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What do you love about WICT? Part Two.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! To celebrate in the spirit of the holiday, we asked some of our members to tell us what they love about WICT. Beginning yesterday, February 12th, through Valentine’s Day, we are sharing what a few of them had to say!

When you are involved in WICT to any degree, you are actively touching members’ lives. Whether helping to grow their leadership abilities via an event you volunteered for, widening their network of professionals, or even encouraging them to run for the board of directors, it is rewarding to know that you made a positive contribution to someone’s life and career. — Jamie Miller, Director, HGTV Program Planning, Discovery, Inc.

I love WICT because it allows me to be surrounded by inspiring and talented people in and around my industry. I’ve made fantastic connections and have learned something from every person I have met. — Kenya Brock, Director of Digital Operations and Marketing, Katz Networks (E.W. Scripps Co.)

My time with WICT is just getting started, but I love how it’s already pushed me out of my comfort zone and into board membership. I’m so lucky to serve with a great group of ladies and mentors in the Southeast! — Katie Farritor, RFD-TV Executive Producer & WICT Southeast Programming Director, Nashville

EVERY WICT event that I have attended has left me more inspired, motivated, encouraged, focused, informed, and empowered — overall better equipped for success. These words are sometimes overused, or only used because they sound good, but I mean them literally. All of these things take place within me when I sit and listen to highly successful women — ones I would normally never meet or be exposed to — speak openly about their successes, doubts, past fears, struggles, strategies, and solutions. It is invaluable to be around women who have done it well and don’t mind sharing how they did it and how they are currently doing it. — Elisa Wright, Pricing, Planning & Inventory Manager, Spectrum Reach

While I’ve always considered myself, by definition, a natural leader, it wasn’t until I became a student and steward of WICT principles that I learned how to be a true servant leader. I absolutely LOVE what we do!!! — Dana Dawson, Senior Project Manager, Cox Enterprises

Now it’s your turn: What do you love about WICT? Read yesterday’s post and check out tomorrow’s post for 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!

 

What do you love about WICT? Part One.

Valentine’s Day is once again upon us. To celebrate in the spirit of the holiday, we asked some of our members to share what they love about WICT. Starting today, through Valentine’s Day, we’ll share what a few of them had to say!

I love the friendships I’ve made and the badass women I’ve met. — Kathy Oakes, Senior Manager of Business Process, Cox

Like Kathy Oakes, I have made a ton of great friends through WICT Southeast. They have provided great networking opportunities and career-building events. Honestly, this is probably one of the top professional organizations that I have ever joined. — Valerie Carrillo, Senior Writer/Producer, Brand Creative, HGTV/DIY Network/GAC, Discovery

I am a member of WICT because I can’t conceive of not being a member. WICT gives me a chance to meet and work with amazing women, generate ideas for continued growth of its members and community, and participate in meaningful events that can be the cornerstone of success and self-accomplishment in the workplace and personally. The telecommunications industry is ever-changing and WICT spreads awareness of these changes. It provides its members with holistic information to be forward-thinking, inspirational, and fearless. — Angela Manring, Corporate Marketing Specialist, Cox Business

WICT is transformational. The more you get involved, the more impact it has on your personal and professional growth. I am one of many people who can say that WICT changed my life, and I am grateful that our industry has such an amazing organization. — Sheri McGaughy, Principal, McGaughy Law

I love the opportunity to network and meet amazing women who have a passion for the cable and telecommunications industry. WICT is an inclusive association, allowing members to share their diverse backgrounds and experiences — helping each other grow in the process. I’ve been a WICT member for more than 25 years and on the board for more than 10. It’s been a joy to participate and to serve! – Kathy Hatala, SVP, National Accounts, Speakeasy

Now it’s your turn: What do you love about WICT? And check back tomorrow for 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!

 

 

What are your goals for 2019?

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Contributed by Patricia Sanchez Lee

A new year brings the promise of a new you, the chance to reinvent yourself if you wish. Now that 2019 is upon us, it’s time to think beyond the usual routine of making new year’s resolutions and instead focus on new year’s goals. A resolution, like a promise, is easy to make and, as we all know, just as easy to break. A goal, on the other hand, is an objective, something to focus on achieving, attaining, and, if you’re lucky, surpassing. A goal motivates and drives you forward. A goal also offers the chance to inspire yourself — and maybe others, as well.

So what are your goals for 2019? Think about how you want to do better in your personal and professional life. What will make you happy and feel like you’re the best version of yourself you can be?

Perhaps you’re aiming to be healthier. Use that as inspiration to invite friends to join you for cooking classes, weekly walks, hikes, yoga sessions, or bike rides. Because getting healthier can be fun — and social. Maybe one of your goals is to be more creative. Let that inspire you to sign up for an art or writing class. Learning how to manage stress and relaxing could inspire you to start meditating. Maybe learning a new language will inspire you to travel so you can practice what you’ve learned. Or you can re-energize yourself, so you are once again the professional go-getter you set out to be. You might even be inspired to make a bigger change — it’s never too late to change a job or career and find that position that will fulfill you.

Once you start setting goals for yourself, you’ll find inspiration is all around you. Finding motivation to achieve goals you have for 2019 is a win-win situation, without the pressure of trying to maintain resolutions throughout the whole year. The more you meet your goals, however big or small, the more others will seem within reach. The more your friends, family, and colleagues see you meet your personal and professional goals, the more they’ll be inspired to set and reach their own. Inspiring others while inspiring yourself is a great way to spend 2019.

What goals have you set for yourself this year? Share with us below how you plan to find your inspiration in 2019.

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By day Patricia Sanchez Lee is a writer, editor, and photo curator for HGTV.com. By night (OK, mostly her free time) she is a photographer, aspiring novelist, and blogger. An often-accidental remodeler (hello, pinhole tub leak!), she maintains a laundry list of remodeling and organizational projects for her 1969 ranch house that she works on during her free time. Her house is full of her photography, her husband’s and daughter’s original artwork, her son’s toys, and built-in bookcases overflowing with books.

A Welcome Letter from the New Chapter President

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LaShaun Solomon President WICT Southeast

This year, WICT celebrates 40 years of developing women leaders and advocating for gender diversity and inclusion. WICT currently serves over 10,500 members across the media and telecommunications industry and is the largest and most renowned organization representing women in cable. Now more than ever, businesses and leaders recognize the tremendous attributes women bring to work cultures, making groups like WICT more critical than ever. With the foundation of the WICT Touchstones of Leadership, 2019 represents the year to INSPIRE for the WICT Southeast Chapter.

I first joined WICT in 2007 and have served on a WICT Board of Directors since 2012. In 2015, I joined the Southeast Chapter Board as the Senior Director of Partnerships and over the two years I held this position, I received the WICT National June Travis Fellowship in 2016 to attend the WICT Leadership Conference and was awarded Chapter Leader of the Year in 2017. Last year, I started my 3-year commitment as an Executive Leader and I am truly honored to serve as the 2019 President of the WICT Southeast Chapter.

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. It is my personal goal to ensure your membership provides value, personal and professional growth, connection opportunities to leadership groups and access to events that matter. In this year to INSPIRE, WICT Southeast chapter members can look forward to:

Unique professional development opportunities specific to the Southeast Chapter

  • WICT Southeast 2019 “Inspire to Innovate” Fellowship powered by Cisco – WICT Southeast is pleased to offer a new scholarship that will award two members the opportunity to attend the Fall 2019 CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp – an immersive 3 ½ day learning experience that will transform the way you think about and practice innovation.

Collaborations with company Employee Resource Groups and other Associations

  • In partnership with TECHWomen of ComcastNBCUniversal, WICT Southeast members will have opportunities to attend inspirational breakfast forums that will help take their careers to new heights.

Volunteer opportunities

  • Community outreach efforts to provide career readiness skills to underserved groups.

WICT membership is open to both women and men. Please be sure to renew your membership to take advantage of what WICT Southeast has slated for 2019. If you are not a current member, now is the time to join . The WICT Southeast chapter exists to serve our members with FREE professional development programs and we can’t do it alone. To our 2018 sponsors: Comcast, Cisco, Turner, Wargo French, Cox, Arris, HBO, Spectrum Reach, Discovery, Up TV, aspire, World Wide Technology, The Weather Channel, Ridgeline Coaching, and the many companies that sponsored tables at our Red Letter Awards gala – THANK YOU! 2018 would not have been possible without your support and we look forward to partnerships in 2019.

On behalf of the WICT Southeast Board of Directors, thank you for joining us on this mission to create and INSPIRE women leaders!

LaShaun Solomon
President
WICT Southeast

CHAPTER PRESIDENT’S END OF YEAR MESSAGE


Our last chapter event of 2018 just wrapped up, so before things wind down for the holidays, and before the baton is officially passed to incoming 2019 Chapter President LaShaun Solomon, I wanted to take moment to thank you all for this amazing year.

I have been privileged to work with the Southeast board of directors, a team of 31 dedicated industry professionals who give their time and talents to help fulfill WICT’s mission. Working alongside the board is our army of passionate volunteers. You may have read a blog post one wrote, or been greeted by another when arriving at an event. And there’s the folks who help behind the scenes ordering the catering, booking a speaker, organizing a judging panel and many others who contributed to the success of this year’s 16 in-person or virtual leadership development programs, five membership events, mentoring programs for students and professionals, and a celebration of the 2018 Red Letter honorees.

I am grateful for our generous sponsors and corporate champions. Their financial support keeps our leadership training and mentoring programs free for members, and their executives provide us with inspiring panelists, mentors, and support for participation in WICT by our most valuable asset – nearly 1200 members who are the lifeblood of this organization.

Our chapter has seen its share of the disruption and transition occurring in our industry. For those who have been affected, I urge you to stay connected and involved with WICT. You are not alone. Now more than ever we need our professional network, and WICT Southeast member companies represent many different facets of this ever-evolving industry.

It has been an honor to serve as President of this chapter and it’s been a gift to meet and talk with so many of you as I’ve traveled throughout our region. While I joke that I’m moving into semi-retirement on the board, I hope to see you at an upcoming WICT Southeast event.

With much gratitude and appreciation,

Jamie Miller

2018 WICT Southeast President

WARM MEMORIES FROM 2018

Contributed by Michelle Gilstrap

Before I can truly enjoy the holiday season and think about how my sweater is going to be uglier than everyone else’s, I’ve got finish my self-review. It’s due next week. It should be so easy. Right? Wrong.

After I sit and stare at a blank Word document for a few minutes, I look at my work emails for inspiration. It seems like nothing pops up until an email about renewing my WICT membership presents itself. And then, it hit me! Eureka! I finally know what I’m going to write.

I started thinking about my involvement in organizations like WICT over the past year. Then, I started to think about all of the women who encouraged me to get more involved. At the beginning of the year, I was thrilled when I saw a few of the women from my 2017 WICT mentoring circle. Shelley Hoffmann was a part of my circle and is the current Senior Director of WICT Programming. She enjoyed her involvement with WICT, and it was infectious. I too wanted to help the organization thrive.

While volunteering, I’ve crossed paths with some amazing women and men. They have inspired me to follow their lead and assist WICT whenever I can. They inspired me to read powerful books like Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I’ve also blogged and helped them plan the 2018 Red Letter Award Ceremony.

We can all celebrate the many accomplishments that we’ve made in our careers and organizations. But thinking about the people who lit that fire and the others that feel it’s warmth, made it celebration more meaningful to me. Sometimes when you are inspired, others will follow.

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Michelle Gilstrap works for CNN Tours at the world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Her hobbies include traveling, video production, finding fashion trends and hanging out with her friends and family. She has been a member of WICT since 2016 when fellow Turner colleagues like Torrae Lawerence and Eunice Reger (past WICT SE Senior Director of Membership) encouraged her to join.

 

WICT Southeast announces 2019 Board of Directors

Women in Cable Telecommunications Southeast (WICT SE) Chapter announces the members of its 2019 Board of Directors.

The WICT SE Board represents the diverse functions of the cable industry and brings together members from 15 companies located in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Each member has dynamic experience, distinctive perspectives, and backgrounds.

LaShaun Solomon (Comcast) incumbent Vice President rises to President in 2019. Renita Griskel (Discovery, Inc.) incumbent Director of Programming TN (Knoxville) transitions to Vice-President. Jamie Miller (Discovery, Inc.) incumbent President will move to Immediate Past President.

The complete list of all the incoming board members appears below.

The board also recently voted on the 2019 Touchstone, which is: INSPIRE and others will follow.

2019 WICT Southeast Board of Directors
POSITION NAME COMPANY
President LaShaun Solomon Comcast
Vice President Renita Griskel Discovery, Inc
Immediate Past President Jamie Miller Discovery, Inc
Chapter Adviser Sheri McGaughy McGaughy Law
Secretary Angela Manring Cox Communications
Sr. Treasurer Tendai Mashingaidze Aspire TV
Treasurer Stephanie Brown Comcast
Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications Valerie Carrillo Discovery, Inc
Director of Communications Elizabeth Rasberry Cox Communications
Director of Design Daphne Ternoir Discovery, Inc
Director of Social Media Marketing Kathy Oakes Cox Communications
Director of Digital Technology Valerie Ragsdale Cox Communications
Sr. Director of Membership Amanda Cisko Cox Communications
Director of Membership GA & AL Devon Croom Cox Communications
Director of Membership TN Sarah Miller Comcast
Director of Outreach Shakira Isom Comcast
Sr. Director of Programming Katie Duncan Discovery, Inc
Director of Programming AL Melissa Ralph Spectrum Reach
Director of Programming GA Dana Dawson Cox Enterprises
Director of Programming GA Jay Brown Arris
Director of Programming TN Leah Gould Discovery, Inc
Director of Programming TN Katie Farritor RFD-TV
Sr. Director of Mentoring Shelley Hoffmann Healthgrades
Director of Mentoring GA & AL Corrie Michals Comcast
Director of Mentoring TN Erika Weaver Discovery, Inc
Sr. Director of Partnerships Janine Bowling Arris
Director of Partnerships Marsha Maldonado Turner
Sr. Director of Red Letter Awards Ellen English Wargo French
Director of Red Letter Awards Gimette DeLaughter Cox Communications
Director at Large – Bylaws Jennifer Thompson Patrick Law Group
Director at Large – Partnership Janine Johnson Comcast
Director at Large – Executive Outreach Kathy Hatala Speakeasy, Inc
Director at Large – Chapter Expansion Kimberley Euston PwC

My #TimesUp Moment

Written by WICT blog volunteer, Kenya Brock

“If we don’t center the voices of marginalized people, we’re doing the wrong work.”
Tarana Burke
Founder of Just Be, Inc., civil rights activist, and originator of ‘MeToo’

When I was asked to write about a blog post leading up to the Moving from #MeToo to #TimesUp: Be a Catalyst for Positive Change WICT Southeast event, I literally had no clue what to write. I don’t have a #MeToo moment, but sadly I know many who do. But after reading the description, I realized the event is about both #MeToo and #TimesUp and that changed my mind about what to write.

When I was in high school, I had a summer job where I worked at a sporting goods store. I remember the boss telling me and another woman that we couldn’t work in the shoe section because women are better at selling clothes rather than athletic shoes. I was only 15 at the time and I remember being extremely annoyed, but I never said anything. I didn’t feel like I could speak up to my older, male boss for fear of being reprimanded or fired. So unfortunately, I kept my mouth shut and finished my summer job…never to return there or buy shoes from that store again.

Was that my #TimesUp moment?

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have had all types of people doing a deep dive into their past. There’s a lot of digging up memories (some perhaps repressed and/or painful) and reflecting on situations inside and outside of the workplace. Was I harassed, abused or discriminated against? Was I a harasser, abuser, or a discriminator? This self-reflection isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be. But it is absolutely necessary.

The stories from the victims that have come out of both movements are harrowing, frustrating, and scary. The fact that they’re able to tell their stories is downright courageous. The realization that shame, as well as fear from people in positions of power, is what kept these victims from speaking up makes my blood boil, but I can relate, because I’ve been there on more than one occasion.

As a woman and as a person of color, I am unfortunately used to being discriminated against. I have been spoken over in meetings, left out of important conversations, and blatantly ignored while being in the room. But through various ways, be it a mentor, effective leadership training, support from key people, etc., I’ve learned my voice counts and I matter. At the same time, I try to be a voice, sounding board, whatever is necessary, for those who’ve been through what I have been through. Having those conversations and recognizing you’re not alone is very important in the process of change and healing.

But here’s the thing, everyone’s situation and experience is different. Not everyone has someone they can easily talk to and get guidance from. My 15-year-old self kept that anger and fear inside but my older self may have reported my boss to HR had I properly known and understood the resources available. I’m glad to see all of the wonderful information on the #MeToo and #TimesUp websites as they are an excellent way for people experiencing various types of abuse and discrimination (within and outside of the workplace), to find support and resources. The key is to live in a world where these resources aren’t necessary, but until then they will exist.
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Want to learn more about what’s next for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement in our industry? Join industry leaders in areas including HR diversity and inclusion, production executives, and more in a discussion about what better looks like at the Moving from #MeToo to #TimesUp: Be a Catalyst for Positive Change event. Click here to register and learn more.

2018 Red Letter Awards: A Note from the WICT National President

Congratulations

Members of the WICT Southeast Chapter, 2018 Red Letter Award Recipients & Honored Guests:

As the Red Letter Awards celebrates its fifteenth year, I’d like to congratulate the Southeast Chapter of WICT for bringing diversity and inclusion front and center by honoring the accomplishments of several of the industry’s most extraordinary leaders. The Red Letter Awards are a key event for the WICT community and industry at large. You should be proud of the work you are doing to highlight the tremendous impact the honorees have made to challenge the status quo and promote progress.

To this year’s honorees, this is your moment to shine. You are the reason why WICT works so hard to make the industry more inclusive for all. Your dedication and passion are infectious and serve as a catalyst for others coming up the ranks. Thank you for carrying the torch and blazing a trail for future Red Letter honorees. Enjoy every minute of your time in the spotlight.

Cheers,

Maria E. Brennan, CAE
President & CEO
Women in Cable Telecommunications

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The 2018 Red Letter Awards Gala will be held Thursday, November 8, 2018, at the Four Seasons in Atlanta and will be hosted by Jovita Moore, Emmy-winning news anchor, community volunteer, and proud mom. Go HERE for more information.

4 Questions for the 2018 Red Letter Award Recipients

Congratulations to Lisa Farmer, JoAnn Gonzalez, Alaka Williams, Melissa Ingram, and Molly Battin, WICT Southeast’s 2018 Red Letter Award Recipients

We recognize these women for their outstanding achievement and leadership and believe they personify the WICT Touchstones of Leadership and actively enhance the perception of the cable telecommunications industry through their community and professional involvement.

Leading up to our Red Letter Awards, we have asked these 5 women 4 questions so you can get to know them better. Join us all week as we post their answers. Still need to get tickets for the 2018 Red Letter Awards? Go HERE for more information.

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Molly Battin

Inspiration Award, Woman of the Year

Executive VP & Global Chief Communications and Corporate Marketing Officer for Turner

How does it feel to win the WICT Red Letter’s Inspiration Award, Woman of the Year?

MB: It’s always an honor to be recognized by your peers and fellow colleagues. WICT is such an amazing organization and does so much good for women in our industry, I am proud to be part of it and honored to be recognized in this way.

What do you feel has been the proudest moment in your career?

MB: I have been so fortunate to have had a lot of amazing moments in my career—hard to point to just one. From working on the CNN brand to rebranding TBS, to running the entertainment digital businesses, to launching Upwave, to leading the Turner Media Group, to launching our first global campaign. I am proud of all the teams I have been able to work with along the way—the work they do and the passion they bring every day to Turner makes me proud to work here.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

MB: In business school, I remember my professor saying that the most important decision you will make as a leader, is in who you hire. As I have built teams across Turner, I have adopted that philosophy.

Your employees are your best capital and biggest asset and I am grateful to work with so many talented individuals. Surround yourself with great people and great things will happen. You don’t have to be the expert in everything—build a great team, support them, empower them, and listen to them.

This year’s theme for WICT is “Be a Catalyst.” In what way does this resonate with you and why do you think it’s important to push the envelope?

MB: This year’s theme couldn’t be more timely. Over the last year, we have seen #MeToo shift from being a rallying cry to an action plan to create workplaces where all women are respected and can reach their full potential. The momentum for change and the national dialogue that we are having would not have been possible without women stepping up to be catalysts for change.

I’m honored to be considered a catalyst and I hope to continue to empower other women. To all navigating their careers in this moment of change and disruption, don’t be afraid to take a risk. As women, we tend to wait until we have every answer—but we need to try new things and get out of our comfort zone. The only way we are going to continue to grow and learn is to push ourselves and be a little uncomfortable. If you aren’t a little bit uncomfortable—then you are playing it too safe.

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Melissa Ingram

Horizon Award for Woman to Watch

General Manager for aspireTV

How does it feel to win the WICT Red Letter’s Horizon Award for Woman to Watch?

MI: Humbling. I’m still asking myself, “why are they watching me?!” LOL.

What advice do you have for women to grow their leadership skills?

MI: My advice for women to grow their leadership skills is to join a professional organization that is committed to the development of women leaders in your respective field. For me, in 2011 that organization was WICT and since then, WICT has afforded me incredible training through seminars, events and programs (specifically, its Rising Leaders Program). As with any organization, what you gain is directly correlated to what you put in – so I encourage women not only to join but to get involved with organizations like WICT that are committed and invested in the development of women as leaders.

What do you feel are some keys to being successful in this everchanging media landscape?

MI: Three keys to success in this ever-changing landscape:

One. As a programmer, stop trying to please everyone and find the niche audience that’s being underserved and serve them like no one else. It’s less about quantity/size and more about the quality and influence you have over the audience you serve.

Two. As a programmer, be authentic, original and relatable through your content.

Three. As a leader, lead differently. I’m uncertain who to attribute this quote to but it reigns true that “uninspired people rarely do inspiring work.”. In spite of all the challenges, the landscape may bring, lead to inspire your teams by seeing and shaping the future in the midst of change.

This year’s theme for WICT is “Be a Catalyst.” In what way does this resonate with you and why do you think it’s important to push the envelope?

MI: When I think about the word “catalyst”, I think about something that triggers a change or an event, and I often ponder the impact of me being a young woman of color as GM of a national cable television network. At aspireTV we talk about the power of representation; the importance of seeing people that look like you as inspiration; and our ability to change the way in which we see ourselves with authentic narratives. It is my hope that my role at aspireTV serves as a catalyst – a spark for change – to see more people of color, particularly women of color in the same role in years to come; to inspire the next generation of women to change the make-up of this industry; to empower us all to change the way in which we see ourselves and most importantly, each other.

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Alaka Williams

Mentor Award

Senior Vice President of Network Human Resources for Discovery, Inc.

How does it feel to win the WICT Red Letter’s Mentor Award?

AW: It is truly an honor to receive this award and to be recognized by the distinguished WICT organization, specifically the Southeast Chapter for doing what matters to me most. The theme of being a Catalyst speaks to me in so many ways both personally, professionally, industry wise as well as, in all workplaces, and spaces across America. I am beyond grateful.

Why is it so important for you to be a champion for women’s issues in the workplace and to develop mentoring initiatives within your organization?

AW: I firmly believe that if we as women do not champion issues that affect us all, then who will. I know that I have a responsibility to attempt to be the voice of the voiceless, and live by example and be the change that I expect to see. There is no progress without action and no action without passion. My passion both professional and personal is to do my best to bring about positive change and forward growth in the organizations in which I serve, and the communities in which I dwell specifically as it relates to diversity and inclusion.

What is the most important characteristic every leader should possess?

AW: I believe the most important characteristic that every leader should possess is Commitment to Passion. You have to enjoy what you do, and who you do it with, as that ultimately effects HOW you do it. I believe every leader should be committed to the work they do, and be passionate about it. Teams follow Leaders who believe in them, who are also committed to the purpose, direction and outcomes. Passion should live in everything we do, it’s the one thing that is critically evident when it is absent.

This year’s theme for WICT is “Be a Catalyst.” In what way does this resonate with you and why do you think it’s important to push the envelope?

AW: Being a Catalyst resonates with me simply because I know no other way of living, or being. I have always come from a perspective of raising the bar. My approach begins from the space of living and learning; it’s not about wins and losses necessarily it is more about getting and being better in spite of your circumstances. Pushing the envelope unleashes new opportunity, greater power, and increased knowledge. If you don’t push the envelope, you might always remain in a place of what could be—–instead of what you could possibly make happen.

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Joann Gonzalez

Mentor Award

Vice President of Human Resources – Customer Care Operations for Comcast

How does it feel to win the WICT Red Letter’s Mentor Award?

JG: Wow! I am so excited to be honored by WICT with this year’s Red Letter Mentor Award! Mentoring and serving others is something that I am passionate about and believe it is an absolute responsibility for all of us. Being recognized for simply carrying out that responsibility is a complete blessing and is very humbling to me.

What are the best and worst pieces of advice you’ve received?

JG: The best advice I have ever received is to be your true and authentic self. None of us have all the answers. We all have blind spots and things that we just simply are not good at. It is okay to admit that out loud and to ask for help. People appreciate authenticity.

I think the worst advice that I have ever received was to constantly be on the lookout for the next golden career opportunity and the financial gain that comes with it. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that loving what you do and aligning your values to the company you work for is far more important. In fact, it is priceless.

How would you describe your leadership style?

JG: My leadership style is collaborative and supportive, but I definitely believe in driving for results and solving problems with a sense of urgency. One of my core leadership beliefs is that relationship building and collaboration at all levels of the organization are a cornerstone to success. Regardless of the positions we hold, it takes a village and all of us working toward a common goal to make things happen while teaching each other along the way. I also believe that humility is a leadership quality that is underrated in today’s workplace and a trait that I seek to demonstrate routinely.

I believe in setting a high bar and challenging the status quo to make improvements and seek solutions. In my view, there is never a problem that cannot be solved. At first, it may not be a perfect solution, but through continuous learning and refinement, one will eventually be reached.

Last, but not least, resilience is key. At times, things don’t always go as planned, but the ability to change course, bounce back and move forward is paramount.

This year’s theme for WICT is “Be a Catalyst.” In what way does this resonate with you and why do you think it’s important to push the envelope?

JG: “Be a Catalyst” is all about taking action and making change happen. As we look around the world today, our nation, our communities and even within our own organizations, it’s easy to see the opposition, the division and even the destruction that exists. The reality is that it will not change until we individually start to do something about it. Each of us has a responsibility to reach out to one another, build connections, learn from one another, encourage each other and work together to make a difference. That’s what being a catalyst is all about – making a difference – and it starts with each of us, individually.

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Lisa Farmer

Rising Star Award for Emerging leader

Product Director for Cox Communications, Inc.

How does it feel to win the WICT Southeast Red Letter’s Rising Star Award for Emerging Leader?

LF: It’s an amazing feeling of gratitude to be nominated and to win this award! Being recognized for the Rising Star award inspires me to continue, with more precision, my mission of advocating for women leaders in the cable and telecommunications industries. My six-word leadership statement is “The Mission IS to Bring Others!”

What does it mean to you to be an influential leader?

LF: An influential leader is an individual that actively considers the viewpoint of others and provides space (opportunity) for discussion and or promotion of various viewpoint. An influential leader is curious and encourages others to be open to new possibilities.

What advice would you give to your 20-year old self?

LF: I would encourage my 20-year old self to build and nurture professional relationships earlier in my career. Strategic networking can create a circle of advocates and supporters that can help to navigate your career and relationships with others. Additionally, career navigation can be vertical as well as perpendicular and perpendicular movement may offer a better trajectory to your destiny.

This year’s theme for WICT is “Be a Catalyst.” In what way does this resonate with you and why do you think it’s important to push the envelope?

LF: The theme “Be a Catalyst” resonates with me because I stand on the shoulders of generations of women who lived with limited opportunity to drive towards change and therefore I lead with “why not?” and I share that same ideology with young women. It’s important to push beyond the boundaries of comfort because that’s where growth and innovation occur that can be beneficial to those around you.