Red Letter Awards: Global message from Kristin Edwards

The Red Letter Awards has been a part of the fabric of this organization for 18 remarkable years, and I can’t wait to see where the next part of this journey will take us.

I want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the Southeast Chapter for bringing this program to fruition and giving us that important touchstone of connection. Programs like this gives me a renewed sense of hope and appreciation for our collective community as we look ahead to brighter days. 

Allow me to give special thanks to Chapter President, Shelley Hoffmann, along with Vice President, Gimette DeLaughter, Red Letter Awards Senior Director, Crystal Scales and Director, Jay Brown.

As you know, WICT – Women in Cable Telecommunications – has been known for our leadership development programs, powerful stance on diversity, equity and inclusion, and original research through the par initiative, measuring workplace DEI. 

Since our founding more than 40 years ago, we have grown to the largest organization of our kind, and as the industry has evolved, so too has WICT. No longer are member companies simply cable operators and content creators; they are multi-faceted media, entertainment and technology entities, providing a wide range of services to businesses and consumers.  

And while WICT has constantly adapted our business model to ensure we remain relevant, WICT’s name has not kept pace with the times. As a result, “women in cable telecommunications” no longer speaks to the full breadth of who we are and where we are headed. 

So our strategic planning committee and global board of directors worked with our HQ team and together we engaged some of the top branding and naming companies to guide us through a new name and new brand. In doing so, we realized we not only needed to evolve our brand to build a stronger organization; we knew we had an added obligation to our members given how much ground women lost in the workplace during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

More than ever, if we can connect women within our industry to each other and WICT, the better for our industry, and frankly the better for the communities our members serve. 

This conclusion helped us realize that for all the benefits we provide to our members and the industry at large, there is one thing that reigns supreme – it’s all about our network. Which is why we are now: The WICT Network: empowering women in media, entertainment and technology. 

We are being intentional – with our name, logo and actions – widening the circle of our network and our influence to include the vast landscape of media, entertainment and technology. And while our new identity isn’t a revolution, it’s an evolution, recruiting and advancing women in our industry – well, there’s the revolution! 

The WICT Network will continue to provide unmatched peer-to-peer and business-to-business networks through member resources, educational events, and diversity research. We’ll just be doing so with a name that is more inclusive of our industry’s many member companies and multi facets. 

The Red Letter Awards shines a spotlight on several exceptional women and superlative leaders in our industry and we applaud their many accomplishments. Each of the honorees represents all that is right with this industry. And all that is hopeful with our future. 

All of us at the global headquarters for The WICT Network are proud of everything you do and are honored to stand beside you today, tomorrow, and beyond. 

Thank you. 

Kristin J. Edwards | VP, Member & Chapter Development
The WICT Network: Empowering Women in Media, Entertainment and Technology

3 Questions for 2021 Rising Star Winners & Mentor Award Winner

Congratulations to Shannon Inise Andrews and Angela Carone, our Rising Star Winners, and Tendai Mashingaidze, our Mentor Award Winner.


Name: Shannon Inise Andrews

Location: Atlanta, GA

Title: Manager, Business Information Systems, Headquarters

Company: Comcast Cable

What does getting this award mean to you?
I was invited to attend the Red Letter Awards in 2017 and told myself, “That’s going to be me one day.” All of this still feels surreal to me, and I’m so humbled to be selected for this prestigious honor. A couple of years ago, one of my mentors shared that they didn’t feel I was ready for the Rising Star for Emerging Leaders award. That was challenging to hear, and it gave me the time and space I needed to work on myself. Receiving this award means that I have grown personally and professionally.

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

I never let my job title or responsibilities limit what I could offer to the industry. I use data storytelling to offer insights and recommendations to senior leaders. I mentor other women and students who are trying to find their way along their career journey. In addition, I walk into a room and find someone I don’t know to build up and expand my network. I’m constantly taking advantage of training for leadership development and stay up to date on the latest trends so I can provide valuable insight to decision-makers. In mid-2020, I stepped up to be a facilitator in the Central Division’s Conversation Circles, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative bringing diverse members together to share, listen and learn from each other’s experiences in today’s divided society. I’ve embraced Comcast’s 3 pillars of committing to lifelong learning, demonstrating compassion and acting with intention.

In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton; “I’m just non-stop.” and “I’m not throwing away my shot!”

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

We must set the wheels of change in motion to create sustainability. We must constantly invest in future generations by taking them on the journey with us as they develop as leaders. Change in life will always occur and being prepared for change is something that determines if a business will make it through difficult times. We need to have a plan for how we can pick things up after we move on. Leaders need to have a “right hand” and a “left hand”. The “right hand” is the person that they develop to take their place. The “left hand” is the person the leader is coaching the “right hand” on developing to take the “right hand’s” place. When everyone is developing their successor, effective leadership is sustainable; everyone is not relying on one person for everything, and the leader is not burnt out feeling like everything rests on their shoulders.

Name: Angela Carone

Location: Atlanta, GA

Title: Director of Podcasts

Company: Turner Classic Movies, WarnerMedia

What does getting this award mean to you?

It’s so gratifying to receive an award that confirms I’m on the right path. As a creative, I’ve often resisted leadership roles thinking it would take me out of hands-on creative work. I’ve come to see how strong leadership actually is creative, from guiding others, to developing strategy, to solving an endless array of problems. This award inspires me to forge ahead and work to become an effective, compassionate leader who inspires growth and change both for my team and within my network and company. 

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

I’m not sure, but I do know I am willing to take risks. None of us knew whether a TCM podcast would work. Our core audience members are not early adopters. We worried some wouldn’t even know what a podcast was – and we were right. But we saw a space we could grow into, where we could develop new audiences while working to bring along our long-standing fans. It worked! I have years of expertise in audio journalism, so I was able to lean on that expertise to help make something special for classic movie fans. 

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

It’s important because it’s not just our industry that is rapidly changing. We’re living through so much historical, social and political change. Making an impact is going to require all of us to observe and listen more, take more risks, and push for change in areas that may be uncomfortable. 

Name: Tendai Mashingaidze

Location: Atlanta, GA

Title: Vice President, Compliance, Investor relations, and Subsidiary Reporting

Company: UP Entertainment, a media group comprised of several brands such as the cable networks UPtv and AspireTv, and the streaming service, UP Faith and Family

What does getting this award mean to you?

It is incredibly humbling to have my contributions recognized by my industry peers. I have attended the WICT Southeast Red Letter Awards almost every year since I became a member. I looked forward to celebrating and being inspired by the highly accomplished women. To be recognized for the Mentor award is especially meaningful to me because it is something I love to do; it brings me pure joy to give back and empower others. I personally benefited from many generous mentors and unexpected cheerleaders at various stages in my career. It is an honor to be in the company of such fantastic award recipients this year.

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

This is an interesting question because I can easily name many more women who have accomplished much in my own company, let alone the industry. These women inspire and challenge me to stand up and be counted. However, what anchors me the most and maybe sets me apart is the strength of the women, including my mother in rural Zimbabwe, where I grew up. Seeing their plight in a disempowering culture, I resolved to be different. Everything I did, including every school report that I brought home, had more significant consequences, including the very idea that there was value in educating a girl child. It took hard work for me to earn that right, and every day still feels like a fight to prove myself.  

As a result, my approach to work and life has always been: 

Take advantage of every opportunity to grow. I consider myself a lifetime learner, and I am committed to continuous personal and professional improvement. I think I can always do better, differently, more efficiently, so I push myself constantly.

Excellence always! I may not achieve it all the time, but I sure strive for it because anything less is not me.

Recognize and celebrate in others. I never pass up an opportunity to let someone know when they have done well. A genuine celebration of their strengths builds them up, so why not?

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

If there is one thing I have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the urgency of now. We all have the capacity to effect change, whether it be in the workplace, at home, or in our community. If it matters to you, it most likely matters to others, so don’t wait.

Many years ago, my husband and I launched the Tapson Education Foundation, an educational, not-for-profit organization in memory of my late brother, whose love for education inspired me. As I look back at the countless students whose lives were transformed, I know for sure that if I had waited to get started until everything was in place, we would have missed some competent students that needed the help. We had many good reasons to wait; it was too early in my career to start something new on the side, kids were too young, Zimbabwe was a world away from where I live now (it would be a logistical nightmare!), and I certainly could not afford it. However, all of these reasons viewed in the context of the bigger picture certainly feel shallow now, but they were real to me. I am glad we went for it, and I hope we all get the courage to be a catalyst in our own spheres of influence.

3 Questions for the 2020 Red Letter Award Recipients

Congratulations to Kristina Stafford KellyMonika WilkinsCatherine Mitchell, Kimberley Euston, Melody Smalls, Rose Chambers, and Roxanne Cloutier, WICT Southeast’s 2020 Red Letter Award Recipients. 

We recognize these women for their outstanding achievement and leadership. 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 17th annual Red Letter Awards, we asked these seven women three questions so you can get to know them better. Check back daily as we post their answers. 

It’s not too late to register to this first-ever free and virtual gala to be held on Thursday, October 22nd at 4:00 pm ET.  Click  HERE for more information.

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2020 Inspiration Award Honoree
Roxanne Cloutier


Name: Roxanne Cloutier

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Title: Senior Vice President, Enterprise Systems & Strategic Planning

Where do you currently work: WarnerMedia

You are the recipient of the Inspiration Award- Woman of the Year. What does getting this award mean to you?

The Inspiration Award is quite an honor. I remember listening to some of the amazing women who have received this award over the past few years and being in awe of their tremendous accomplishments and contributions to society. I am humbled to be among these incredible role models. 

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

I am very passionate about building genuine connections. I have successfully built and consolidated amazing and highly successful teams over the past few decades. I am a natural connector and spend a considerable part of my time mentoring and helping others to achieve their goals through connections. 

I credit several incredible mentors and role models who have shown me the importance of leading from a place of service, integrity and relationships. 

There are 3 elements of connection that I have woven throughout my personal and professional life:

  • Leading from my own unique toolkit – connecting the right people, ideas, skills and strategies. 
  • Connecting others – throwing the ladder back down and leveraging my personal successes and resources to connect others to opportunities
  • Cultivating my passion for team building – focusing on people and finding the win-win through connections.

These have become my strengths and I feel honored to be recognized for something as important as this fabric of our life.

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

When I think about the theme “CONNECT” and its importance, particularly in our current climate, I am convinced that more than ever we are stronger and better together.  

The pandemic that surrounds us has impacted our ability to connect physically. With that, how we define connection has changed, but the power of genuine connections is shining brighter than ever before. 

In this time when many of us are isolated in our homes and are inundated with so many negative stories about the pandemic and social unrest, focusing on connecting with and uplifting others can provide us with the inspiration we need to keep pushing forward. 

I remain committed to carrying that forward through mentoring, growing, encouraging and sustaining others as we maneuver through challenging times. 

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2020 Catalyst Award Honoree
Melody Smalls

Name: Rose Chambers

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Title: Vice President, Construction Planning & Program Management

Where do you currently work: Cox Communications, Inc.

What does getting the Catalyst- Woman in Technology Award mean to you?

Like many, I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to pursue a career and – although very gratifying – it’s been hard work. I’ve always been driven by providing value. That’s what fuels me and makes me push myself. Being recognized by an industry that I have been in for many years and by peers that I’ve worked beside is an affirmation that I’ve provided value. That affirmation humbles me, but also makes me proud. I’m very grateful for the recognition and hope that this recognition inspires other women who might be on a similar path to ask themselves, “why not me?”

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

Oh, so very true that this one is difficult! But it is one thing we all need to do better. I think one of the biggest contributors to my success has never been shying away from a challenge. I’ve described myself in the past as a compulsive hand-raiser. I was always raising my hand, saying, “I’ll do that,” even when I wasn’t completely sure I could do it. It’s not that I wasn’t afraid. I was, but I had enough faith in myself to know that I could tap into trusted advisors and figure it out. Also, a mentor very early in my career taught me the lesson that leading by authority does not achieve sustainable results; enlisting the hearts and minds of the team around a shared purpose and vision produces results that last. I hope I’ve modeled that to the best of my ability.

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year of extraordinary and unanticipated change. The abrupt interruption of the connections we all so took for granted has had a profound impact on all of us, and I’m not sure we yet recognize the full impact of that disruption. Our families, businesses, and communities have all been greatly impacted, and it’s rare that we’re dealing with disruption that acute across all three of those dimensions at once. Connection in these circumstances is more important than ever – whether it’s the connection that allows you to continue to work, the connection that allows you to educate your child, the connection that provides access to your family and friends, or simply the connection that affords you the opportunity to binge-watch baking shows to escape (my current escape 😊)! My hope is that we emerge from this with a deeper appreciation for the essential need for connection and a desire to extend each other a little grace.

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2020 Horizon Award Honoree
Melody Smalls

Name: Melody Smalls

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Title: Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources

Where do you currently work: Allen Media Group is a global media and technology company  which is comprised of several properties such as: The Weather Channel, TheGrio, LocalNow,  15 broadcast stations, Syndication,  ES Motion Pictures, Freestyle Digital Media,  Pets.tv, Justice Central, recipe.tv, my destination.tv, ES.tv and Comedy .tv to name a few.  

What does getting the Horizon- Woman To Watch Award mean to you?

It means the world to me.  It’s important for hard work and excellence to be recognized by industry peers.  I try to do my best at being resourceful and connecting those that can benefit from one another.  

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

Thank you and you are right.  It took some time for me to truly enjoy the fruits of my accomplishments!  I believe I was selected for this award because I have demonstrated excellent performance CONSISTENTLY.  I give my effort in every facet of my role and oftentimes outside of my role. I am laser-focused on employee engagement and productivity that results in high performance for our company.  

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

Connecting is at the forefront of 2020 ( and likely beyond).  Since we are amidst a pandemic, we must be intentional about maintaining our relationships, reaching out, sharing ideas and best practices. This pandemic has certainly taught many of  us to “build an airplane while in the air.” . 

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2020 Mentor Award Honoree
Kimberley Euston

Name: Kimberley Euston

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Title: National Business Development Leader for the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector

Where do you currently work: PwC

What does getting the Mentor Award mean to you?

It is an incredible honor, and the fact that it comes from a group of outstanding women that I respect and admire makes it even more special.

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

I am lucky to be close with a group of women who love and support each other, who see us for the things that make each of us wonderful, and advocate for each other. We could not accomplish anything without our tribe. 

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

Your connections are important every day, every year, but this year has been special. I have looked to my connections to help me overcome the physical distance imposed on us and the emotional pressures created by all the turmoil that 2020 has brought. They never disappoint!

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2020 Mentor Award Honoree
Catherine Mitchell

Name: Catherine Mitchell

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Title: Vice President of Product Development and Management for Cox Business

Where do you currently work: Cox Communications, Inc.

What does getting the Mentor Award mean to you?

It’s an honor to be recognized amongst women that I admire and look to as mentors myself. 

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

For 30 years, I have been a quiet mentor to many in the telecommunications industry.  And those mentees have achieved great things on their own through merit, grit, and talent.

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

In whatever ways we all planned to connect this year, the plans have changed.  My mother held a “Happy Mother’s Day sign” out to me across a parking lot in May … and my daughter broke the distance barrier and ran over to hug her.  We all want connection, and this year we have to work harder than ever to make it happen.  Our experience in 2020 has helped us cherish our relationships even more with family and colleagues.

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2020 Rising Star Honoree 
Monika Wilkins
2020 Rising Star Honoree
Monika Wilkins


Name: Monika Wilkins

Location: Smyrna, Georgia

Title: Director Credit & Account Services

Where do you currently work: Comcast Cable

What does getting the Rising Star Award mean to you?

Receiving the Rising Star Award means I am headed in the right direction as a leader.  It means I should stop and think about all the skills and knowledge that I have gained, find more efficient and productive ways to transfer this knowledge to others and determine my next steps to ensure I do not become complacent.  This award makes me think about people that have been here with me throughout my journey.  They are the real MVPs- from my children, giving me a reason to wake up every day and want to be a rising star, to the people that look up to me and remind me that failing is not an option…they make this award worth receiving.

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

This one is really hard for me because I am no stranger to hard work. My father was the hardest working man I have ever known, and he instilled in me that anything less is mediocre.  Due to the lessons that I learned from him, I have always worked very hard to ensure the job gets done while keeping my people first.  Without the people, everything fails, so it is critical that I always do right by my people.  I feel this is the reason I was selected to receive this award.

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

If you think back to 2019, you could easily meet someone new in a hallway, the breakroom, a networking event, or even an elevator.  Due to our new normal, these types of connections are virtually impossible in the workplace.  To foster any relationship, you have to be intentional in your outreach, which can sometimes be intimidating.  Due to this, some individuals may not take the extra step to meet new people and learn new things, causing them to stagnate.  Being stagnant can impact your overall growth and cause frustration and demotivation.  That is why being connected is more important now than ever.           

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2020 Rising Star Honoree
Kristina Stafford Kelly

Name: Kristina Stafford Kelly

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Title: Senior Director // Head of Public Relations

Where do you currently work: UP Entertainment 

What does getting the Rising Star Award mean to you? 

I am incredibly appreciative of this award. I have attended the Red Letter Awards for the past five years and have been in awe of the inspiring women being recognized. Multiple honorees over those years have directly influenced my career. I felt honored just to be nominated.

As women, we often find it difficult to give ourselves props for our accomplishments so I’m going to ask you to do just that. Why do you think you were selected to receive this award? 

As the head of Public Relations, the campaigns I manage have been featured in top outlets such as People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, ET Online, Deadline, Southern Living, Yahoo, Elite Daily and Rolling Stone to name a few, with hundreds of millions of media impressions garnered for the company each year. 

I’m thankful to be part of company that’s supportive of its employees and fosters a collaborative work environment. By working alongside such smart and creative colleagues, I know I’ll never stop learning. In the five short years since joining UP Entertainment, I’ve been able to grow as a leader while successfully executing multi-platform campaigns. I’m proud of the work that’s been accomplished and excited for what’s to come. Plus, I absolutely LOVE what I do, which means my job doesn’t feel like work. It’s a passion.

This year’s theme is Connect to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. Why do you think connecting is more important than ever in 2020.

Connecting is essential in 2020 for our mental and emotional well-being. Texting, phone calls and video chats have taken on a completely new role in our lives. I’m so appreciative of the technology that allows us to feel connected while apart. 

I’ve made an extra effort to be available to college students seeking advice as they try to figure out what the pandemic means for internships and first jobs. A lot of their plans have been completely turned upside down, so I’ve been talking through different opportunities and ideas to help them navigate during this time. While companies have had to alter day-to-day operations due to the pandemic, I hope this thinking is integrated into traditional workplace culture post-Covid. The increased use of technology has allowed us to connect more with peers from other parts of the country and across various industries.