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MCNWW 2015 Sandra Howe: Master of Flawless Follow-Up

Arris’s Global VP Is a Tenacious, Meticulous Marketing Force 1/26/2015 8:00 AM Eastern

SANDRA HOWE

TITLE: SVP, Global Marketing, Arris

AGE: 42

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Before joining Arris in 2009 as SVP of Strategic Market Developmenting, Howe held several roles at in a decade at Cisco Systems, including Director of Business Development, Strategic Accounts Market Manager, Regional Sales Manager and Senior Account Manager. She started out at Broadband Networks Inc. in State College, Pa.

QUOTE: “Persistence wears down resistance.”

 

Sandy Howe, senior vice president of global marketing for Arris, owns the “flawless follow-up” as her strongest super power.

 

So said her customers and colleagues throughout the industry, recounting tale after tale of something gone awry and how Howe’s trademark blend of empathy and tenacity got it resolved.

 

“She has this impeccable follow-up,” Nomi Bergman, president of cable provider Bright House Networks, said. “She’s 100% on the mark with it, every time.”

 

Added Arris chairman and CEO Bob Stanzione: “Tenacity and determination are two of the qualities for which Sandy is best-known. With over 20 years of experience in optical, routing and switching product development, she’s played an important role in some of the largest U.S. cable deployments.”

 

Kevin Leddy, executive vice president of technology policy and product development for Time Warner Cable, said: “Sandy Howe is among the very best account representatives I have ever dealt with, and I’ve worked with many. She does her homework and often understands our company better than we do — her follow-up is exceptional.”

 

COOL UNDER FIRE

It’s easier to see a person’s true colors in times of distress than when everything’s working fi ne, Howe’s colleagues noted — like the time when an equipment malfunction bricked a large number of in-home devices she had sold to a major customer. Howe saw the problem through, doggedly connecting answers with questions until everything was fixed, and everyone satisfied.

 

“Her genuine interest in her customers is what really resonates,” said Joe Quane, who hired Howe at Scientific-Atlanta in 1999. “It’s her effervescent personality and genuine enthusiasm.”

 

Howe grew up near the “happy valley” that is State College, Pa., graduating from Penn State in 1994 with a bachelor of science in Education.

 

After a career fair landed her the job offer in what she thought was her vocation of choice — fashion merchandising — she came to the depressing conclusion that it wasn’t for her after all.

 

“I was devastated and I called my dad — what am I going to do?” Howe recalled. “He said, ‘go into technical sales and know it better than any man in the room.’”

 

To get sales experience, she landed a job at American Greetings, with a company car and 35 direct reports.

 

Serendipitously, a small tech startup — Broadband Networks Inc. (BNI), a maker of the opto-electronics used in cable’s hybrid-fiber coax architectures — occupied the duplex upstairs. Soon enough, Howe, at 22, was offered a job in national technical sales. “I called home, and this time my mom answered,” Howe said. “I said, I have this offer from this tiny tech company, should I do it?’ She said, ‘Are you crazy? It’s technical sales, get it on your resume.’”

 

Five years later, after BNI was purchased, Howe started planning her next move. “I’d been reading about General Instrument and Scientific-Atlanta in Multichannel News and thought, ‘Now’s the time to work at a big company.’”

 

In 1999, she joined S-A as an account manager to oversee the digital services launch at Time Warner Cable, for its Carolinas territory. She immediately made an impact, Quane noted, converting what at the time was “100% Pioneer” set-top box territory to S-A. From there, she rose quickly, ascending over the next decade to director of the company’s Business Development team.

 

In 2009, Howe joined Arris as senior VP of strategic market development. Her background in sales, buttressed by a loyal customer base, made it an easy shift. “I believe I understand better than most just what it’s like out there, and what tools salespeople need to be successful,” Howe said.

 

Her sizable fan base agrees. “I remember when Sandy went to Arris, how happy I was for her — and for Suddenlink,” said Terry Cordova, that MSO’s chief technology officer. “We now had an insider who, when needed, would ‘jump in front of the charging bull’ for us, to rectify any issues.”

 

Time Warner Cable’s Leddy added, “Other suppliers could learn a lot from Sandy.”

 

Last year, Howe shouldered a fresh set of challenges, as newly minted senior VP of global marketing for the manufacturer.

 

By August, she’d turned a corporate desire for consumer brand recognition into an Arris sponsorship of NASCAR racer Carl Edwards, and NASCAR’s first Mexican driver, Daniel Suarez. “The project plan has over 200 items,” she said, including photo shoots, events, branding 1500 items and merchandising.

 

AN ACTIVE VOLUNTEER

Beyond her day job, Howe is a deeply committed industry volunteer, “especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion.” She serves in several Women in Cable Telecommunications chapters and on the national WICT board, and participates in countless chapter and national events for the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers.

 

“I’ve had the pleasure of working within the orbit of Sandy Howe for the past two decades,” Sean Bratches, executive vice president of sales and marketing at ESPN, said. “She gives her time and her expertise willingly, and we are all better for it.”

 

When she’s not leading the marketing team at Arris, Howe is either sailing or relaxing on the beach in Wilmington, N.C., with husband Peter, whom she met during a pickup beach volleyball game in 2002. “You can find me almost every Saturday at 5 p.m. for cocktails at the beach house,” she laughed.

 

Which makes her personal credo all the more apt: “A pessimist expects the wind not to change; an optimist thinks the wind will change — but a realist adjusts the sails.”

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