The Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner will have honorees after all. The organization late last week announced four “diversity champions” for its Sept. 14 fundraiser, a big annual affair.
Effectively abolishing the traditional single-CEO honoree for the diversity-themed dinner, Kaitz this year will honor the efforts of Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt and a trio of Cox Enterprises Inc. executives: Mae Douglas, senior vice president and chief people officer; Sherryl Love, vice president of materials management, and Jim Hatcher, senior vice president of legal and regulatory affairs.
Kaitz also will give its first-ever Diversity Advocate Award to Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.). Going forward, the award will go to a non-cable individual who champions diversity issues that affect the industry.
“Each of these individuals has done an incredible job of advancing diversity,” Kaitz Foundation executive director Debbie Smith said. “One of the things we talked about is moving away from honoring just individuals. Glenn Britt and these three Cox individuals have done a yeoman's job at advancing diversity within their respective groups.”
Not all of the names were confirmed in time to make an initial dinner mailing two weeks ago, she said. It cited the dinner co-chairs, Comcast Corp. chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and Disney Media Networks co-chairman George Bodenheimer, as well as the master of ceremonies, MSNBC anchor Lester Holt.
Last year's Kaitz dinner honored former California Cable Television Association president and foundation founder Spencer Kaitz, as well as the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, Women in Cable & Telecommunications and The Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media. Those groups receive funding from Kaitz.
Smith said the theme this year, “Diversity 365,” emphasizes the need for year-round focus on employee diversity.
“Diversity happens 365 days of the year — it doesn't have a start date or an end date,” she said.
Smith said the new honoree format is one of many changes Kaitz is undergoing to be more effective. One other: A revamped Kaitz Web site to be unveiled during the “Diversity Week” events surrounding the dinner.
Kaitz will also continue to reach out to other industry organizations such as Cable Positive, the T. Howard Foundation, American Women in Radio And Television, NAMIC, WICT, Emma Bowen, the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association and the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing to discuss ways to advance diversity goals.