A conversation with UpTV’s Greg Madsen
WICT SOUTHEAST BLOG WRITER, ANA ADLER SAT DOWN WITH GREG MADSEN TO ASK HIM SOME QUESTIONS AND GET HIS TAKE ON WHAT HAVING A WICT MEMBERSHIP MEANS TO HIM.
Name: Greg Madsen
Where do you currently work and what’s your current role?
Vice President of Multiplatform Distribution and Strategy at UpTV
Why did you join WICT? What inspired you to look past the W in the name?
I first joined WICT and started going to events only because I was in affiliate sales. Cox and other affiliates were always going to these Red Letter Awards so it was more of a “go where your clients go” sort of thing. So, at first, it was a business necessity that I attend these events and now, after years of being involved, I’ve realized the value. I wish I could just say it was this beacon of wanting to join and be a trailblazer, but it was the reverse. I did it because I had to and then realized what a great organization it is.
What is it that you find most rewarding about being a member?
I think, I know it’s an easy low-hanging fruit, but going to the Red Letter Awards and other mixers and hearing these incredibly smart accomplished women talk. As open-minded as we try to be, I think we are still, deep down, inherently subject to unconscious biases. Even though I’ve had plenty of women bosses and incredibly smart female colleagues it still helps to be involved. Being a member helps me pay attention and be inspired.
In thinking of the theme of this series REAL men of WICT (Rewarding Equality and Leadership), how has membership in WICT influenced your thinking, either personally or professionally?
Membership helps get me past these inherent societal biases I mentioned. I was raised in a certain era at a certain time, my mom was a stay at home mom. Things have progressed a lot but it helps to continually reinforce the importance of what women bring to the table. Whether women or men, in this case it happens to be mostly women getting these awards, just hearing their stories is inspiring and it reminds me, frankly, that I probably take for granted that I’ve had an easier road. I haven’t had to break that glass ceiling or be the first woman to do this or achieve that and it’s important to remind me to help continue to take down those walls. I have an employee who is a fantastic account manager and I love that because of organizations like this, and me keeping an open mind, she hopefully won’t have to work harder than her male counterparts to get her foot on the next rung of the ladder.
Our theme this year is Inspire and others will follow. What has worked for you in inspiring others?
This is interesting because this is not a conscious thing. The way I’ve always managed people and worked with people that I collaborate with is more like a hard-wired behavioral thing. When I was leaving HBO, I had our coordinator tell me that she always enjoyed working for me because I don’t just ask her to do stuff, I ask her to do stuff and then I tell her why it’s important. It was never a conscious thing but I’ve found that the benefit of not just assigning tasks, but assigning tasks with the context of why it’s important to the project or the deal helps people learn, take ownership and buy in. I think ultimately that leads to having them be more inspired: They’re not just working on a task; they are working on a piece of the larger puzzle and they understand how it fits in. I think helping people and team members learn why what they are doing is important serves all of our purposes better because they’re more motivated, they’re more inspired and it allows folks to learn. I may, and I love it when it happens, go to one of my employees and say, “Here’s what we’re trying to accomplish so I think you need do x, y, and z.” Because they know the larger picture they often say, “Well I can do what you’re asking but I think if I do a, b, and c instead it might even be better for achieving that goal.”
Truthfully, I don’t think of myself as some sort of dynamic inspirational leader, I just treat people with respect. I don’t play the cover your ass game. I’m the first to admit when I’ve screwed something up, regularly because I screw up a lot. We were recently having trouble getting some of our content onboarded with Roku and it turns out I’m the one who dropped the ball in getting something to them and our operations team was getting thrown under the bus. I had to admit it was on me. They were so appreciative but I was just being honest. Being willing to admit when you’ve made a mistake yourself engenders a lot of respect and buy-in from folks too.
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.