'Diversity Week' Going Strong

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The annual Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner is the centerpiece of the industry's annual Diversity Week festivities, but it certainly isn't the only cable-related event occurring in New York next week.

NAMIC, Women In Cable and Telecommunications, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, and Paul Kagan Associates will all hold conferences or events during the week, focused predominantly on the industry's efforts to increase diversity throughout its employment ranks, as well as through its programming and marketing projects.

While many of these same events were cancelled last year due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, most organizations expect respective attendance figures to remain on par with previous years.

The Kaitz Foundation, for example, has already raised $1.4 million through ticket sales for its Sept. 25 event, which this year honors Comcast Corp. president Brian Roberts. Foundation president Art Torres said the industry remained steadfast in its support of the organization's diversity efforts in the year following the terrorist attacks.

"This year's good dinner sales are an indication of the importance the cable-broadband industry still places on diversity," Torres said.

NAMIC is also expecting to near last year's 400 attendee count for its Sept. 23 to Sept. 24 conference, dubbed "The Digital Connection: Creating a World Without Boundaries," said organization executives.

The two-day conference will offer three session tracks: marketing and product content; new media and product distribution; and diversity development, featuring many top industry executives. Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Charles Dolan and ABC Cable Networks president Anne Sweeney will serve as conference co-chairs.

"What we're doing has great relevance for the industry," NAMIC president Patricia Andrews-Keenan said. "As we change, we have to pay attention to the shifting demographics, and the conference is about what the industry can gain from coming and getting the information from the experts."

Meanwhile, CTAM's New York chapter said it has already sold out the 350 tickets allotted for its Sept. 25 breakfast, "Today's Broadband Tightrope: Balancing Customers, Technology and Cashflow" at the New York Marriott. The event, moderated by Matt Stump, editor of Multichannel News's Broadband Week, features Comcast Corp. executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service David Watson, Charter Communications Inc. executive vice president and COO Dave Barford and Insight Communications Co. president Kim Kelly as panelists.

A full house is also anticipated at WICT's Sept. 25 Executive Women's Luncheon saluting "Female Risk Takers." The event, held at The Supper Club, will feature WICT president Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Oxygen Media CEO Geraldine Laybourne, former Adelphia Communications Corp. senior vice president Ann Montgomery and Charter Communications senior vice president of marketing and programming Diane Schneiderjohn. ABC Good Morning America
anchor Robin Roberts will moderate the panel.

Other events slated for Diversity Week include a Sept. 24 to Sept. 25 Kagan Broadband Technology Summit at the Regency Hotel; and a Sept. 29 to Sept. 30 Forrester Research conference on "Television's On-Demand Transformation," held at the Millenium Broadway Hotel.

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