WICT Calls for Leadership Through Change

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For some, the realization occurs after a staff meeting, for others, at an industry seminar. Regardless of how and when, inevitably it happens to us all — that moment when you realize that your career is in for a major change.

As the cable and telecommunications industries experience an unprecedented rate of change, these defining moments are being played out by people at all professional levels across the country. Corporate mergers, converging technologies and shifting priorities are changing the way we do business, impacting the bottom line and affecting our personal and professional lives.

Fortunately, more often than not, change leads to new opportunities. The key to turning change into a competitive advantage for you — and your company — is to not simply let change happen, but to change with it. To serve as an agent of change by leading through change.

To help our industry navigate through this dynamic climate, Women in Cable & Telecommunications has created an entirely new program, The WICT Forum 2002, "Leading Through Change," scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 2 in Denver, Colo.

The WICT Forum is a key component of the WICT mission to "develop women leaders who transform our industry." As chair of the current WICT Inc. board, I am fortunate to be involved in this important leadership initiative.

This new annual program combines the pioneering case study format of the former WICT National Management Conference with the leadership focus of the Leadership Summit into a vital, empowering experience for both men and women.


The WICT Forum zeroes in on industry change to offer real-life solutions to the challenges of leadership in a changing environment.

The centerpiece of the program is an original case study developed in partnership with the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. Pulled right from the headlines, the case study uses the corporate merger of two divergent companies to examine every-day management and executive level decision-making scenarios:

  • Sharing fewer resources more effectively,
  • Improving communication,
  • Making smarter decisions,
  • Keeping your employees—and yourself—motivated,
  • Anticipating new changes.

To help participants develop innovative solutions to the real-life corporate challenges posed by the case study, more than 20 academic experts, management consultants and industry trailblazers will lead six comprehensive courses on leadership fundamentals:

  • Change Management, an Industry Overview
  • Best Practices, the People Side of Change
  • Developing High Performance Teams
  • Negotiation for Effective Performance
  • Managing for Innovation & Risk Taking
  • Gender Issues and Management Practices

Using a methodology pioneered by the respected Staub Leadership Consultants, participants at the forum will also devise a "Personal Action Plan" to help them achieve their professional development goals, and put their new leadership skills and techniques to work in their own business environments.

This substantial deliverable will help each participant — and their company — continue to benefit from the WICT Forum experience when they return to their workplace.


In additional to this powerful curriculum, WICT has assembled a large group of our most-respected industry experts from top MSOs and networks to serve as program stewards, course moderators and panelists.

The well-rounded perspectives of these accomplished leaders, who represent various functional lines of responsibility, make the forum a valuable experience for managers from all backgrounds and disciplines.

Notable experts from major MSOs will include:

  • Michael Willner, president and CEO of Insight Communications Co. and chairman of the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association
  • Mae Douglas, senior vice president and chief people officer, Cox Communications Inc.
  • Jerry McKenna, vice president, strategic marketing, Cable One Inc.
  • Top talent from the major networks will include:
  • Kathleen Dore, president, Bravo Networks
  • Laureen Ong, president, National Geographic Channel
  • Anne Sweeney, president, ABC Cable Networks Group

The WICT Forum will also feature top executives from other industries, from whose leadership experience we can gain valuable insight, including Lisa Buckley, senior vice president of marketing, Western Union; Donna de Varona, Olympian and sports commentator; Robert "Dusty" Staub, chairman and CEO of Staub Leadership Consultants; and Lloyd D. Ward, CEO and Secretary General, United States Olympic Committee.

The forum promises to be the industry's most comprehensive leadership program and I hope you will take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.


The importance of leadership — and leading through change — cannot be overlooked. According to a recent benchmarking survey by Development Dimensions International (DDI), 34 percent of companies with higher financial performance had established high quality leadership programs.

For more than 20 years, WICT has partnered with cable and telecommunications leaders to provide leadership programs and services and create professional advancement opportunities for women.

Currently, I am focused on a major rebranding initiative to realign WICT programming with the organization's leadership mission. This massive effort, which began in 2000, included a comprehensive review of programs, initiatives, services and corporate sponsors to determine strategies to better serve members, and achieve WICT's goal of advancing the position and influence of women in the cable and telecommunications industry.

The WICT Forum is the outcome of nearly 18 months of intense rebranding work undertaken by board members, WICT staff, WICT members, market research firms and a senior industry advisory committee.

The results of our renewed leadership focus are already beginning to show. More women and their companies are becoming actively involved with WICT. I am happy to report that WICT recently added the new Virginia Satellite chapter, for a total of 23 chapters. The number of members we serve is climbing as well — nearly 5,000, an all-time high and clear indication that the industry needs an organization serving women professionals in cable and telecommunications.


According to the same DDI study, how well companies use training tools to move promising individuals into executive roles has a direct impact on turnover percentage and the company's bottom line.

WICT's portfolio of leadership development programs offers multiple tools that companies can access to help build leaders that will strengthen their organizations. Our highly regarded programs and services provide vital and unique leadership training and industry-wide recognition.

WICT's flagship executive development program, the Betsy Magness LeadershipInstitute, provides intensive, yearlong training for senior women who are ready to take on significant leadership responsibilities. The curriculum features an inaugural session at the world-renowned Center for Creative Leadership and strategy meetings with top industry leaders.

The Executive Development Seminar, a three-day immersion, equips mid- to senior-level women with tools to strengthen their leadership styles and more effectively balance their personal and professional lives.

The annual WICT Foundation Benefit Gala serves as a platform to recognize industry leaders who have advanced the position and influence of women and to support the ongoing advocacy initiatives of the WICT Foundation. The 18th Annual WICT Foundation Benefit Gala will be held November 6 in Washington, D.C., and include the presentation of The Accolades, WICT's most prestigious awards honoring outstanding individuals and network programming.

Companies eager to take advantage of WICT resources can also tap into the tremendous opportunities available though the vast network of local WICT chapters, which continue to provide some of the industry's most innovative programming and grass-roots professional development.

From San Francisco's "Leadership Summit" to Rocky Mountain's "Mentoring Program" to New York's "Career Development Series," and Philadelphia's skill-building "Breakfast Club Series," local chapters offer numerous ways for companies to partner with WICT in creating leaders together.


WICT embraces a spirit of collaboration within our organization and throughout our industry because we believe that by helping women, we help the entire industry. As we recommit ourselves to our mission, we will continue to provide high-quality, cutting-edge leadership programming such as the WICT Forum.

I would like to call cable and telecommunications industry leaders to action by encouraging them to work with us in committing to leadership development.

First, actively seek out women with leadership potential. Second, ensure that positions of influence are available to women within your organization. Third, encourage internal participation and support for WICT programs and services.

Finally, make sure that your company takes advantage of WICT Forum 2002. Together, we will develop women leaders who transform our industry.