CTHRA Names Cox Communications’ Walter Landry, Time Warner Cable and ESPN as 2016 Excellence in HR Award Honorees

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NAPERVILLE, ILL., September 22, 2016 — Since 2007, the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association’s (CTHRA’s) Excellence in HR Awards has annually honored industry HR professionals for outstanding achievement, leadership and innovation that positively impacted business results. Today, CTHRA announced two HR teams and one individual as its 2016 award recipients.

Programmer Team Innovator of the Year: ESPN Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness Team

ESPN’s Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness Team garnered the programmer Team Innovator Award for its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Playbook, an interactive e-learning program that highlights the positive outcomes of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, workforce and marketplace. ESPN’s Playbook consists of essential tools and techniques employees and managers can leverage to foster a more inclusive environment and improve collaboration and productivity. The award-winning team is comprised of Monica Diaz, vice president of diversity, inclusion and wellness; Jackson L. Davis IV, director of diversity and inclusion; Heath Rosenthal, director of diversity and inclusion; and Ritika Singh, manager of diversity and inclusion.

“I am proud of this team's work in helping ESPN become an even more diverse and inclusive workplace, and reframing the way employees think about and recognize the importance of diversity,” says Paul Richardson, senior vice president, human resources, ESPN and chief diversity officer, The Walt Disney Company. “The D&I Playbook has helped us establish a strong foundation of business acumen that not only educates us on how and why diversity is so vital to our future success but, more importantly, what each and every one of us can do to support it.”

The team started by identifying the most relevant D&I opportunities while finding a balance between the seriousness of the topics and the entertaining tone that epitomizes ESPN’s sports content. The nearly year-long development process required creative conceptualization, design and execution.

While gaining outstanding reviews from employees and upper management of ESPN, the program has also impacted the workplace outside the walls of ESPN. Shortly after its launch, the ESPN D&I Playbook was adopted by The Walt Disney Company and has become one of the most-viewed learning resources within the organization. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also selected and featured ESPN’s D&I Playbook as a best practice in the field of diversity and inclusion.

MSO Team Innovator of the Year: Legacy Time Warner Cable HR Team

Between 2013 and 2015, Time Warner Cable (TWC) faced a proxy contest, a merger agreement, 14 months of regulatory review, termination of the first merger, a second merger agreement, 12 more months of regulatory review and endless integration planning. On May 18, 2016, Charter Communications closed the deal on its acquisition of TWC. Throughout all of the uncertainty, TWC thrived, adding $50 billion in shareholder value and experiencing a share price increase of 800 percent.

“Through the ups and downs of the journey since 2013, the TWC HR team delivered programs, initiatives and experiences, but more importantly, leadership and stability to tens of thousands of managers and employees. The Legacy TWC HR Team represents the best and most urgent of what a great HR team means to a business, to shareholders, to the employees and even to the communities in which our business operates,” noted William Strahan, executive vice president of human resources for Comcast Cable, in his nomination of the Legacy TWC HR Team.

Between 2013 and May of 2016, TWC HR Team members delivered spoken communications that conveyed an authentic concern for individual employees and their families. They launched an active FAQ forum where TWC colleagues at all levels posted real questions that carried the full weight of emotions felt by employees. The TWC HR Team demanded honest answers and responded to every legitimate question submitted. Its forthright transparency became a platform for credibility that engendered trust and allowed for a constant return of focus back on the real world of cable.

The TWC HR Team also developed a multi-tiered severance system that met employee, management and shareholder needs while continuing to invest in training, systems and programs to develop individuals’ careers.

For the undeniable record of maintaining and growing shareholder and enterprise value during an extremely challenging period and environment, CTHRA is proud to honor the Legacy TWC HR Team as MSO Team Innovator of the Year.

Aspiring Leader: Walter Landry

The Aspiring Leader award recognizes an emerging HR professional whose fresh perspective, inventive ideas and innovative approach have positively impacted the leadership and culture of the organization. Walter Landry (pictured on page 3), director of learning strategy at Cox Communications, embodies these characteristics.

After forging critical relationships with leaders in the company’s technology and field service organizations, Landry led his team to design and implement the Technology Learning Gateway (TLG). Now in its third year, TLG features access to formal and informal learning, mobile and desktop resources as well as videos for learning and performance support.

He also led his team in the development of the 21st Century Wiring Program, a training imitative for field services designed to reduce trouble call truck rolls (TCTRs). Using a logic modeling process, he and his team aligned training objectives to lead measures and business outcomes that attributed training to business impact.  In 2015, the program contributed to a 16 percent year-over-year reduction in TCTRs.

Landry also created a strategy to distribute highly coveted vendor learning credits that employees use to pursue certifications and participate in select vendor training programs. His approach has been hailed by the business as critical to driving value from Cox’s vendor partnerships.

Landry’s ability to listen to the needs of the business also resulted in the creation of the Technology Lab. Launched in 2015 at Cox’s Corporate Campus in Atlanta, the lab hosts some of the company’s most advanced technical training, which provides a critical business function: to build the skills of employees who support the current and future performance of Cox’s network, products and services.

“Walter has established himself as a credible business colleague and catalyst for cultivating the talent within our organization with solutions for driving business performance,” said Michele Parks, vice president of talent management and development of Cox Communications. 

Awards Luncheon on November 2 in Philadelphia

CTHRA will present the awards to the three honorees during the Excellence in HR Awards Luncheon, which will take place during CTHRA’s HR Symposium on November 2, 2016, in Philadelphia. To register for the Symposium and attend the luncheon, visit www.cthrasymposium.com.

About CTHRA

The Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association (CTHRA) is the premier human capital resource for the industry and a growing nonprofit organization with more than 3,800 members spanning 50 companies. CTHRA provides industry-specific benchmarks, information and resources, as well as networking and educational opportunities. Its groundbreaking initiatives include industry-specific compensation and employee benefits surveys and an Annual HR Symposium. For more information, visit www.cthra.com.

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