Still the Good Old Boys Club


It was enlightening to attend last week's Women in Cable & Telecommunications gala in Washington, D.C., held this year to honor Rainbow Media Holdings president of entertainment services Kathy Dore.

The evening was uplifting, celebrating Dore, the best companies for women to work for and the tons of women who had gone through the Betsy Magness Institute professional skills-building course.

Nor did WICT mince words — albeit, in a very nice, muted way — about how way too many women are leaving the cable marketplace to seek greener pastures.

And that's a problem, because some — heck, not some, most — people missed that message. So what do women have to do to be heard? Perhaps scream and rant like Rosie O'Donnell. I hope not, because when that happens, the woman usually winds up in court. Look at Rosie.

No doubt, cable is a sector that has made great strides. It is employing more women than ever, but not necessarily in top management positions. That lack of advancement shows as more and more women are leaving the industry.

Dore graciously and intelligently addressed the problem. She told a story from her personal life — how she, as a small child, had accompanied her father, who was a corporate president to his office on Saturdays to get a very early feel for what corporate America was like.

In a nutshell, Dore said that while women are now accepted in the "corridors" of corporate America, more needs to be done to encourage them to advance to the boardroom.

It had to be a night filled with bittersweet emotions for Dore, accepting the WICT award while one of her longtime personal and professional friends, Katie McEnroe, was not present to celebrate her many accomplishments.

That's because McEnroe, along with 13 other employees of Rainbow's AMC unit, were terminated last June for alleged accounting irregularities.

And I bring up McEnroe because she was once a very big fish in the Rainbow sea. Her boss, Josh Sapan, remains at the helm, unscathed by whatever alleged or real accounting scandals might have happened there. It plays like a Lifetime movie.

By and large, the truth is that corporate America has remained unchanged, with men still calling the shots and women advancing if they play the guy game. Truly, women are not appreciated for the sensitivities and subtleties that they bring to the table.

But let's focus on a positive role model for women in cable. WICT president Benita Fitzgerald Mosely presided over that gala last week, less than two weeks before her delivery date. She is expecting a second child, a girl.

That night, I was with Benita backstage. She was dead-dog tired and not having an easy pregnancy, if there is such a thing. But when her moment came to preside on stage, she lit up and steeled herself to do her job with professionalism, wit and grace.

If this species intends to survive, men, who are married to women who bear their children, have got to understand that women are a lot stronger than they get credit for.

And women are far more diplomatic, which goes a long way in greasing the cogs of commerce.