm can sometimes go too far, and calm can be viewed as a lack of understanding of the magnitude of the problem. That’s really the balance of a good leader, being able to stay calm and still show that I understand how serious a problem is, especially with clients.  If I call the client and I’m just completely calm just as their world is falling apart, that can also be problematic. I need to have the empathy to show I understand what they’re going through. To show I’m not just being calm because it’s not important, I’m being calm because I’m trying to get to the solution.

 

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Wargo & French LLP and WICT Southeast are partnering together May 21st in Atlanta provide executive members insights on navigating career paths when changes arise. Learn more

 

 

Ana Adler is a tri-lingual freelance content creator whose mad skills include the words writer/producer, video editor, project manager, copywriter, and mamá.

 

 

Five Questions for Cisco’s Morgan Bondon

WICT Southeast blog writer, Ana Adler sat down with Morgan Bondon to ask him 5 burning questions and get the scoop on Cisco’s Inspire to Innovate Fellowship for WICT Southeast.

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Morgan Bondon

Where are you located: Atlanta

Where do you currently work and what’s your current role? 

Vice President, Sales Cable & Media, Americas Service Provider – Cisco

 

 

Why did you join WICT? What inspired you to look past the W in the name?

A couple of reasons, I have an older sister who graduated from Northwestern with a degree in Math.  She went into the “real world” and felt very intimidated in the business world because she was a woman. I was younger and didn’t have an appreciation or understanding of why she felt that way, but that really kind of inspired me to try and make a difference in that if I ever got the opportunity. Secondly, I have a 17-year-old daughter and I’ll be damned if that ever happens to her. I really feel we’re at a moment in time right now, with our generation, to truly make the permanent difference. I want to do everything, on every platform that I have, to help that cause. Also, it’s my industry and I love the people, and I don’t really see a “W” or an “M”, I’m on the board and it’s not uncomfortable for me, I enjoy it.

 

What is it that you find most rewarding about being a member?

I know it may sound cliché, but just listening. I learn a lot and, as much as I have passion around WICT, what it offers and what it can provide, it doesn’t mean that I have a true appreciation and understanding of the issues women face. I have not experienced that in my life and there is nothing I can do to change that, so I like listening and learning. Some of the stories blow me away, I don’t think that way and I can’t believe what some people do, but it’s a good uncomfortable to listen to the challenges that some of these women have had. A good uncomfortable because I’m learning the realities of what people have gone through that I just have never had to go through personally and an appreciation and it makes me a better person, a better leader, a better father a better husband, everything, it makes me better.

 

In thinking of the theme of REAL Men of WICT (Rewarding Equality and Leadership), how has membership in WICT influenced your thinking, either personally or professionally?

To get specific on it, I’m definitely more aware. There may not be a female candidate in the interviewing pool of a job, but I will make sure to have at least one on the hiring panel. I have a much better appreciation and I apply it in my thought process. When I’m talking to other male members of my team, I try to really impress upon them the importance of inclusion because, unless you’ve really taken the time to understand someone’s story, it’s hard to even put that in your mindset when you’re doing an interview. WICT has given me a different perspective and that’s a good thing.

 

Our theme this year is Inspire and others will follow. What has worked for you in inspiring others?

I’m always inspired by learning, as much as I love to talk. I have an Italian mom and talking is what we do, but I really love to listen, and the leaders that have inspired me the most are the ones I learn from, and you can’t learn if you don’t listen. I get more out of conversations with the leaders that have truly made an impression because I learn a lot from them, not just about business, but in general. The leaders I’ve gravitated to have always given me life examples, not just data, and I try to do the same. People tick differently.  If I know they love to travel, for example, I talk to them about that, I try to connect with them on a level that humanizes the interaction. I think so often now we get into this data-driven world and we forget the human element, so I try to make sure that I’m a human first and a leader second.

 

Cisco is providing an Inspire to Innovate fellowship this year. Why do you feel it is important to transform the way we think about and practice innovation? Why invest in a WICT member?

Look if we don’t innovate what are we leaving behind?  I look at what the internet provides: So many wonderful things but also so many awful things. So many people just blindly do things that the internet provides because it’s as easy as the touch of a button, but they don’t think through the consequences of that. So, innovation to me is making sure people understand what could happen but continuing to innovate to make sure we can leverage the good that technologies bring us. That’s what is really important to me. And why WICT? I mean for all the reasons I already told you, it’s a no brainer. I look at my daughter and that’s all I have to do, it’s very simple for me. Chuck Robbins our CEO has really instituted a lot of changes and a high percentage of his executive staff is female. And it’s not by “design.” If you take the time and allow yourself the right process, the right things happen naturally. And so, as a company, we’re massively focused on diversity, all kinds of diversity, not just male-female.

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Apply today for the WICT Southeast Inspire to Innovate Fellowship to attend the Fall CableLabs Innovation Boot camp that will be held Oct. 15 – 18, 2019 in Colorado. The application deadline is May 31st, 2019. Click here to find out more.

 

WICT Southeast’s Ana Adler is a tri-lingual freelance content creator whose mad skills include the words writer/producer, video editor, project manager, copywriter, and mama.

 

 

 

Be Fearless and INSPIRE Others

Contributed by Kathy Oakes

Eleven years ago this fall I got a new boss. In one of our first one on ones, she suggested I join WICT. I told her that I didn’t think I had the time. As a single mom of a nine-year-old daughter, I was already working 40+ hours a week. She played on a travel soccer team, so all my free time was spent at her practice or tournaments. My new boss very gently turned the suggestion that I join WICT into a line item on my Individual Development Plan. Anyone who knows me knows that I like to check things off my IDP like a NASCAR driver likes to go fast. I thought fine, I’ll join, but it will be a waste of money. I don’t have the time or energy to juggle anything else right now.

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes. I look back now and almost find it hard to remember a time that I wasn’t actively involved in WICT. I attended my first WICT event a few months after that initial conversation with my boss. It was a lunch that included a panel of brilliant and successful ladies. I very quickly realized that my stubbornness was not going to win this time. I wanted to learn more. My local chapter sponsored an essay contest for the chance to attend Cable Boot Camp in Denver. I entered and won!! Long gone was my resistance. I jumped in with both feet. A few years later I joined the WICT Southwest board as the Programming Director. I enjoyed planning events and seeing them come to fruition. Two years later I was elected President. Me! The girl who swore there weren’t enough hours in the day. Through WICT I learned about the Touchstones of Leadership. Leigh Woisard showed me how to know myself, what I stand for and where I am headed. Maria Brennan taught me how to communicate with passion and poise. Fran Mallace showed me how to connect to my peers, my industry and everything around me. Nancy Murphy showed me the beauty of being a catalyst and how to set the wheels of change in motion. I’ve attended the most amazing leadership conferences in NYC. Being selected to participate in Rising Leaders in 2017 literally changed my life.

Just over a year ago I got an awesome promotion at work. I relocated from Phoenix to Atlanta and joined WICT Southeast. Immediately, I had an amazing, brand-new network of fellow leaders and friends. I joined the board as the Director of Social Media. I settled into my new role and life was good. Better than good. Queue the dramatic music…

I connected with a friend back in Arizona who was recently divorced. We had been friends for years but had lost touch. As we rekindled our friendship, a wonderful and unexpected thing happened. We fell in love! He asked me to marry him, and I said YES. We navigated a long-distance relationship with monthly visits. He shares custody of his two small boys with his ex-wife, so moving to Atlanta was out of the question. I had been in my new role for less than nine months. I wasn’t ready to pack up and move back to Arizona. So, we decided to wait it out.

My entire career I’ve coached my direct reports about the importance of having a work-life balance. But candidly, I never felt like that applied to me. I was a single mom. I needed to work harder. I had something to prove. It sounds silly to say those words out loud. But that is the tape that’s played in my head for almost twenty years. A few months ago, I had my thyroid removed. Dave flew to Atlanta to help me recover. When it was time for him to return to Arizona, I asked myself what I was doing. Here was the love of my life, living 1800 miles away from me. When would I be brave enough to put myself first? It turns out the answer is now.

I’m moving back to Arizona. We’re getting married. I’m leaving a job I LOVE to start a life with the man of my dreams. My boss is graciously allowing me to work remotely through the end of April. After that, it’s up to me. I have a few leads, but it’s scary!! Being fearless and confident in your convictions as you take risks is no joke. I have zero doubt that WICT helped me get here. It will continue to help me as I discover what’s next.

That nine-year-old girl I told you about before is now a sophomore in college. It will be nice to be a two-hour drive away from her once again. Telling my story is scary. But just maybe I can inspire someone in the way others have inspired me.

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Kathy Oakes is the former Director of Social WICT Southeast. Chuniq Power, Brand Manager at Aspire TV, will assume the role.

3 Questions for the Taste of WICT – Knoxville Panelists

The Taste of WICT – Knoxville is today! Food, wine, and networking make for an exciting evening. Elianna Carlton, Kim Kanary, and Kenley Smith Early are our three amazing panelists and we want you to get to know them. We asked each panelist 3 questions leading up to the today’s event. Read all of their INSPIRING answers below. Still need to sign up for Taste of WICT- Knoxville? Go HERE to register.

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ECarltonElianna Carlton

Vice President, Human Resources Comcast

Our theme for WICT this year is INSPIRE. Who has INSPIRED you throughout your career and why?

EC: My father has been a huge inspiration throughout my life, specifically in my career. He has been in business for himself over 40 years. I have watched him masterfully handle situations with exemplar diplomacy. He is a man that has had significant challenges both professionally and personally, through adversity and perseverance, he overcame significant obstacles and is a renowned expert and author in his field. He has inspired me in my career (and in life) to learn from my mistakes, and continue to keep moving forward, while treating others with dignity and respect – regardless of the situation.

The Taste of WICT is a signature event and a great way for people to network. What three tips can you give our readers on the best way to network at these type of events?

EC: 1) Challenge yourself to meet 2 to 3 new people you have not met before.

2) When you meet new people exchange contact information and look to connect at a future date after the event.

3) If you are attending the event with friends and colleagues, invite those you do not know into the conversation, especially if they are by themselves.

How has WICT helped you throughout your career?

EC: WICT has helped me network and meet others that I would likely not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. WICT has also helped me stay relevant on what is occurring in our industry and has opened my mind to new ideas.

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KKanary 01 (1)Kim Kanary

Vice President of Community Development & Engagement
Jewelry Television
Our theme for WICT this year is INSPIRE. Who has INSPIRED you throughout your career and why?
KK: Many people have inspired me throughout my career. I believe inspiration can come in moments big and small, positive and negative. I look for behaviors in others that I’d like to emulate, as well as those which I’d like to avoid. I’ve had some amazing mentors and supporters that have helped me get to where I am today. I’ve also had some detractors which I’ve been able to overcome – finding inspiration in less than desirable circumstances or interactions can provide some of our most significant lessons and growth opportunities, so when faced with this type of situation, I try to turn it into a positive – into a motivator and lesson. So, overall, I’d say that I really look for inspiration in all I do and have been fortunate to have been inspired by many over the years.
The Taste of WICT is a signature event and a great way for people to network. What three tips can you give our readers on the best way to network at these type of events?
KK: 1) When networking, look to make genuine connections with people. Building a network requires time and diligence, but stick with it – what you get out of it will be proportionate to the time and effort you invest into it.
2) Seek out people you admire in roles to which you eventually aspire. Request an informational interview so you can get tips and advice. Be sure to send them a genuine thank you card or email and maintain contact with them. Keep in touch with your network when you don’t need anything from them. This will enable you to establish genuine relationships, and then when you do need help, you’ll have more of any emotional bank account established with them from which you can withdraw.

3) Pay it forward. When someone asks you for advice or an informational interview, be sure to take the time to try to help despite your busy schedule. Remember all the people who helped you along the way and seek to do the same for others. You’ll find this to be very rewarding in return.

How has WICT helped you throughout your career?

KK: I am actually new to this group, but it’s certainly beneficial to develop camaraderie with people of similar backgrounds, industries or professional interests. Being part of groups that empower peer-to-peer learning and collaboration can be beneficial throughout one’s career.

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Kenley Smith Early

Director, Brand Marketing and Partnerships
Discovery, Inc.

Our theme for WICT this year is INSPIRE. Who has INSPIRED you throughout your career and why?

KE: It’s interesting to think about who’s inspired me over the past 20 plus years of my career. There are some people who stand out for positive reasons and some who stand out for not so great ones. Regardless, you learn from all experiences. It may not feel like that when you are in the thick of a situation, but someday you’ll look back and realize that you take something from every experience. I’ll start with someone who has always inspired me professionally…Shannon Driver, General Manager, US Brand Marketing, Discovery. I’ve worked with Shannon for several years in different capacities. However, in 2013, Shannon became my supervisor. At that time, I was a marketing manager and had had some professional challenges. Everything changed once I began reporting to Shannon. She believed in me and treated me as an equal. All those doubts I had about myself started to disappear and my professional confidence returned. Later that year, I was promoted to director. All I needed was someone to inspire me and guide me down the right path. Even though I no longer report directly to Shannon, she still inspires me. I’ve learned so much from her about the colleague, supervisor, and friend that I aspire to be.

Now let’s talk about personal inspiration. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a group of eleven women that I’ve been friends with for over 20 years. We met in high school and college and are still incredibly close to this day. We often use the following hashtag on our social media posts and text exchanges – #notnormal. As I write this, I think about the fact that our friendships really aren’t normal. Who has that many close friends that they see regularly for game nights and take girl’s trips once a year? Recently one of these ladies was diagnosed with breast cancer. The way this group has pulled together to support her has been incredibly inspirational to me. You see we’ve all had challenges – losing parents, divorces, work challenges, etc. but thru it all this group remains strong. I’ve always known they were special but the evening that I was at my house putting together a chemo basket for our dear friend and seeing all the care and effort that had gone into this, I was even more aware of the awesomeness of these ladies. They inspire me to be my best every day and for that I am truly thankful.

The Taste of WICT is a signature event and a great way for people to network. What three tips can you give our readers on the best way to network at these type of events?

KE: Let’s be honest networking is not easy for anyone. I’m an incredibly outgoing person and can talk to almost anyone, but I still find it challenging. The three tips I would offer are…first, you are not alone. Everyone in the room feels the same way…nervous. So bear that in mind when you attend events, do your best to chat with someone new and remember they are just as nervous as you. Second, come prepared. If you want to speak to a specific person, research them a bit and find something to ask them about, that always helps to break the ice and you never know what you may learn. Third, and this applies to situations where alcohol is being served, always limit yourself in professional situations. I will never forget being at a networking event many years ago and a colleague had entirely too much to drink. This person was slurring words and could not stand very well. Those are things people never forget and you don’t want to be judged on something like that later on.

How has WICT helped you throughout your career?

KE: WICT has played an important role in my career. Everything from attending the local networking opportunities, participating in conferences and seminars, and being a Rising Leaders graduate has helped build my professional confidence. As I said earlier, I’ve had some professional challenges in my 20 plus year career. However, my WICT involvement has always given me a sense of renewal. I love hearing about colleague’s career paths, their positive experiences, and challenges. It always makes me realize that I’m not alone in any situation and I have a very large group of women who can provide advice and guidance when needed.

What do you love about WICT? Part Three.

It’s Valentine’s Day! To celebrate in the spirit of the holiday, we asked some of our members to share what they love about WICT. We started sharing quotes on February 12th and today is the final day. See below to see what a few of them had to say!

I first joined WICT in 2007 and have served on a WICT Board of Directors since 2012. My engagement in WICT has helped me strengthen a variety of professional skills, specifically people management and leadership. I’ve been inspired to pursue new challenges and utilize my strengths to make a positive impact in the industry and community. — LaShaun Solomon, 2019 WICT Southeast President & Comcast – Xfinity Communities Sales

What I love the most about WICT is how it has given me exposure and access to opportunities that I may not have received otherwise, including professional development courses, webinars, and networking events. Within this international network, peers and colleagues have given me invaluable advice, much of which has allowed me to overcome numerous career obstacles. — Daphne Ternoir, Image Administrator, Discovery

SCTE was a great way for me to understand cable beyond my role in advertising. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see all the pieces of our huge web of cable — from installation supplies to diversity recruitment efforts, SCTE had it all! I enjoyed the speakers, including those from Comcast! Thanks WICT for providing this great opportunity full of learning and networking. — Sequoyah A. Glenn, MBA, Advertising Research Analyst, 2, Comcast Spotlight

There are three things I love most about WICT: being inspired by the stories of other successful women; picking up professional development “tips and tricks” from the great programming; and meeting incredible women (and men) across the industry whose paths I’d likely never cross without WICT. — Marsha Maldonado, Business Improvement Executive Lead, Turner, & WICT Southeast Director, Partnerships

Now it’s your turn: What do you love about WICT? And check our blog postings from February 12th and 13th to see more great quotes!

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You can share the love at upcoming Taste of WICT events: Feb. 21 in Knoxville, TN, and Feb. 26 in Atlanta. Don’t miss out: Join or renew your WICT membership today!