Debbie Smith


TITLE: Executive Director, Walter Kaitz Foundation

WHY WE'RE WATCHING: The transition period is over. Now firmly at the helm, Smith must place her own imprimatur on the foundation.

SCORE ON 2004: “In conjunction with my joining the organization in March, we facilitated a physical and legal move from California to Washington, D.C. After assisting NCTA with the fifth annual supplier diversity workshop at the National Show last May, we focused on the Kaitz Foundation Annual Fundraising Dinner, which seated over 1,400 participants and collected over $1.4 million. We ended by providing over $1.3 million in funding to the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, NAMIC and WICT.”

WHAT'S NEXT: “Some of our primary objectives include: establishing formal guidelines for provision of grants; developing an industry-wide supplier diversity initiative; developing a cable industry Diversity Council; establishing the Kaitz Web site as the “go to” place for diversity issues for the industry; and increasing awareness of the foundation and its mission.”

DRIVE IN 2005: “I would like to see more companies showing commitment through initiatives including, but not limited to: dedicated employees whose sole function is advocating diversity; inclusion of diversity in the organization's corporate values; and the introduction of diversity councils and training, succession planning and executive coaching. I'd also like to see more minorities and women recruited and retained at mid- to senior-level management positions.”

EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: “There continues to be a glass ceiling in the cable industry. It won't happen overnight, but companies must continue to embrace the fact that women and minorities have the talent and skill set required to successfully lead a cable company, network or industry supplier.”

AT HOME, AT PLAY: “I enjoy activities with husband Lin and daughter Lindsey. I like the symphony, traveling to Ireland to visit family, cheering for the Washington Redskins and playing golf.”