Comedian and actress Kira Soltanovich will be the emcee and veteran industry executive Bridget Baker, formerly of NBCUniversal and now president of Baker Media, will provide the keynote address at the 2015 LEA Awards, set for Thursday evening (Nov. 12) at the Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles.
The 23rd annual awards gala, presented by the Southern California chapter of Women in Cable & Telecommunications, will honor five industry veterans for their outstanding contributions to the cable telecommunications industry.
A LEA Award is one of the most prestigious honors one can receive in the Southern California entertainment business.
The five honorees are:
Sherry Brennan, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Fox Networks;
Dale Hopkins, Executive Vice President, Distribution, Game Show Network;
Gail Kodama, Senior Sales Director, Charter Communications;
Suzanne Schlundt, Vice President of Marketing — West Region, Cox Communications; and
Board Member of the Year:Emilio Rangel, Creative Supervisor, Time Warner Cable Media.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in San Francisco, emcee Kira Soltanovich has hosted her own Showtime comedy special (Here Comes Trouble); was a series regular in Oxygen’s Girls Behaving Badly; and was the recurring voice of “The Photo Booth” on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. She’s also written for series on TV Land and Disney Channel and appears in comedy festivals around the world.
For more information about the event, visit www.socalwict.org.
Senior Vice President, Distribution, Fox Networks
Sherry Brennan is responsible for developing multiplatform growth strategies for FN’s video products, exploring potential new business models with alternative platform distributors, and contributing to FN’s long range digital strategy. She also oversees analysis of video-consumption trends and the changing value equation in the new multiplatform landscape, works closely with FN’s business development team on new channel ideas and acquisitions, and helps manage the strategy behind Fox’s investment in Hulu.
Brennan joined FN in 2005 as vice president of sales strategy and development. In that role, Brennan created strategic sales initiatives with the division’s top video distributors and worked closely with FN’s business-development team on new channel ideas.
Earlier Brennan spent seven years with Cablevision Systems in Bethpage, N.Y., as vice president, PPV and enhanced video products, and as programming consultant for the HDTV satellite service, Voom. Prior to Cablevision, she served as director of operations for Los Angeles’s Falcon Cable TV.
Executive Vice President, Distribution, GSN
Dale Hopkins has more than 20 years of deep C-level experience — including positions as CEO, chief operating officer and chief marketing officer — with digital and traditional high-growth media conglomerates such as Comcast, BSkyB, Star TV, Liberty Media, DirecTV, Sony and NBC. She has built and managed successful multimillion-dollar digital and traditional media companies with total invested and realized capital of more than $2 billion. These include E!, Style, G4, g4tv.com, eonline.com, GSN, CNBC and iwin.com.
She joined multimedia content provider GSN, owned by Sony and DirecTV, in 2009. As head of distribution, she works closely with the key decision-makers at top satellite and cable companies. Previously, she was executive VP and chief marketing officer for GSN. Prior to GSN, Hopkins served as interim CEO of CGS (Championship Gaming Series), a co-venture of DirecTV, BSkyB and Star TV. She spent seven years (including as COO) at the G4 network. She has also held executive positions at E! Entertainment Television, CNBC and CBS.
Senior Sales Director, Charter Communications
Gail Kodama serves in the Spectrum Business organization, the business-services unit of cable provider Charter Communications. In her current role, she is responsible for support of sales, operations, and process initiatives for the SMB organization nationally for the SMB space under Charter executive vice president Jon Hargis.
She has been with Charter for more than 10 years, starting out as a sales manager in Southern California in 2005 and then promoted to director for California and then a senior director for the West Region at the cable provider.
She has carried out key roles within the Charter organization, such as supporting the launch of All Digital, launching the Channel Partner Programs and migration of the SMB organization in 2015.
Kodama has been in the telecommunications industry for more than 18 years, starting out by “carrying a bag” as an account manager for a regional CLEC, and advancing to manager and then to regional director.
She continues to mentor and coach key sales people within the Charter organization.
Vice President of Marketing — West, Cox Communications
Suzanne Schlundt’s territory includes San Diego, Orange County, Palos Verdes, Santa Barbara, Arizona and Las Vegas. She is responsible for the field execution of the cable company’s national marketing strategy, as well as the launch of new products and product enhancements.
Schlundt, who joined Cox in December 2012, has more than 20 years of marketing experience in fast-paced, highly competitive consumer industries including the restaurant, consumer product goods and entertainment sectors. Her background includes research, brand strategy, product development and integrated marketing communications.
Earlier, she was vice president of client services for Blueocean Market Intelligence, a global-market research and consulting company. She has also held leadership positions with Disney Consumer Products, Jack-in-the-Box and Mattel. She has a bachelor of arts degree from Occidental College and an MBA from the University of Southern California. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Dave, and two daughters.
Creative Supervisor, Time Warner Cable Media
Emilio Rangel never saw the inside of a traditional classroom until he attended college. With his siblings, he was homeschooled by his mother where, at a young age, he discovered his passion in the creative arts. Educated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College, he went on to graduate from California State University, Fullerton with a graduate degree in graphic design.
Throughout his nine years at Time Warner Cable Media, Rangel has proven to be an integral member of the corporate marketing team as creative supervisor. He spends his days working with his team on the TWC Media brand within projects that span from print, on-air, digital, social media, and events. He manages the brand in 46 markets.
His experience expands beyond the media and marketing world; he also wored a professional wedding cake decorator while in his early 20s. He resides in Belmont Shore, Calif., where he can be found enjoying a run along the beach, freeing space on his DVR, or traveling to an adventurous place.