TITLE: Senior Vice President, Product Leadership, Nielsen
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Rising in the media research ranks at Nielsen since 2005, Kelly Abcarian oversees the strategic vision and roadmap for the firm’s National TV Ratings and Total Audience products, focused on the convergence of devices and crossplatform audience measurement. She was responsible for developing and delivering the first on-demand platform for the company’s Buy business and was instrumental in the delivery of Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings and Mobile Measurement Platforms.
MAJOR MENTORS: “The first one is Megan Clarken, president of product leadership at Nielsen. I truly would not be the person I am today without her influence. She has helped me to shape and build my personal brand by teaching me to consistently show up. She has also inspired me to raise my awareness of the value of how I may be perceived by others. The second one is Jack Wakshlag, the former chief research officer at Turner and current advisory board member at Simulmedia. Jack has inspired and encouraged me to challenge the status quo. He gave me the confidence that my ideas had value and merit and that there was a place for new and innovative ideas in media research and measurement.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I like that I am always learning something new while getting the opportunity to solve really hard problems with really smart people. The outcomes of those results for Nielsen and the industry at large are always gratifying.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “You don’t have to have all the answers to take on a new opportunity or a new role in your career. The expression ‘fake it until you make it’ can work, and if you have the passion, work ethic and the commitment to do something, those three ingredients are enough.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “Spending time with friends and family is key to my relaxation. They are the lifeline of my existence, and I attribute all of my successes to the love and support that they give me. I also ensure that I get my own downtime, as I find it allows for my own personal reflection and rest enabling me to recharge my batteries to take on the next set of challenges.”
TITLE: Senior Vice President, Content Distribution, Pop TV
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: At Pop, a CBS-Lionsgate network seen in about 80 million homes, Pam Bertino leads content distribution and marketing as well as digital and international distribution, while overseeing content distribution and marketing teams based in Los Angeles. Since she joined Pop in 2014, she has helped the network secure new carriage agreements (along with key renewals) that added millions of homes in 2016. She reports to general counsel and COO David Mandell. Prior to Pop, she was senior VP of content distribution at Ovation in Los Angeles, after spending 15 years in distribution and affiliate roles at The Weather Channel. Earlier in her career, she served as VP, residential sales at Digital Music Express Inc. and worked on the Nissan Worldwide account at Chiat/Day/Mojo.
MAJOR MENTORS: “Decker Anstrom and Debora Wilson from The Weather Channel. Together we built the company to be the most-distributed cable network with more than 100 million subscribers — more than any other cable network at the time. These are two of the smartest and most people-oriented leaders I have ever known, who had the deep belief that great companies are made when the people running the company and doing the work are heavily invested in, listened to, supported, developed and well-compensated. This makes all the difference in the world.
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “The smart, super-creative people I work with on a day-to-day basis! We spend so much time in our working lives, and it is very important to enjoy working with great teams to bring new ideas to fruition. Great teamwork is the foundation to making amazing things happen.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “Treat the people you work with the same way you’d like to be treated yourself, with respect, kindness and dignity. Seek out their ideas, listen to them, and give them space to grow, and they will go the extra mile for you and the company.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “My favorite thing to do is spend time with my 9-year-old son, Kasher — riding bikes, watching Cartoon Network, traveling with him and watching him grow!”
TITLE: Executive Vice President, Original Programming, EPIX
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: With bona fides established at ABC, HBO and elsewhere, Jocelyn Diaz joined EPIX in 2015, charged with building and creating the network’s first-ever foray and pipeline into original series. Less than a year and thousands of scripts later, EPIX launched not one but two scripted shows in 2016 with another (Get Shorty) slated for 2017. Filmed at different ends of the world (one, Graves, shot in New Mexico and the other, Berlin Station, on location in Berlin, Germany), Diaz regularly traveled to both sites, overseeing the direction and creation to make sure every detail was in place to be worthy of EPIX’s premiere shows. She came to EPIX from being vice president, Walt Disney Motion Picture Production, overseeing live-action feature development and production for the studio. Before taking on that role in 2011, she was vice president, HBO Entertainment, drama series, responsible for overseeing the development and production of dramatic series for the network, including such series as Boardwalk Empire and Big Love. She joined HBO from ABC Television where, over the course of several years, she worked on such award-winning series as Lost, Ugly Betty, Pushing Daisies, NYPD Blue, The Practice and The Drew Carey Show.
MAJOR MENTORS: “I have been blessed to have many mentors every step of my career from the beginning at ABC through today.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I like the breadth of things I get to work on — documentaries, comedies, scripted series, etc. And I love working closely with the creators of these projects to take ideas, develop them and turn them into stories and characters that connect with an audience.”
BEST CAREE RADVICE: “I would offer that working at something you love with a supportive work environment is the brass ring. I would focus on both of those aims and not lose sight of one or the other. If the work is great but the environment isn’t positive, the work and eventually one’s self will suffer.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “I love to hike, travel, read, cook and spend as much time with family and friends as possible.”
TITLE: Senior Vice President, National Television, comScore
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Carol Hinnant has been a driving force in Rentrak-comScore’s television measurement from day one, including playing an integral role in signing CNBC, the company’s first major broadcast network for the TVEssentials service, while also working with other “early day” clients such as Bloomberg Television and MTV. She continues to negotiate some of the company’s largest network deals, recently having taken on the additional role of selling digital and cross-platform services to the industry since the merger of Rentrak and comScore in early 2016. Prior to comScore, she worked for 16 years at Rentrak, lastly as senior vice president, National Television Sales. She entered the media business via HBO’s legal department.
MAJOR MENTORS: “It was my parents that instilled a love of learning and created an appreciation of work ethic that have propelled me in my career, so I would have to say they were my earliest mentors. John Redpath, Matthew Kasman and Cathy Hetzel have been the strongest influence in my media career. I feel very privileged to have received such great training during my tenure at HBO. Both the legal and sales operations experience positioned me well for every job I have had since my departure in 1998. Bill Livek and Chris Wilson have challenged me and pushed me to greater success and I deeply respect their talents, but I would have to say that Cathy Hetzel has been my greatest role model, mentor and friend over the last 10 years and I wouldn’t be here without her sage advice and leadership.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “The variety of people, networks and challenges that are presented daily are what I enjoy most about my job, I am never bored. I love learning about my client’s business and challenges and using my experience and comScore’s measurement resources to find solutions.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “At any point in your career, if you approach each task or challenge with a mindset of learning something new, you will always find your work rewarding.’
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “I enjoy spending time with my children, extended family and good friends — whether that be on the golf course, beach, taking a walk or enjoying a great meal.”
TITLE: Vice President, State Government Affairs-South, Charter Communications
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Marva Johnson, the former corporate vice president of government and industry affairs at Bright House Networks, now with Charter Communications, oversees state government affairs in nine Southern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. She had joined Bright House (acquired by Charter last year) in 2006 and helped bring the company’s competitive local-exchange carrier (CLEC) forward from concept to operational reality, as Bright House became the second-largest wireline provider of voice services in Florida. Earlier, she had been general counsel at Supra Telecommunications and VP and senior counsel for KMC Telecommunications.
MAJOR MENTORS: “I have been fortunate to have had many mentors and coaches in my career, but there are two that stand out most prominently to me right now: Nomi Bergman and Roscoe Young. Both of these phenomenal individuals were excellent role models and demonstrated the power of leading with authenticity and a focus on excellence.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I love working in an industry that is rapidly improving the world we live in. With every upgrade on bandwidth and reliability we bring to the market, we open the door to more possibilities for new, more innovative, applications and services.”
BEST CAREE RADVICE: “While we should endeavor to always have a plan and a strategy, never be afraid to adjust your course to meet the changing landscape. Sometimes despite the vast wealth of educational, career and technical training we bring to the table, resiliency and flexibility are the skills that we need to conquer the new challenges in front of us.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “Spending time with my family tops the list every day. Raising a family and managing in a two career household has its challenges. We try to make sure that we never take the time that we spend together for granted.
TITLE: Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Operations, AT&T Entertainment Group
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Vicki Jones’s team is responsible for end-to-end Customer Experience strategy, investment and execution, and overall operations support for AT&T’s mobility and consumer businesses, including channels such as retail sales and distribution, sales and service centers, commercial and connected communities. Her team also supports the Apple relationship and the wireless reseller business — business units that generate more than $120 billion in annualized revenue. Her team also owns the delivery of FCC merger conditions associated with the DirecTV transaction and Entertainment Group compliance and audit support. Earlier, she held numerous leadership positions within AT&T and DirecTV.
MAJOR MENTORS: ”I have had many men and women who have served as mentors throughout my career. And I have learned from all of them. What is perhaps unique is that most of my mentors have been women. It is great that AT&T has had so many women in leadership positions who have supported the advancement of other women.“
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “From the first day of my career I have loved serving customers. The products and services we provide are at the center of people’s lives, so finding ways to make their experiences effortless and inspiring are huge motivators for me. I have the privilege of leading the Customer Experience and Operations team for AT&T’s consumer businesses. We have the unique opportunity to deliver a set of integrated solutions for mobilized entertainment that customers can only get from AT&T. Our Chairman and CEO places Customer Experience as one of his top priorities which gives us support to make necessary investments to help achieve our objectives.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “Dream big and avoid limited thinking. Build a strong network of trusted partners. Be resilient and positive.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “My husband and I enjoy spending time with our family and friends and playing golf together.”
TITLE: Chief Operating Officer, Bloomberg Media
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Rising from intern to senior vice president of advertising at USA Today before working at other wellknown brands such as Yahoo!, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, UM WW and IPG Mediabrands, Jacki Kelley has made an indelible mark on each organization. At Bloomberg Media since 2014, she has formalized programs focused on the recruitment, development and retention of diverse employees, making her one of Bloomberg’s champions of inclusion. She spearheaded this year a six-part TV and video series “Big Problems, Big Thinkers,” targeting solutions to big threats facing humanity.
MAJOR MENTORS: “I have been fortunate to be mentored by many as I pick people first, then roles and companies! It’s one of the reaons I came to Bloomberg Media as our CEO, Justin Smith, is a proven visionary and a compassionate leader. One mentor that I often single out is Tom Curley, who was the president and publisher of USA Today before becoming the head of the Associated Press. While many people have believed in me and advocated for my growth, Tom pushed me at a time when I was certain I was not ready for the role. I was less experienced than my peers and lacked the confidence to believe I could do the job. He saw things in me that I did not yet see in myself and he pushed me to stretch. I am grateful that rather than seeing my hesitation as weakness, he pushed me to gain a new level of confidence.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “In a world of growing populism and fake news, I could not be more excited about the important role that Bloomberg plays and the value we bring to our audience, advertisers and distribution partners. Also, most people don’t realize that a majority of Bloomberg profits go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is making the world a better and safer place on many levels. Knowing our efforts are creating lasting change is a real point of pride for all of us at Bloomberg.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “My career advice is to pick people. We all spend a lot of time at work and it has to be something that fills our souls and enhances our lives. At the essence of this is culture and leadership. Pick people that inspire you. Pick people that you can learn from. Pick people that have a track record of advocating for others. I would also offer to pick learning over climbing.”
TITLE: Chief Human Relations Officer, Univision
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: At Univision Communications, the leading media company serving Hispanic America, Margaret Lazo leads human capital strategy, including leadership development, succession planning, advancing diversity and inclusion, organizational design, employee relations and compensation and benefits. In line with the organization, her goal is to attract the finest talent in the industry to UCI while retaining and empowering the team currently in place. Lazo joined UCI from GE Capital, where she lately served as human resources leader for the North American Commercial Lending and Leasing businesses. Earlier, she served in a number of human-resources leadership roles at NBCUniversal, including for the cable and broadcast entertainment and digital properties, for Telemundo Communications Group and for NBC’s owned television stations division. She began her career in human-resources management at retailer Macy’s.
MAJOR MENTORS: “I have been fortunate to work with a terrific cadre of professionals throughout my career, both in human resources and outside, whom I have learned from, who have pushed me to take on many challenges and helped me evolve my own leadership style and remain in my circle of trusted go-to advisers today.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “Partnering with my colleagues to achieve strategic objectives through their teams keeps me energized. Identifying talent and coaching for success is very rewarding; I truly enjoy seeing people grow and flourish in their careers.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “Seek out opportunities to grow experientially. Raise your hand for the challenging assignment, whether it’s a business turnaround or a new venture, something that takes you out of your comfort zone, and make your mark. With high risk comes high reward. You will benefit tremendously from the experience and likely leap forward for doing so. I always say, the tough stuff makes you stronger!”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “These days, it’s enjoying quality time with my family. My three-year-old twin daughters keep me busy!”
TITLE: Executive Vice President, Distribution and Business Management, iN DEMAND
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Lauren LoFrisco heads up the team that focuses on the transactional content distribution company’s distribution sales, research and public relations initiatives. Her team works closely with multi-video provider clients and programming partners to find product and marketing efficiencies and promotions to improve buys and revenue of video-on-demand, pay-perview and multi-platform services. Earlier, she was group VP of marketing for Time Warner Cable and before that helped launch the Road Runner High Speed Online broadband service as VP of marketing. She also was a distribution account director at HBO and started out in cable ad sales at Harron Communications.
MAJOR MENTORS: “Only after years of working in the industry and my participation in the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute did I truly understand the influence my family’s strong women had on me. My grandmothers were both very independent women whose unique core beliefs inspired multiple generations. And my mother’s tenacity and flexibility in managing major shifts is part of my DNA.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “The thrill of identifying an opportunity and launching a plan to leverage iN DEMAND’s strengths to the benefit of our clients and programming partners. I love the dynamic change underway in the VOD universe, and the exponential growth in consumer video entertainment options.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “With Change Comes Opportunity. Learn from your mistakes. Create your own personal board of directors who can provide guidance and honest feedback. Spend thoughtful time to continuously learn. Present both challenges and positive encouragement to others.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “I appreciate the time I can spend with my husband, my family and my friends. With two teens, I am in a daily role of mentoring, only they don’t respond as positively as mentees that I have had the pleasure of working with!” I love to watch movies, hike, go boating and travel to new places.”
TITLE: Vice President of Affiliate Sales, NBC Sports Regional Networks
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Kathy McMahon, in a position she has held since 2007, oversees all aspects of affiliate sales, marketing and operations for NBC Sports Group’s eight regional sports networks, including CSN Philadelphia, CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago, CSN Mid-Atlantic and SportsNet New York. She is responsible for the distribution of networks that televise more than 2,200 live sports events per year, along with award-winning news and analysis programming, to more than more than 43 million homes in the nation’s top markets. McMahon joined NBC Sports Regional Networks (then Comcast Sports Group) from CSN Mid-Atlantic and its predecessor, Home Team Sports (HTS). During her 12 years with the Washington, D.C./Baltimore-area network, she held a number of positions, including vice president of marketing and affiliate relations from 2002 to 2007. McMahon and her husband, Trent, reside in Brookeville, Md., with their three children. She is a Washington area native.
MAJOR MENTORS: “I have been fortunate to have several great mentors. One in particular is Dana Zimmer, who introduced me to the industry. She is very talented and always took the time and effort to share her knowledge and experience, while always maintaining a good sense of humor in the most challenging times. Dana remains a good friend and colleague.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “Luckily, quite a lot. Working in sports and having the opportunity to learn from the industry’s best and brightest is inspiring, especially as we grow and adapt in this rapidly changing media landscape. I also enjoy that every day brings new and unique challenges and that my role allows me to work with many great colleagues across the company, our networks and our league and team partners.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “Ask a lot of questions and be curious. If you continue to learn and accept new challenges, great opportunities will follow.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “Spending time with my husband and three children and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay, especially its beautiful sunsets.”
TITLE: President, Videa
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Shereta Williams brings two decades of professional and industry experience to Videa, the programmatic TV vendor owned by Cox Media Group. Videa partners with TV stations to deliver a live, supply-side marketplace for full schedule, forward reserve ad inventory that can be ordered weeks or quarters in advance. As president, she leads the organization’s overall strategic and product direction.
She has more than a decade of experience with Cox in various investment, strategy and development roles focused on digital media and broadcast television. Prior to Videa, she served as managing director at a financial start-up focused on algorithmic trading, and she began her career in mergers and acquisitions at Lazard.
Williams is passionate about developing products and services that solve large-scale problems. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she served as president of the National Society of Black Engineers. When she is not leading the team at Videa, she is most likely on a hiking trail or boating in north Florida.
MAJOR MENTORS: “Like most folks, my biggest mentors are people you’ve never heard of — my parents, my early teachers, and later in life some of my biggest mentors have been my classmates from MIT, many of whom are leading various organizations around the world.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “The opportunity to solve a large-scale problem by building a team of really smart and fun people. I have been lucky to work for a great company for a very long time, so being able to create growth and contribute to the Cox story is also very rewarding.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “My career advice, and advice for life in general, can be boiled down to two things — be true to yourself and do what you love. These two things should lead you to a good path.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “Anything outdoors — hiking, kayaking, walking our dog, traveling somewhere beautiful or different, and of course spending time with family and friends — preferably over good food and drinks.”
TITLE: Executive Vice President and General Manager, UP TV
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Amy Winter oversees and offers creative guidance for UP TV’s brand and programming, including the development and production of movies, scripted series and unscripted series, as well as scheduling and acquisitions, marketing, public relations, digital and social media. Since joining the network, she has significantly re-energized its brand. Under the tagline “We Get Family,” UP increased its second-quarter ratings and saw its average audience age fall by almost 10 years. UP scored with a Gilmore Girls binge-a-thon that led up to the Netflix’s launch of new episodes of the series. Other originals and acquisitions include Growing Up McGhee; Small Town, Big Mayor; Bringing Up Bates and Parenthood. Winter joined UP in 2015 from Discovery Communications, where she was executive VP and general manager of TLC.
MAJOR MENTORS: “My mother, who taught me empathy and insight by constantly asking me ‘How would that make you feel?’ Eileen O’Neill, my former boss at Discovery, for her combination of competitive nature and compassion. Charley Humbard, CEO of UP, [who taught me] the fearlessness of being purpose-driven.”
LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “My favorite part of my job happens in two parts: the first is being in a room full of talented people as they get excited about an idea that we are bringing to life and watching as they take it on, own it and talk through how to make it even better. The second is when they return with the results of all their work — and it’s surprising and delightful and even better than you expected. The thing is, though, I expect to be delighted like that every time.”
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “I believe that the greatest creativity occurs in teams with trust. If you haven’t nurtured that environment even the most talented people can lose focus or play too safe or against each other and the work suffers because collaboration breaks down. It is a must to be competitive, but I’ll never understand why some environments turn that competition inwardly resulting in bad blood. We all want to win. Let’s win together.”
ENJOYS DURING DOWNTIME: “Now there’s a thought. What WOULD I do?”