The WICTSE Membership Spotlight features members and/or board members that wish to share their experience being a member of the WICT organization. Each month a different member will be spotlighted and showcased in the WICT SE newsletter and via the WICT SE social forums. For the month of September we will spotlight Diana Johnson, Comcast, Sr. Marketing Specialist.
How can WICT Southeast members help celebrate Hispanic culture this month?
By highlighting Hispanic professionals or businesses in the industry who are making an impact and creating opportunities.
What propelled you to join WICT Southeast?
The opportunity to network with other amazing professionals, build my brand and develop my career.
At WICT, both women & men are encouraged to be a catalyst and set the wheels of change in motion. In your experience, share your thoughts on some key benefits of being a member of WICT and why individuals should join or consider renewing their membership?
As professionals, we need to continue to own our careers and utilize the resources provided by our employers – and one of those is a WICT membership. I’ve been an active member for many years, which has allowed me to participate in different events, find mentors, develop new relationships, enhance my communications and people skills and become more empowered in my career and workplace. WICT provides an incredible amount of talent, technology and expertise that can benefit you, your career and the the company your work for in so many different ways. Take action and enroll today.
How has WICT Southeast played an important role in your professional/personal life?
It has helped me build my network, meet amazing mentors, enhance my view on different aspects of life and collaborate with other great members.
Over the past year the world has faced major challenges. What is one piece of practical advice you have gained from WICT Southeast events that can benefit others?
Keep improving yourself and be resourceful. Even though the pandemic has kept us from doing things the way we used to, I do enjoy the flexibility that virtual meetings and trainings provide. I would also recommend staying connected to a community of like-minded people – like the WICT community – to keep you motivated, positive and focused on the things you can control.
Inspirational is the word I would use to describe Thursday’s Phenomenal Woman: The Secret of My Success panel discussion. Listening to Beatrice York (Afiniti), Sujata Gosalia (Cox Communications), Tina Simmons (Comcast), and Sandy Howe (WICT Global Board Executive) share about the things that contributed to their achievements in their lives and careers left me awestricken.
Beatrice shared that the best way to navigate through imposter syndrome is to use it for building your brand. Grow those skills that you believe that you are lacking. We don’t have to wait to get that seal of approval from someone. We decide how we show up and what our brand is.
Finding what brings you joy is essential when thinking about your career. Sujata mentioned that she finds joy in helping people. Another great takeaway was to ask for advice from people at all levels from different walks of life. We can learn from anyone; we don’t have to wait for a senior leader to give us a pearl of wisdom.
Using the drama to change the business was a turning point in Tina’s career. She encouraged us to network with others when we don’t want anything and not expect a connection to equate to a job offer. We also need to reshape the way we think of HR; it’s not just the place that you go when someone’s in trouble. HR is a breeding ground of knowledge about the business and knows the best ways to navigate your career.
One story that stood out to me was Sandy sharing how she was initially unsure of why she was asked to attend a meeting of male leaders. As the meeting progressed, she was able to add valuable insights tapping into her technical experience that others in that meeting did not possess. Sandy understood that she was invited to meetings because others were confident in her abilities and knew her value.
To close out the event, each panelist shared one thing that they believed was their secret of success. The responses included resilience, curiosity, being fearless, having the humility to understand that others have helped you along the way, and optimism that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I leave you with this one question to ponder; what is the secret of your success?
Shannon Andrews is an Atlanta native who is in the process of publishing her first book and writing her second. She is a wife, mother of 2, daughter, sister, cousin, aspiring CEO, and the Manager of Reporting Analysis at Comcast NBCUniversal in the Business Insights IS Solutions Strategy team.
The past year has been one of unexpected transition, in which we became forever bonded by major moments in history, in our industry and in our chapter. Looking forward, 2021 will be a year where we can cultivate change on our own terms.
To that end, the WICT Southeast Board has chosen one of the seven WICT Touchstones of Leadership as the foundation for all chapter initiatives this year: BE A CATALYST and set the wheels of change in motion. WICT is a transformational organization, and our chapter is poised to be a shining example of what it means to be a change agent.
“We are WICT.” It’s a phrase I find myself reflecting on often. It means different things to different members at different times. For me right now, it means community. A community that didn’t waver when faced with a year of challenge and will be steadfast in their resolve to own future change. But what does WICT mean to you?
In 2021 it could be any of the following:
The ongoing commitment to member development through programs and content supporting female empowerment, diversity and inclusion, the LQBTQ+ community, and Black Lives Matter
Global Mentoring Experience, a first-of-its-kind collaboration with global WICT chapters to provide a comprehensive mentoring program led by industry thought leaders
WICT Leadership Conference Scholarship,offering fellowship opportunities for members to attend WICT Global’s marquee annual Leadership Conference, virtually or in New York City
Executive-Level Roundtable Series, exploring Results Leadership, diversity initiatives, keeping women in the workforce, and planning and strategy in uncertain times
Red Letter Awards, our 18th annual gala celebration recognizing the accomplishments and outstanding achievements of women in our industry
Thank you to our sponsors for your continued collaboration and commitment to the mission of developing and supporting women leaders in the cable telecommunications industry. Because of our partnerships, WICT Southeast can offer these exceptional professional development programs for no additional charge to our members. This unique benefit distinguishes the WICT Southeast chapter.
I have been involved with WICT as a member and volunteer for 10 years. For the last five, I have served on the WICT Southeast Board of Directors, most recently as Vice President. I am indebted to the Board for preparing me for the role of chapter President. It is a privilege to serve the second largest WICT chapter across the U.S., Europe, Latin America and the United Kingdom—a role I assume with respect.
I get to work alongside 35 inspiring women on the Board who are passionate about WICT and live the mission as I do. Together, we commit to giving you the tools you need to continue your progression as impactful leaders.
I read a lot of memoirs. Elaine Welteroth’s “More Than Enough” is one that keeps calling me back. I shared this quote from her book with the Board, and I leave it with you:
“When women affirm women, it unlocks our power:It gives us permission to shine brighter.”
Let this be our intention for 2021—both for women and for men. BE A CATALYST for change and lift each other up so we can all shine brighter together.
The dynamics of being a Black woman in the workplace
by Ciji Townsend
Black Lives Matter is more than a moment, it’s a movement. WICT Southeast is committed to ongoing conversations that generate awareness for Black women in our industry. Our recent panel discussion and interactive session, attended by more than 350 industry professionals, focused on the impact of the heightened race awakening on Black women in the telecommunications industry.
It’s been a few weeks since the panel discussion and member, Ciji Townsend has had time to digest the stories and information. In the post below, she shares her thoughts and perspective.
Black women in the workplace need your empathy, not sympathy.
The conversation kicked off with a powerful response from Dawn Douglass, Vice President Programming at Bounce TV, “When you see a news story, you sympathize. When I see a news story, I see people that look like my loved ones.” Dawn immediately set the tone and struck a chord with me. It was in that moment, that I thought about the countless times that I’ve watched a news segment and immediately thought to myself that the incident being covered could include my brother, cousin, husband or even me. Yet, when I arrived at work, the same new story was simply just a story discussed briefly at the water cooler. It’s in those moments that empathy is needed to break down the walls of understanding that accompany the cycle of systemic racism.
Code-switching is real for Black women in the workplace.
After a brief explanation of code-switching, moderator Kenya Brock, Director of Digital Operations and Marketing at Katz Networks/E.W. Scripps, asked panelists to share a time they had to code-switch at work. “I’ve been doing it my whole life,” exclaimed Andrea Bibbs, Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy at WarnerMedia News & Media. And I could sense the head nods from the other black women in the audience. Our experiences of worrying more about our hairstyles, tone of voice, posture and good manners in the workplace have an uncanny resemblance. Even worse than the worry, we all know that the time and effort put into code-switching can affect our performance and productivity.
But where do we start? Who carries the responsibility for change?
It was mentioned by the panelist that change starts with leadership. And I couldn’t agree more. But I don’t think that change starts and stops with a company’s hierarchy. Change starts with everyone the minute that they are made aware. My hope would be that each of the attendees that were not familiar with the challenges that black women face in the workplace would take the newfound information and adjust their behavior and way of thinking.
And just to be clear, Black women aren’t asking for a handout.
What I loved most about the conversation rooted in “invisible work,” is the reminder that Black women work hard, many Black women work longer and harder than most of their peers. So, a handout is not the answer. The ask is that where credit is due, it’s appropriately applied. So many Black women are completing stretch projects and added tasks with ease and often don’t receive credit. Sonya King, Founder and CEO of Creator’s Architect said it best, “We’re given the work because we can do it, not because we should do it.”
Much of injustice stems from access to privilege
In the second half of the event, Sonya provided data for a deeper dive on the impact of privilege. She touched on access, education, earning power, mortality and home ownership. Seeing data explaining the path of privilege was beyond eye opening. Access to education leads to higher earning power which leads to easier access to home ownership. And learning that Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police was shocking but perhaps not a surprise.
Dana Dawson, Lead Project Manager at Cox Enterprises, ended the presentation highlighting the countless women who have been killed by police, many names people hadn’t heard of. It was sad, painful and continues to be our reality.
Stay tuned and stay engaged
It’s clear this discussion was insightful, meaningful and needed for our WICT Southeast members and advocates. And we’re not stopping the conversation. Stay tuned for how we’ll keep the momentum going and for how you can be part of it.
We want to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment letting us know the most impactful part of the presentation for you.
Ciji Townsend is a Pure Barre enthusiast, book club fanatic and the host of the being BALANCED podcast. When she’s not sharing her perspective with WICT SE members, she keeps her plate full as a Senior Manager of Internal Communications at Cox Communications.
Happy New Year WICT Southeast Members! Please join me in celebrating the beginning of our chapter’s 40th Anniversary! What an amazing time to be a member of such a historic organization. Women in Cable Telecommunications has more than 10,500 members internationally. It is the largest and oldest professional organization for women in the cable telecommunications industry.
Our chapter spans over three states with more than 1,000 members in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. I am proud and honored to serve as your president, especially for this Ruby Year! Throughout 2020, look for commemorative messages, photos and inspirational stories from the trailblazing women who laid the foundation for the Southeast chapter. As we celebrate our chapter’s accomplishments and decades of hard work, we acknowledge that there is still much more to do. Our industry, workplace, and opportunities definitely look different now compared to 40 years ago, but the mission is the same – create women leaders who transform our industry. We develop women leaders, give them the tools and access to a network of industry experts to help them be successful. It’s an ongoing effort, and one that I am happy to be a part of alongside all of you.
Our touchstone this year is CONNECT to your peers, your industry, and everything around you. The CONNECT touchstone is truly fitting as our industry continues to evolve. Amid mergers, acquisitions and career pivots, connecting with peers, networking with others in our industry and tapping into what is new and innovative is critical.
Your chapter leaders are planning programs, professional development opportunities, and outreach events for 2020. You can look forward to:
Global Mentoring Experience – First of its kind collaboration with global WICT chapters to provide a comprehensive mentoring program.
WICT Leadership Conference Scholarship – Assistance is offered to a member to attend WICT’s marquee Annual Leadership Conference.
WICT Webinar Series – Explore Results Leadership and sharpen your public speaking and presentation skills.
Red Letter Awards – Annual celebration of the accomplishments of tremendous women in the telecommunications industry.
These are just some of the programs and events that are available to WICT Southeast members for. Due to the support and generosity of our sponsors, our members can participate in our regular programs, webinars and mentoring experience for free. This is an extraordinary benefit of membership in WICT Southeast. Thank you to our 2019 sponsors. Your continued partnerships with WICT Southeast and support of our mission to develop women leaders in the cable telecommunications industry is highly appreciated.
I am excited about all that this year has to offer! I have volunteered with WICT for many years. I’ve been a mentor in several mentoring programs, Director of Programming for Knoxville for two years, Vice President and now I am your President. I have the pleasure of working with 31 amazing women on the board who are passionate about WICT, and together we will give you the tools you need to continue your path as exceptional and impactful leaders.
Women in Cable Telecommunications Southeast (WICT SE) Chapter announces the members of its 2020 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 their own dynamic experience, distinctive perspectives, and backgrounds.
Renita Griskel (Discovery, Inc.) incumbent Vice President rises to President in 2020. Shelley Hoffmann (Healthgrades) incumbent Senior Director of Mentoring transitions to Vice-President. LaShaun Solomon (Comcast) incumbent President will move to Immediate Past President. The complete list of all the incoming board members appears below.
Also, the board recently voted on the 2020 Touchstone, which is: CONNECT to your peers, your industry, and everything around you.
As we close out the year, I’m pleased to share my remarks of gratitude for the WICT Southeast chapter. When I embarked on my WICT executive leadership journey, it was my personal goal to ensure our membership provided unique value, personal and professional growth, connection opportunities to leadership groups, and access to events that matter. Our chapter cultivated experiences and programs that epitomized the INSPIRE WICT Touchstone of Leadership to serve our members, partners, and community.
We launched the inaugural “Inspire to Innovate” Fellowship powered by Cisco, which awarded two members the opportunity to attend the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp. Our awarded chapter fellows were inspired by their enhanced understanding of innovation to solve customer problems while also considering the larger ecosystem. We partnered with Comcast to offer the “INSPIRE” Fellowship to provide FREE WICT SE memberships for those in job transition and college students. The relationships you make within WICT are unmatched, and this first of its kind offering helped to ensure those in need could still benefit from being a part of the WICT Southeast network.
Back in January, I spoke with Fernanda Merodio, WICT Latin America President, about piloting an international mentoring program that would pair mentors and mentees from the U.S. and Mexico. While the design and functionality was uncertain, we both knew this was worth exploring. A few months after that conversation, WICT Southeast and Latin America launched WICT’s first international mentoring program for the entire WICT organization. The program consisted of monthly 1:1 mentoring sessions and four mentoring workshops that connected mentors and mentees from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Mexico.
WICT Southeast collaborated with company employee resource groups to offer career-enhancing opportunities. In partnership with the Comcast Women’s Network, we held the first-ever joint Women’s Conference to empower, inspire, and impact more than 100 Comcast employees, WICT Southeast chapter members, and those in transition. To create awareness and understanding of LGBTQ allyship, we joined Discovery, Inc., to host a Pride event. In addition to these efforts, WICT Southeast held over 20 programs this year – all at no cost to our members.
We invested back into the community by aligning with the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency to provide a series of career readiness workshops on digital literacy, resume writing, and interviewing. The overall benefit to the community resulted in developing career-ready persons with the skills needed to successfully navigate pathways to employment and achieve a fulfilling, financially secure, and successful career.
The work our chapter has done in 2019 would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, volunteers, and Board of Directors. As chapter President, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside each of these talented and dedicated professionals, and I thank each one of you for going on this journey. As I transition to Immediate Past President, I look forward to WICT Southeast’s continued success.
If you are like me, you see the end of the year as a chance to examine yourself, your career, life, etc. Some goals did not get started; while some were accomplished so flawlessly, I had to pat myself on the back. Last year as I approached 2019, I was returning to work from three months of maternity leave, a new baby, three other kids, a husband, a full-time job, and responsibilities as a Navy Reservist. There were many goals I had set for myself, and to accomplish everything was highly unrealistic and overly optimistic. This year I want to share my process for setting more realistic goals for 2020.
Take Everything into Account
If you choked a little at the description of my family life above, it’s okay. I’m used to the wide-eye expression I receive when I tell people about my life. It’s taken me all year to figure out this one. Everything goes on one calendar. Work, personal, spouse’s activities, kid’s activities, appointments, etc. I must think about all facets of my life and the amount of commitment the goal will require in addition to everyday life. If the color-coded calendar is already busting at the seams, something will have to go to make room, or the goal will have to be downsized or eliminated. I have learned that it is okay to say no.
Be Patient with Yourself
This one really hit me at the last WICT Speed Mentoring event. Kia Painter was one of the mentors, and her guidance was so relevant and motivating. The main takeaway that I got from her was to pace myself. Sometimes we may tend to want to achieve all our goals by a specific time so we can move on to the next one, check off that block, etc. It’s okay to take time off, refresh, and then revisit the goal. No goal is worth your health and getting all in a frenzy because you did not achieve the target by a certain time.
Ask for Input from Support System
Yes, your goals are your goals. Your support system will be there to help you achieve those goals, so reach out and consult with your closest supporters. My husband is my biggest champion, and he is supporting me in my goal of applying for law school in 2020. I kept putting this off until he expressed his support and laid out how we, as a family, could make that goal happen. They may be able to help you see what you can’t or suggest a goal that you hadn’t even considered.
We all know that our goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. So, for 2020, take care of yourself and put some serious thoughts into your goals.
WICT Southeast blogger, 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.
“If you have a goal work towards the goal, otherwise it’s actually not your goal.”
An Interview with Laura Dames
WICT Southeast and WarnerMedia are hosting a panel event on Storytelling in November and I’d like to begin with your story. How did you get to where you are now? Is your life/career story developing in expected or unexpected ways?
I feel like my career, in so many ways, is a series of paradoxes. I studied communications. I wanted to work in media. I didn’t want to be poor in New York, I didn’t want to move all the way to L.A. so, I picked up and moved from Massachusetts to Atlanta right after college thinking that I’d be here for 5 years. 27 years later I’m still here. I did not study Marketing yet worked in Marketing for the first 10 of those years. I really knew nothing about operations and yet ran operations for our biggest networks here at this company and really have no production background yet was put in charge of an entire production resource. My career has taken a lot of twists and turns but, at the time it all made total sense. In retrospect, when you’re looking in the rearview mirror, you think, “how did that happen?” Did I think I’d ever be where I am now? Absolutely not. When I set out, I just wanted to work in media. But I’ve always loved my jobs. I’m very fortunate that this company and these brands and this business are constantly shifting and changing and I’ve been lucky to change and shift with them. I’m someone who gets bored very easily so that works in my favor. I haven’t had to leave the company to have different jobs every few years with different expectations and new opportunities and challenges. It’s been very fortuitous and along the way, I’ve just found people who have really supported me and put me in a position to be able to succeed.
Do you seek out that uncomfortable growth position or have they just come your way and you’ve said yes?
I’m a naturally aggressive human so I’ve always been one to seek out new opportunities and I tend to be very frank with my bosses when I’m bored and I’m ready for something else. I’m a person who likes solving puzzles and complex challenges where technology and creativity meet. I tend to like things that other people don’t like. Lots of people gravitate towards the creative side of things or towards the marketing side of things or things that seem sexier and I want to create the infrastructure that makes that possible. I find it fun. To me, there are more challenges and opportunities in those areas than in all the ones that you have to scratch and claw and fight to have a voice. I’ve been able to have a strong voice in the areas I’ve worked in.
The teams you lead here at WarnerMedia are instrumental in helping all the Networks to tell their stories. WICT’s theme this year has been “Inspire and others will follow.” What would you say is a piece of advice or a strategy that has helped you inspire them to take risks and find ways to tell stories in creative and innovative ways?
Turner Studios is a wonderful place. It is an amazing collective of artists and craftspeople; I am very humbled to work here and support them in doing what they do. My biggest role here is to create a culture where they feel empowered and enabled to do their best work.
There is nothing more frustrating than having an idea and not being able to figure out how to execute it. My job is to make sure they get those things and that they’re supported technologically so that when an idea comes to them, they know that they have what it takes to get it done. That’s hugely important. Of course, you can’t make someone who is not curious or capable or creative be so. Hopefully, we’re finding great talent, we’re helping them communicate with each other, giving them time to spend time with each other and learn from each other. I was shocked when I got here that artists that did the same thing but for different brands had never even met each other. So, we’ve created little tribes of people who do the same thing. We’ve also created opportunities for people at different stages of the creative process to communicate where the pain points are and how it might be able to be helped or fixed by earlier parts of the creative process. I want people to feel like they have a voice throughout the whole process. When people feel heard and that they are not constantly banging their heads against the same brick wall, their creativity increases. We’ve created the apprentice programs so there are young people constantly asking questions which also inspires the senior more seasoned veterans. I found that they all are inspired by the new thinking of these kids who are straight out of school or new in their career and so it’s a nice relationship. We have also done some larger things across the entire Turner Studios group, things we call “Food for Thought” and Studios X which are learning opportunities. Opportunities for our artists to teach classes and opportunities for all of the artists to take classes taught by their peers so that they can really learn from each other and inspire each other. And they are artists. When I first got here, they were referred to as operators, but they are artists and craftspeople. They use technology and manipulate it at their whim. The most important thing I changed when I got here was the language. We stopped calling them operators and we started calling our internal clients our partners. I had a boss who used to say, “everything communicates” and I believe that the language you use to describe what people do does communicate, the language you use to describe your relationships with each other communicates and the effort you put into making sure people feel appreciated matters.
I want a line out the door of partners that want to work with us and a line out the door of employees that want to work here and in order to create that I feel that it all begins with culture. It begins with creating an environment where people are inspired to do great work, they go above and beyond because they care and they’re enthusiastic and responsible and professional.
What advice would you give people who want to make/or pivot into a career as a storyteller? What would you say are the skills they need to develop in order to become a good storyteller?
The thing I find with most storytellers is that the biggest challenge most of them have is that they are shy or reticent to start just telling stories. There is no barrier to entry anymore! Create, make, and stick it out there. Everyone can! There are so many opportunities, just put your stuff out there. Do it! What’s the worst that can happen? Nobody looks at it or someone hates it. Guess what, that’s going to happen to you a million times when you do it professionally. Practice now. You have to learn to take all of that with a grain of salt. People have to find their true voice and the only way to do that is to practice, and there’s never been a better time to do that. For me, the most important thing to think about is, “what are you more afraid of, failing now or never getting to the place where you want to be?” If you don’t practice, if you don’t take the first step, you’re never going to end up on that journey so, you gotta go. The sooner you go the sooner you’re going to figure out your path and you might realize you don’t even want to take that road; you might want to take a different road and that’s ok too. But go forward, just keep moving. Always keep moving. The same goes for life, career, creative endeavors, if you have a goal work towards the goal, otherwise it’s actually not your goal.
There are so many digital venues for storytelling nowadays. How has new media changed the way you approach both storytelling and managing the business of storytelling?
There’s such a vast level now. For so many years in this industry, there was quality and there was everything else; and, if it was anything else you probably didn’t have a venue for it. It probably wasn’t’ going to be seen by very many people. It was considered not as good. That paradigm shifted with the internet and now anyone can publish anything. And, oh, by the way, kids prefer low production value with good storytelling over high production value and bad storytelling. There is so much opportunity for any kind of story to be out in the world. From the time I got to Turner Studios, I’ve been saying that we have to change our concept of what content is and what quality means because the biggest challenge we’ve had in making the transition to the new media world is our legacy snobbery about quality and about large scale production. I actually think it’s one of the things that has prevented a lot of large media companies from being as successful as they could have been because they didn’t move fast enough with stuff that was, quite frankly, in their minds, beneath them. And I think that’s a missed opportunity if we have a broad aperture when it comes to what content is and what quality means we are far more likely to be successful in this media world.
WarnerMedia and WICT Southeast are partnering together on Tuesday, November 19th in Atlanta. Please join Laura Dames and our esteemed panel of “Creative” thought leaders as they share their experiences and expertise in storytelling! Learn how storytelling can be used by all levels of profession or in any industry to influence and engage. For more information and to register, click here.
WICT Southeast’s blog interviewer, 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.
Lisa Farmer and Lizzette Tarver were WICT Southeast’s lucky chapter members to win the 2019 WICT Southeast Inspire to Innovate Fellowship to attend the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp held on Oct. 15 – 18, 2019 in Colorado.
This year’s Bootcamp was an immersive three and a half days of learning experience designed to transform the way participants think about and use innovation. Attendance was limited so that attendees could put their inspiring ideation to practice in real-life situations.
We asked Lisa and Lizette about their experience, and this is what they had to say:
Lizette Tarver: Thank you again for this great opportunity. The CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp was most insightful, and I was truly inspired to be a confident innovation leader. Everyone (peers, coaches, panelists) that played a focal role in this experience provided for a true growth mindset as it relates to innovation. The experts, coaches, and tours provided for a well-rounded experience where relationships were fostered by way of breakthrough innovation. Many of the key learnings surrounding how we might solve for universal, ubiquitous broadband stretched my thinking and took me out of my comfort zone, which I was thrilled about. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to tap into a more holistic way of identifying key problem-sets that truly impact our customers. There was great value in bringing together like minds in an effort to truly assess as much as understand the needs in our marketplace by bringing forth new ideas and then actually supplying them through innovation.
The F.I.R.E. (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, and Execution) framework has allowed me to understand that ideas must continually be improved from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. I am most eager to take back my key learnings to my leader, team, and organization, given that I am better able to focus on structured innovation efforts by the application of the F.I.R.E. methodology. After attending the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp, I am able to see how we each can be more creative and make greater impacts by generating new ideas. The content was digestible and can be easily applied across a host of industries as much as in our personal lives. This opportunity assisted in debunking the myths/mysteries of innovation, allowed me to build innovation skills through a fresh new perspective, and to rid oneself of innovation antibodies which stifle the creation of new ideas.
Lisa Farmer: Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback and special thanks to the team at Cisco for funding the boot camp.
Overall, the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp was extremely rewarding. The speakers, coaches, and staff were extremely knowledgeable, and the diverse group of innovators provided unique perspectives for solving the challenge statement (i.e., ubiquitous broadband). The key learning for me can be summarized in three categories – content, impact, and application.
I found the content regarding the model for innovation (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, and Execution) to be easy to understand and practical to implement. Throughout the camp, I was able to really engage and build muscle in those areas where I lacked key strengths. Additionally, the parallel exercise of using the FIRE model for personal innovation helped to ignite more creativity for the professional challenge.
The two field trips from the CableLabs Bootcamp were very impactful in both sparking my creativity and helping to understand the value of doing ‘deeper-dives’ to understand customer problems. The volume of innovation occurring in adjacent industries, such as the facility we visited in the energy sector, was such an inspiration and a testament to the value that can be created through partnerships to solve problems. Furthermore, those same partnerships can be used to leverage solutions for the same types of customer problems related to equal and affordable access while also considering the larger ecosystem/planet.
The opportunity to apply what I learned, both personally and professionally, from participation in the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp is a simple translation for me. In my organization, there is a separate team for ideation. Still, boot camp has encouraged me to advocate for innovation even in my area through more strategic collaboration and brainstorming, which can be applied to any project without major upheavals to current processes.
WICT Southeast graciously thanks our partners Cisco and CableLabs for making this opportunity possible.