June is poppin’ with impactful events

While the kids are out of school for the summer, WICT Southeast is ramping up our events and programming offerings! Your WICT Southeast membership includes free admission to most virtual events – and there are quite a few coming up in June. Check them out below!

Considering a career pivot? Or do you just like wine?
Pivot To Your Passion is a virtual wine tasting and panel discussion with women who have pivoted their career path toward their passions, offering encouragement to attendees who may be facing or considering a change in their career path, whether forced or voluntarily. You’ll enjoy the fruits of panelist Denise Gough’s personal pivot through our virtual wine tasting. In addition, the panelists will discuss what precipitated their career transitions, how they arrived at their passion and path, and how they actually made the changes.

Featuring Denise Gough, Jerilyn Bliss, Samantha Lane and Jill Johnson, four former executive-level professionals who have themselves pivoted toward their passions. They’ll share their stories and wine suggestions over a virtual happy hour, offering inspiration for attendees who may be contemplating a pivot in their own lives. 

Join us Tuesday, June 8 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Find out more and register here!


Missing something in your social life?
The S.T.I.R. Virtual Social Mixer for WICT Southeast members, non-members and their families offers socialization, collaboration, interaction and networking.

Join WICT Southeast for a virtual evening of fun, and engage at a social mixer for members and their families. There will be games, networking, and information regarding the work WICTSE is doing in the industry and community. Not a member? Join now and learn how you can benefit from involvement in WICT.

Join us Tuesday, June 16 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Register today!

Want to broaden your horizons?
The LGBTQIA community is experiencing major generational shifts relating to more racial diversity and more workers in younger generations. According to research, policies implemented over the past 20 years while critical, are no longer enough to create an inclusive workplace and change behaviors and biases of majority groups.

Join WICT Southeast for a conversation about what companies are doing to ensure employees do not feel the need to hide a crucial part of their identity while at the office. Tonya Walley, VP of Field Operations and Plant Maintenance at Cox, Robert Rustman, Director of Human Resources, Strategic Initiatives, Chicago at Comcast, Nicole Young- Turner, CEO of Kaleidoscope Village and Nathan Small, Sr. Recruiter| Talent Acquisition WarnerMedia (News & Sports) will share examples of daily experiences that impact feelings of inclusion and D&I strategies that can help to improve inclusion, which has a significant impact on innovation, creativity, and retention.

Join us Tuesday, June 22 from 12 – 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Learn more and register now!

WICT Southeast announces 2021 Board of Directors

Women in Cable Telecommunications Southeast (WICT SE) Chapter announces the members of its 2021 Board of Directors.

WICT SE is one of 24 Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) chapters across the US, Latin America, UK and Europe. WICT consists of over 10,500 members globally. The Southeast chapter is the second largest local chapter with over 1,000 members.         

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

Shelley Hoffmann (Healthgrades) incumbent Vice President rises to President in 2021. Gimette DeLaughter (Cox) incumbent Senior Director of Red Letter Awards transitions to Vice-President. Renita Griskel (Discovery, Inc.) incumbent President will move to Immediate Past President. The complete list of all the incoming board members appears below.

Later in year, the board will vote on the 2021 Touchstone, which currently is: CONNECT to your peers, your industry, and everything around you.

2021 INCOMING WICT SOUTHEAST BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PositionNameCompany
PresidentShelley HoffmannHealthgrades
Vice PresidentGimette DeLaughterCox Communications
Immediate Past PresidentRenita GriskelDiscovery, Inc
Senior TreasurerNatasha PrewittThe Weather Group
SecretaryLeslie PodraskyDiscovery, Inc
Advisor/Executive ChampionSheri McGaughyMcGaughy Law
Senior Director of ProgrammingMallory SummersPwC
Senior Director of PartnershipsJanine JohnsonComcast
Senior Director of Marketing/CommunicationsLisa ConklinCox Communications
Senior Director of MembershipLizzette TarverComcast
Senior Director of MentoringErika WeaverDiscovery, Inc
Senior Director of Red Letter AwardsCrystal ScalesComcast
TreasurerCindy HughesCox Communications
Director of CommunicationsChristina ThompsonCox Communications
Director of DesignAna AdlerAna Adler Creative
Director of Social Media MarketingAdrienne HoytCNN Worldwide & WarnerMedia News and Sports
Director of TechnologyLaura PoffenburgerAT&T Cricket Wireless
Director of Membership GA & ALSharon PrinceComcast
Director of Membership TNEmily JarvisComcast
Director of Outreach/PhilanthropyAngela CannonUP Faith & Family
Director of Programming ALVincine BrownComcast
Director of Programming GAOlivia HolmesKatz Networks
Director of Programming GAKasey WhiteCox Communications
Director of Programming TN KnoxvilleMelissa HarrisTelecom Training Corporation
Director of Programming TN NashvilleMeg GlennComcast
Director of Mentoring GA & ALAngela ManringCox Communications
Director of Mentoring TNValerie CarrilloDiscovery, Inc
Director of PartnershipsKerri HayesUPtv
Director of Red Letter AwardsJay BrownRandstad US
Director at Large – BylawsJennifer ThompsonPatrick Law Group
Director at Large – PartnershipTammina HartComcast
Director at Large – Executive OutreachKathy Hatala Blueprint RF/ Cox
Director at Large – Chapter ExpansionDana DawsonCox Enterprises
Director at Large – FinanceTBD 
Director at Large – Virtual TechnologyShakira IsomComcast
Director at Large – Absentee CoverageAnne LoescherKatz Networks

What’s It Like to Be on the WICT Southeast 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 Southeast board is what you’re looking for. The CALL FOR CANDIDATES for the WICT Southeast 2022 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 three current board members, Renita Griskel (Immediate Past President), Shelley Hoffmann (President) and Gimette DeLaughter (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?

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.

Shelley Hoffmann (SH): I had recently moved to Atlanta after having been active in the New York chapter, as well as having participated in the Rising Leaders and Executive Development programs offered by WICT HQ. My motivation was twofold: I was looking to network within my new community and I wanted to give back to WICT since it had been such an integral part of my personal and professional development. I immediately transferred my membership to the Southeast chapter and started to volunteer at events. This eventually lead to my interest in a board position. I wanted to do more. I’ve always grounded myself in the goal of how I can be of service. I wanted to make an impact. And I knew this was one way to do both.

Gimette DeLaughter (GD): I ran into the current president at the WICT Leadership Conference in New York and established a relationship. I then kept in touch to see where they had the greatest need and applied for that role!

How did you prepare for the campaign?

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.  

SH: The way I found myself on the board was a bit untraditional. I volunteered as much as I could. I networked with members and current board members as much as I could. I attended every Atlanta event. Eventually, I decided to run for Director of Programming – Georgia. And I lost. I was disappointed. But I was undeterred. About halfway through the year, I reached out to Anne Loescher, the then-President of WICT Southeast, and asked her if she needed any additional help. And she said, “You know what? One of the programming positions just opened up.”  So I submitted a personal statement to the board explaining my commitment to the chapter and was voted in. 

GD: I leaned into my network and asked for their support!

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

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.

SH: It really depends on the role. Some positions are intense for a short period of time like Mentoring, Partnerships, Red Letter Awards. Others are consistent throughout the year like Programming, Marketing and Membership. We are a working board. We are deft at balancing responsibilities in our careers and at home. While there are some days that feel primarily WICT-focused more than others, as professionals, we all know how to incorporate our WICT work into our day to day. Is it hard work? Yes. There are many calls and emails depending on the week or month. It takes dedicated individuals for the board to hum and sing. But the reward is so much greater than the effort. 

GD:  This is my fourth year on the Board, and it varies by position. As secretary there was some administrative setup in the beginning of the year, but the rest of the year focused around the monthly board meetings. As part of the Red Letter Awards team it ramped up to crescendo for the main event in October. Where VP is a steady stream throughout the year.

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

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.

SH: Experience on the board gives you the opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone and expand your professional tool box beyond your daily responsibilities. Because of my board experience, I am a better people manager. I’ve gained skills in marketing and negotiating and have opportunities to practice my public speaking as well as my active listening – as I do my best to be responsive to our membership. I’m positively impacted and mentored by my fellow board members across Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama and because of that, I learn something new every day. It’s invaluable to my career.

GD: My involvement in WICT has inspired me to pursue new challenges and has provided me the opportunity to develop and grow my leadership skills. It’s especially relevant where I get to practice skills outside my daily work responsibilities to grow my resume experience.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to run for 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.

SH: Be transparent with your manager about the time commitment. Talk to current and former board members to get their perspective. Do your due diligence. Bring your enthusiasm, fresh perspective and commitment to our mission of creating women leaders in our industry. And plan to receive a huge return on your investment.

GD: If you would have told me four years ago I’d be VP and the incoming President, I would not have believed you. But I should have because here I am. Lean in and give it a go, you may surprise yourself on where you end up. I did!

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WICT Southeast is currently looking for enthusiastic, organized, and dedicated members who would like to run for the 2022 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.

Networking, not torture!

By Saquonna Duncan

UnknownAww, networking events. The word networking invokes many different emotions in people. Fear, dread, excitement and maybe a bit of nausea. Attending a networking event can be and should be fun. There are tips to reduce anxiety so that networking can be fun and purposeful.

It starts with planning for the evening. I find that if I plan before any event, my mind is put a little more at ease. Do some research about the event and the other participants (if able). A little recon can make sure that you have something to talk about with others of interest. If you discover that there will be participants from a company you are interested in, you can plan to have a conversation with those participants.

Plan to listen. Listen not just to formulate an answer. You want to make others feel as important as you like to feel. No glazing over as you try to make yourself remember their names or look over the shoulder to find the shrimp tray. Everyone you meet could be the way to your next opportunity, so pay attention.

After speaking with a person or group, do you find yourself forgetting names or essential details? During the event, find a quiet corner or even the restroom to write down short notes. You don’t have to write an essay; little notes will suffice. Did someone say something particularly interesting? Notate it on the back of their business card. You will use these notes when you follow up with these people in the following days.

Most importantly, attending a networking event can be an opportunity to learn something new, gain new clients, get career advice, or talk with others in your industry- away from the office. Relax and realize that participation in the event is a choice. Reframe how you think about the event. Is this a night to enjoy some delicious snacks and drinks? Is it a couple of hours away from home? Focus on the positive and the time will fly by.

The thing to remember is that the more you network, the more comfortable you become with it. Seek out networking opportunities and network with everyone! Join WICT Southeast for Taste of WICT on Tuesday, March 3rd, in Atlanta and Thursday, March 12th, in Knoxville to test out these new tips and hear from our dynamic keynote speakers. Watch our calendar for other WICT Southeast networking opportunities.

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Saquonna Duncan is among all other things a devourer of books of all genres (in spurts after the house is quiet). She is the Subpoena Coordinator at Cox Communications, Inc. in the Legal department, aspiring lawyer and soon to be retired Navy Veteran.