When this month draws to a close, it will mark the end of one era and the start of another for Women in Cable Telecommunications. That’s because, after eight years at WICT’s helm, CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley is stepping down as of June 30.
Mosley, who is joining USA Track & Field in the newly created post of chief of sport performance, led the 30-year-old organization through a period of tremendous growth as it expanded its programs for women’s career advancement and personal development, and launched new initiatives such as the groundbreaking PAR Initiative.
“My time with WICT has been one of the most significant experiences of my professional career,” said Mosley in announcing her exit. “I have been fortunate enough to work with remarkable leaders, first-hand, and take part in incredible changes in this dynamic industry.”
Mosley, a gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics, joined WICT in 2001 when membership was around 4,000. Today, the organization has nearly double that many members and some 20 regional chapters across the country.
“In her eight years leading WICT, Benita has made an indelible mark on the organization,” said Time Warner Cable executive vice president and chief communications officer Ellen East, chair of WICT’s board of directors.
In 2003, WICT launched its PAR Initiative, a groundbreaking advocacy program that measures women’s progress in the industry in terms of pay equity, advancement opportunities and resources for work/life support.
“We can show companies, using hard numbers, where their challenges lie and show them ways they can fix them,” Mosley told Multichannel News earlier this year. “Our goal is to form stronger partnerships with our programmer, operator and vendor partners.”
Under Mosley, WICT expanded its Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, introduced the Rising Leaders and Tech It Out programs and launched its Leadership Conference.
For all the organization’s great work, challenges remain. According to the latest PAR survey, while the cable industry has made great strides in pay, advancement and work/life programs, it has not grown the percentage of women within its ranks. (In 2003, women comprised 38.8% of the industry, as compared to 36.4% in 2008.)
In a recent interview (see separate Q&A), Mosley cited the importance of continuing “to show the industry that we still have work to do so they can’t rest on their laurels.”
Until Mosley’s successor is named, WICT has named senior vice president of strategy and initiatives Parthavi Das to be interim head. Discovery Communications senior vice president of domestic distribution Jennifer Dangar, WICT’s immediate past chair, is heading up the search for a replacement.
Mosely starts in her new role July 1 and will be responsible for overseeing all of USA Track & Field’s High Performance and Sport Science programs, and will lead Team USA’s push for medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“No single individual on the administration side will have a bigger impact on the fortunes of Team USA than Benita,” said USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan in a statement. “She has already proven herself as a world-class athlete, operational manager and organizational leader, and she is a sophisticated communicator. I have no doubt that our High Performance programs will be revolutionized under her leadership.”
But USATF’s gain also marks the cable industry’s loss of “an ardent champion of diversity,” in National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications president Kathy Johnson’s words. “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Benita during her tenure in our industry,” Johnson said.
Similarly, NCTA president Kyle McSlarrow responded to the news of Mosley’s departure by saying, “Our entire industry owes her a debt of gratitude for her dedication to advancing the careers and aspirations of women in our industry.”
Time Warner Cable’s East added: “Although I am very sad to see Benita go, she is living the WICT mission by following her dream.”
John Eggerton, K.C. Neel and George Vernadakis contributed to this report.