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Advice and Insights from Cable’s “Wonder Women”

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Hundreds of cable industry professionals--not to mention some friends and family members--gathered in New York this week to honor 2011's "Wonder Women" and "Women to Watch" (including Comcast Spotlight's Vice President of Marketing, Kellie Grutko) as recognized by Multichannel News and the New York chapter of WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications). It was the 11th annual recognition luncheon, and as in years past, some of our industry's most dynamic women leaders shared their insights and personal anecdotes about the factors that have contributed to their success.

WICT’s national president, Maria Brennan, set the tone for the afternoon, noting that these leaders, like those that have come before, "serve as the best testimonial that with hard work and dedication, there is no limit to what can be achieved."

Many of the dozen Wonder Women singled out pieces of helpful advice from important figures in their lives, including parents and mentors. Lisa Schwartz, EVP of distribution, operations and business development at IFC Enterprises, recalled her mother advising her to do what made her happy, and to trust her instincts.

Sometimes, of course, mom might not know best, as Cox Communications’ senior VP of customer operations Kimberly Edmunds playfully noted when she recounted her early days in customer service in the wireless industry: her mother suggested Kimberly might want to look for a different job, as the cell phone fad surely wouldn't last. Even college professors miss trends: Lisa Schwartz also pointed out that her professors—in Philadelphia—questioned the wisdom of her choice to enter the cable industry in the 1980s, suggesting the cable business might not have much of a long-term future.

Predictions may not always pan out, but life experience is always something you can rely on, and the Wonder Women shared some of the important lessons they've learned. Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, talked about transforming her company's culture and business operations noted that the "ripple effect of belief and change can be wider than imagined," while Grace Killelea, senior VP of talent & leadership initiatives at Comcast (and formerly part of Comcast Spotlight, we’re proud to note) observed that "ordinary people do extraordinary things every day."

In talking about the importance of persevering in the face of challenges, Stephanie Mitchko, VP of interactive platform development at Cablevision Systems, offered this advice: there's always a solution, it's just a matter of finding the right solution for the problem. Finally, Diane Tryneski,  HBO’s SVP of media and production operations,  summed up the spirit of the event with advice we can all take to heart: "Opportunities are limitless; you need only to seize them."

Comcast Spotlight offers our congratulations to all of this year's Wonder Women and Women to Watch.