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WICT Southeast has updated the website at and is now the new home to our blog.  See you there!



Interviewed by Courtney Madson

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Name: Jill Campbell

Where do you currently work and what’s your current role?  Executive Vice President at Cox Enterprises

Where are you currently located? Atlanta, GA



To help our readers get to know you better, is there a song, quote or book that has inspired you to be the leader you are today?

The stories in a book I read early in my career called “Leadership is an Art” by Max DuPree had a big impact on me and helped me think about leadership in a different way.

Congratulations on being inducted in the Cable Hall of Fame. What does being inducted mean to you?  

Honestly, it was a recognition of all of the great work my collegues and I have done at Cox Communications through the years. It confirmed that I picked a great industry to work in and a terrific company to work for that has given me so many opportunities to grow.

Did you or do you still have a mentor? 

Yes, I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors throughout my career.  My greatest mentor, however, is Cox Communication’s current president Pat Esser. Pat took chances on me in my career.  He gave me opportunities and encouraged me to take risks.  He was and still is great at giving feedback and helping me think through critical issues.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Don’t be afraid to take chances, get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

I know that you were WICT’s Women of the Year and are a Betsy Magness graduate. What kind of impact has WICT made in your life?  

WICT has had a profound impact on my life both professionally and personally.  I have grown tremendously as a leader from the programs I have been involved in with WICT and made lifelong friends through Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and other WICT leadership programs.  More importantly, I have observed what WICT has done for leaders in our company whether it was attending a training program or serving on a local chapter board –  WICT does live up to its motto of developing women leaders.

This year’s WICT theme is “Be Fearless.” How do you think “Being Fearless” has helped you achieve the success you have had in your career?  

Oh, it has been really important in my career!  I moved six times in ten years to take on new assignments and grow with the company. I am a big believer in taking chances and calculated risks. It is also critical to stand up for the things you believe are right.

You’ve been with Cox Communications for the majority of your career, what are the different tactics you’ve taken in your career to become the leader you are today?  

As an operator, you go where the opportunities are in the field.  From a leadership standpoint, I think the single greatest “tactic” I have employed is just being authentic and really caring about the people I work with. Cox is a really special place to work because we all share the same values whether you work in telecommunications, media or auto. We are all in this together.

How do you think volunteering and having passions outside of the cable industry have helped you develop in the leader you are today?  

Community involvement is a key component of who we are at Cox. We have more than 50,000 employees who live and work in the communities we serve.  It is in our DNA to volunteer and give back. By encouraging our employees to explore their passions in the community outside the walls of our buildings, we allow them to exercise all their talents and give back in ways that matter to them.

If you were to talk to give advice to yourself on your first day at Cox, what would you say?   

You made the right choice!  Stay the course!!




Presented by: EMC TEXT@4x


How is it going with your mentor? Are you progressing through the SMART goals you set? Let’s dive into how to adjust, evaluate, and overcome obstacles to help you be fearless and move forward!

Throughout the year, eMentorConnect® will provide you with fearless mentoring tips to empower you to reach your career goals through mentorship. Here’s #6!

WHEN IS IT OVER?  In every mentoring relationship that is bound by goals, once they are achieved, it is time to move to a more informal exchange. When is that time? As the lead, there is a time to Be Fearless in your conversations with your mentor. End your mentorship as you started it.

❖ Evaluate & adjust often

❖ Uncover obstacles & discuss with your Mentor

❖ Address problems sooner not later

❖ Use what you’ve learned from this experience to enhance your next Mentorship

Check out this quick read on Overcoming Mentorship Challenges.



Presented by:   EMC TEXT@4x


To provide a great mentorship experience, it is important to define each person’s roles and responsibilities. Let’s take a look at what that means for you and you mentor.


Throughout the year, eMentorConnect® will provide you with fearless mentoring tips to empower you to reach your career goals through mentorship. Here’s #5!


THE ASK: Be Fearless in your what you ask of your Mentor. If you don’t ask, you won’t get what you want.  Resource article: Mentee’s Roles and Responsibilities




WICT Southeast election season is coming upon us.  Have you thought of becoming a board member? Whether you’re a creative executive, an accountant, a manager, an attorney or even a coordinator, serving on WICT SE’s board will help you do your job better.

Anne Loescher, current president of WICT SE and Bounce TV’s Senior Director of Strategy & Planning for Creative Services, explained to me the following: “Since I joined the board in 2014, I’ve been promoted three times. When I received my most recent promotion earlier this year, our CEO specifically mentioned that my experience on the WICT board of directors prepared me to move into this senior leadership role at the company.”

Here’s what you can gain:

Strengthen your professional credibility and personal brand

Taking on a board position is the perfect place to showcase your expertise and value within the industry because it raises your professional profile.  Robyne Gordon, WICT SE’s Director of Red Letter Awards and corporate legal manager for Turner Entertainment Networks, told me she “had an opportunity to interact with industry leaders in “low pressure” environments (e.g. Red Letter Awards, Taste of WICT, etc.).  Having this type of interaction as an initial meeting sets the stage for you to build rapport on a personal level and nurture and expand upon that platform for your professional development.” Robyne mentioned that being a board member has put her personal brand on display, both knowingly and unknowingly. She also said her position gives her a “bird’s eye view on how you’re perceived, how you work under pressure and your leadership skills” that can propel your personal brand to heights you have not previously imagined.

Meet interesting people. Gain exposure and insight

A big responsibility of being on any nonprofit board is to raise awareness of the organization, which is a great way to expand your professional network.  Serving on WICT Southeast board, you gain new perspectives by engaging with people from diverse backgrounds.  Janine Bowling, an Inside Sales Manager with ARRIS, has served on WICT SE board as Director of Partnership for a year and a half. Since taking on her role, Janine says her “visibility has increased within the company because of being on the board. Since my company is a national sponsor, we are highly encouraged to join the board or become very active within our local chapter.”

Sharpen your skills

Serving on WICT’s board will enable you to strengthen a variety of professional skills that will help your career and give you the opportunity to step up and lead. LaShaun Solomon, Senior Director of Partnerships for WICT SE and Community Account Executive for Comcast told me, “I have had opportunities to practice my people management skills as well as grow my leadership skills. Both of these skills I consider pertinent to my professional career growth. Another benefit of being a part of this board is that you get to learn and pursue a skill that you otherwise may not be able to in one’s current role.”

Grow as a leader. Help the next generation.

Serving on a board can be life changing and amplify your career path because it’s a tremendous opportunity to develop as a leader. But you might find the most rewarding and biggest impact you may find is how you can help others reach their goals.  Anne Loescher said “as women in this industry, I feel that we have a responsibility to help each other. Getting involved with the board is a great way to give back and help to develop the next generation of leaders.”


What’s the number one reason to join? As Nicole Hight, current Tennessee Director of Membership and HGTV Program Planning Coordinator says “it’s FUN! You get to work and travel with a great group of people who have similar interests and just want to help and see each other succeed.”

Before you sign up, keep in mind that pursuing a role on the board may require considerable time and effort and it’s not always glamorous.  Depending on the position, you can expect to devote a minimum of 5 to 15 hours per month, but the payoff could be worth it. Robyne Gordon says it best, “It is a demanding commitment with unlimited benefits” and is worth every minute that you spend on it.

Nominations for WICT SE board open from July 31 – August 18, and elections will take place in September. WICT SE welcomes participation from all facets of our industry. And you do not have to have an upper management title or position to serve; however, you must have your supervisor’s approval to run.

If you have any questions about a board position, please contact WICT SE Vice President Jamie Miller via email at






Name: Tricia Molloy

What is your current role? Corporate leadership speaker; mentor; and author of “Working with Wisdom”


Tricia Molloy is an expert on developing a positive mindset to reduce stress, improve work-life balance and achieve goals. She specializes in empowering emerging women leaders. She is also the author of Working with Wisdom: 10 Universal Principles for Enlightened Entrepreneurs and the CRAVE Your Goals! and DESIGN Your Ideal Life! ebooks.

Briefly, describe your career journey.

I got my degree in broadcast journalism from NYU and aspired to be a TV news anchor. I ended up working in radio in New York City and Phoenix, primarily producing call-in talk shows. In 1988, I started a PR firm and have been doing that for almost 30 years. In 2004, I began writing a book that would help other business owners capitalize on opportunities and deal with challenges. And, about half way through writing it, I realized I should start speaking about this. Today, most of my focus is on my speaking business, for clients like Home Depot, Marriott, and CDC.

What would you say is your greatest achievement?

My kids, Connor and Allyson. They are the kind of people that I would hope to be great friends with, even if they weren’t my kids. They both graduated with honors in three and a half years from the University of Georgia and are pursuing careers that they love.

On June 20th, you’re set to talk to our Birmingham WICT SE chapter.  Can you tell the readers of this blog a little bit about what to expect at the event?

Most people who are good at achieving goals have one thing in common– and that is a positive mindset. The five CRAVE steps that I’m going to share at the event, like using affirmations and being grateful, will help them to develop that mindset so that they can achieve their goals faster and easier.

What big “Aha” moment will the attendees walk away remembering?

I think there are going to be a lot of “aha” moments.  But the one that comes to mind is that it’s all about making conscious choices. When you start to be more aware and more intentional in your choices, it helps lead you to where you want to go.

In your workshops, you talk a lot about goal-setting, why do you feel this is so important to our professional and personal lives?

Life is busy and hectic. Without a list of goals to focus on and letting others know about your goals, it’s hard to move forward and enjoy success. Goals empower you.

What is the biggest mistake that holds people back from achieving their true success?

I think a lot of people doubt whether they deserve to be successful. That’s the key. You must recognize you deserve it to move forward. Otherwise, you become apathetic, and you tend to self-sabotage.  If you don’t feel you deserve it, chances are you are never going to get there.

As a work-life balance expert, what should we focus on to find balance in a 24/7 world?

First, decide on the “why.”  And what I mean by that is: what would you do, be or have if you had more time, energy and other resources? Once you know “why,” it’s easier to make better choices, learn new habits and develop new skills that will lead to better balance. It’s about having that goal.

Name a famous leader who you think has mastered the art of work-life balance. And tell us why.

I don’t have a famous person in mind; however, every time I speak, I am inspired by leaders who share their candid balance stories.  A couple of years ago when I was doing a program at Marriott, a leader named Gary shared his story with me.  Early in his career, he considered himself to be a hard-charging sales executive, but his supervisor warned him that he was in danger of burning out and that he needed to find a “trigger” to help shift him from work to home or personal mode. He thought about it and decided his ‘trigger’ would become his garage door opener. At the beginning of the day, when he pressed the opener he would shift into work-mode.  And at the end of the day when he returned home, the door opener would signal he needed to be present with his wife and his children and to spend time recharging. He said it didn’t happen immediately, and it wasn’t easy; but eventually, he learned to make that shift, which he credits with saving his job, his marriage and most likely his life.

What is the best career advice for an emerging leader?

My advice is to decide your own definition for success, both professionally and personally.  I find that too many people pursue goals that they think they should have or what their parents or others expect of them.  That leads to failure and frustration. There’s no right or wrong, as long as it’s your definition of success.

WICT’s theme this year is “Be Fearless.”  In what ways do you find that “being fearless” has helped you in your career or helped your clients?

My advice is to fight fear with gratitude. You can’t feel fear and gratitude at the same time. The quicker you shift into counting your blessings or writing in a gratitude journal, your fear will just naturally dissipate.

For more information about Tricia Molloy and her programs, go to   Also, if you’re in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 20th, don’t miss Tricia’s CRAVE YOUR GOALS! seminar for WICT SE.


Presented by:  EMC TEXT@4x


Now that you identified someone that you really want to ask to be your mentor, it’s time to set your goals.

Throughout the year, eMentorConnect® will provide you with fearless mentoring tips to empower you to reach your career goals through mentorship. Here’s #2!


GOAL SETTING: Before your first meeting with your mentor it’s important to think about your goals to maximize your time together.  What will you do to lead the discussion and relationship and make it easy for them to mentor you?  Lay out how little of their time you will take and that your ask of them will be defined and discrete. As the mentee, you are the driver! Be Fearless in your goals. Ensure that they will stretch you from where you are currently. Where are you now in your goals and what is your end game. Click here for more about SMART Goals.


Mid-Year Reflection

Contributed by: Karen Huffaker


The year is almost half over – – What are your Career Goals?

Now that we are nearly half way through 2017, where are you with your New Year’s goals?  I’m sure they probably included a healthy lifestyle, exercise, new dietary habits, organic foods, dream vacation, more time with family, etc.   But did they include your career goals for this year?

I’ve hardly had a chance to reflect on the year so far, but I know some of the career steps I should incorporate for the remaining part.  Consider not just goals but specify the action items that will help to reach some of your short-term goals.

Search – Survey the internet and other sources for webinars, videos, free online courses, and workshops for relevant information for knowledge boost.

Book-a-month – A former executive of ours was a voracious reader of at least one book per week – 52+ per year!  Easy for him, he traveled around the country regularly and had the time to read.  I’m not a speed reader, and as a commuter my time is limited, but a more realistic goal for me is one per month.  There are so many great books available for women to glean great career advice from and put into action for themselves.  My current read is, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Secrets to Career Success from Top Women Leaders,” by Erin Wolf.

Keep a notebook – Fill it with salient points from your book reading, tips from co-workers, bullet points from conferences attended, pearls of wisdom from mentors, etc.  Otherwise you’ll forget most of them. It’s nice to look through them as a recap at year end.

Membership – Commit to membership in an organization such as WICT.  Take full advantage of their offerings and new friendships.  Get involved, volunteer, ask questions, and learn what you can from other members that will help lead you further down your career path.

Lunches – Who doesn’t like to eat?  Even if you’re more on the introverted side, determine to put at least one luncheon per month on your calendar.  Mix it up: an internal customer, external contacts, an association member, former co-worker, or mentor.  Stay connected and build those relationships.  Make your focus on them and what’s going on in their work-a-day world. You’ll get as much out of it as you can put into it, and gain a wealth of benefits in the process.

Mentoring – Seek a mentor or be a mentor, depending on where you are, or better yet, both!   No matter how early or late in your career, you’ve no doubt gained a number of experiences you can share.  There are many formal mentoring programs available but don’t wait for an opening. Pursue your own mentoring relationships.  I sought out an informal mentor several years ago who was an internal customer but also a long-time WICT member; she made initial introductions for me in our Chapter. She no longer works with me but we have maintained our friendship through a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship.

Follow a blog – Pick a topic that’s relevant or meaningful in your area of expertise.   Listen to the experts and follow feedback from others in the field.  There are many new ideas and methodologies that are worth exploring!   If you have an interest and something valuable to contribute, submit your own blog post.

Brand yourself – What would the person standing next to you at a networking event want to know about you?  Don’t be shy; share (enthusiastically) what you do that’s interesting or important.  Also, share what you have done that’s outrageous.  If you haven’t done it yet, what do you plan to do – your next outrageous career goal?  For me, it was returning to college as a single mom and finishing my degree.  And joining the WICT Southeast Board of Directors!






Name Parker Geiger III

Where do you currently work? CHUVA Beyond

What is your current role? CEO and Founder





CHUVA Beyond offers image and brand development services to all levels of business professionals. Chuva means “Rain” in Portuguese.  And like rain, CHUVA is about helping clients adapt new form and meaning. Parker Geiger III is the president and founder of CHUVA Beyond. Industry professionals recognize Mr. Geiger as one of the most innovative and experienced Image Training and Professional Development leaders in the country. Since 1986, he has developed and implemented training solutions and effective results for companies and individuals, including WICT.


Your company, Chuva Beyond, helps individual business people create personal brands. Can you talk about what personal branding is and why it is vital to advancing one’s career?

Your personal brand is simply your reputation. Everything you do and say produces an emotional connection with other people.  Therefore, you should be in control of that to define how you want to proceed. If you don’t someone else will, especially on social media. It’s very vital that one manage how their brand is seen.

 How do you start thinking of yourself as a brand?

Know who you are.  That’s where it all starts. People get very overwhelmed, but it’s a development process because you will be building your brand until you retire. So, don’t try to develop it overnight, you must be fluid with how your brand changes. There are lot of different tools out there to help you get there.

Name a famous leader with a great personal brand and tell me why?

Oprah Winfrey. She has a brand that when you hear her name, it’s respected. Look at the things she has gone through as a child, very traumatic, and she just persevered and built a brand over time. 

What’s the first step you need to do to create a strong personal brand strategy?

To be successful, you must manage three things: your visibility, your image and your performance. One of the first steps I suggest to my clients is for them to make a list of questions for each of those segments; then, email a questionnaire to colleagues for their constructive feedback. You could just ask them 2 questions: “what do I do well” and “where could I grow within my profession”. When building a brand, focus on your strengths. Understand there are challenges that can hold you back, but don’t make them a priority.

What are the top branding mistakes that hold people back?

The biggest mistake that people make is that they give too much weight to one thing. For example, they focus solely on performance, image or networking and they don’t create a balance.

How can your personal brand increase visibility?

There’s what I call the off-line and on-line visibility. On-line is, of course, is social media, but also LinkedIn. LinkedIn is becoming your resume, so you don’t want it to be static.  Post pictures and video to bring some life to your profile so it sets you apart from other people. For off-line visibility, you could volunteer to work on projects.  But make sure you don’t over promise.  Get involved in the community to gain visibility. Find the organization that might be of value to you and help them, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Talk about why image is important to career development.

You’ve got to look the part. We’ve becoming so relaxed with image that we have let fashion dictate how we dress for work. You can incorporate fashion into your image, but you don’t incorporate image into fashion. Stay updated. If your look is unkempt or dated, the perception is that your skillset and approach is outdated or sloppy. Your image should be reflective of your position, your organization and your customers because it’s the first thing people see. 

What are the biggest wardrobe mistakes that you see people make?

Pay attention to the fit and styling so it looks good on you. The biggest mistake that women make is the length of their jacket and shirt sleeves.  For men, it’s their hem, which can look too baggy and looks sloppy.

WICT’s theme this year is “Be Fearless”.  In what ways do you find that “being fearless” has helped you or helped your clients? How would you advise emerging leaders to incorporate these lessons into their approach?

Don’t listen to other people’s opinion and follow your instincts. We get fearful when we listen to other people.

For more information about Parker Geiger and Chuva Beyond programs, go to  Also, if you’re in Atlanta on Tuesday May 23rd, get more tips on how you can refine your image by attending the WICT SE’s Empowerment through Style seminar



Why a Book Club Can Help Your Career

by Valerie Carrillo


I love to read a good book.  Before I relocated to Knoxville a couple of years ago, one of my favorite activities was attending the monthly book club in my neighborhood. Not only was it a great way for me to diversify my reading, but I also found it was an important way for me to make new connections and discover what was happening in my neighborhood.  For two hours, we would eat great food, sip wine and discuss our book of the month.  It was fun.  Not everyone had time to finish the book, but it was enormously helpful to get us to commit to reading.

We often think of reading as something we do alone, especially when it comes to books on leadership and career advancement.  However, business book clubs can be an essential component of your leadership development. It can sharpen your intelligence, improve your emotional intelligence, plus make you a better communicator.

If you have not been to a WICT book club meeting, here are a few reasons you should consider joining:


When you join a business book club, you will find yourself reading genres that you might not otherwise choose to read.  And business book clubs often have a diverse group of colleagues with different perspectives, which can lead to interesting conversations.  And because you know you will be discussing a book with your peers, you are more than likely going to read it more deeply than a typical neighborhood book club.


Most book clubs are about relationships. They provide an opportunity for friends to meet and discuss topics of mutual interest. Sometimes this is done over dinner and drinks, like my neighborhood club. And while corporate book club may not serve drinks, they do offer a way to build and deepen relationships through shared learning. It is a safe environment where you can build trust in your co-workers, share ideas, or even debate ideas.


Discussing content in a book club can help you feel more confident in professional conversations with colleagues, team meetings or boardroom presentations. And the best way to become a good conversationalist is to practice.  Attending a regular book club meeting allows you a safe place to learn how to engage in discussion without feeling awkward.


Your brain needs exercise just like the rest of your body. With all the gadgets and electronics, we are always plugged in, so it is hard to concentrate on one thing. When you read, you are forced to concentrate, which then opens your mind to new ideas and fosters creativity.


Book clubs are good for minds.  Good for leadership.  Good for business. If you are looking to grow both professionally and personally, check WICT Southeast’s event calendar to see when the next book club is in your area. Not only will you become a better reader, you will also meet some great new friends.


5 Tips for Effective Networking

To be successful in the business world, you must network.

But there’s nothing scarier than walking into a room full of strangers and introducing yourself.  I can feel my hands get clammy and my stomach drop now. How about you?

As the Southeast’s TASTE OF WICT comes to your neck of the woods, I found a few valuable tips to put you at ease and increase your networking circle.


Entrepreneur magazine says that while this may sound counter-productive, showing up early is a better strategy than arriving late. When you arrive early, you will notice it’s less hectic because people haven’t had a chance to group together. In other words, it’s easier to find a conversation partner.

And just because the event comes to a close, doesn’t mean you have to go home. If there’s an after-party, gather a few people and go together. Or if there’s nothing planned, take action and invite people to continue the conversation over drinks or dinner.


Networking is all about building relationships. So, be yourself.  It’s not about shoving your business cards in people’s faces and doing a hard sales pitch. Keep your conversations, light, fun and casual. So, get talking, make the conversation interesting and leave people wanting more. After all, people are more apt to do future business or partner with you when they enjoy your company.


I know, this sounds like something your mother would tell you- but remember to smile.  It’s so simple, yet many of us often overlook it. And when you smile, you come across as warm and inviting; plus, it helps to put you at ease.  So, walk into the room with those pearly whites shining and ready to conquer the world.  Definitely, check that frown at the door.


Instead of trying to get your business card in as many hands as possible, focus on the quality of your connections. When you first meet them, figure out if there is a chance for a mutual benefit.  If there’s not, you might want to move on. It helps to know your networking goals before you get to the event so you can target those who can help you.  But networking is a two-way street.  So, uncover their needs. Ask your contact about their goals and aspirations and figure out ways you can help them.


Networking is just the start, so stay in touch. Remember to pass out your business cards and collect them at your networking event.  Don’t be afraid to find out the best way to stay in connect after the event. Some people like email, some like phone, while others prefer social networks.   Reach out within a couple of days to show you are interested.  And don’t forget to reference something you discussed so your contact remembers you.


The key to successful networking is giving what you want to receive.  If you want to increase your visibility, help people increase theirs. If you want people to stay in contact with you, stay in contact with them. Focus less on selling yourself, and more on how you can help others. Because the help you give will likely be reciprocated.

And if you would like to practice your networking skills at the Taste of WICT in Knoxville, look for me.  I’ll be there. Who knows maybe we can help each other.





Leadership Interview: Johanna Hoover

by Valerie Carrillo

Johanna Hoover of Scripps Networks Interactive shares some great leadership insights with WICT.


Name: Johanna Hoover

Where do you currently work? Scripps Networks Interactive

What is your current role? VP, Production Operations for Scripps Networks Productions

Where are you currently located? Knoxville, Tennessee


Share 3 personal facts so our readers get to know you.

I come from a very close-knit family with a twin sister and an older sister. And having been married for 20 years now, my combined families have gone on vacation every year. A lot of people find that interesting.

Faith is also very important to me.

I have driven a race car at 140 mph at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Yes, I’m a big NASCAR fan.

Do you have a favorite book on leadership?

Susan Packard’s “New Rules of the Game.” I have the utmost respect for Susan. To quote her: “Will beats skill.”  It’s a reminder that maybe I don’t have the skill to do this, but I have the will to do it and that resonated with me.

Describe your journey to your current position.

Eighteen years ago, I started as a production assistant in Scripps productions, the most entry level role that someone can have. I was making a career change at the time and from day one, I knew that this was a company where I wanted to stay. Since then, I have had five roles within the organization.

I have been very fortunate to have great supervisors and bosses. And I was very proactive in developing myself and seeking out things that I wanted to learn.

In 2014, there were changes happening within the organization, the greater organization, and that is when I landed in my current role.

What would you say is your greatest achievement?

I view every day as an achievement. That may sound silly, but for me personally, I don’t ever say that I have arrived or this is my greatest achievement because I would like to think that my greatest achievement is yet to come. That’s what keeps me motivated and inspired.

What sort of leader would your team say you are?

Having just been accepted into the Betsy Magness Leadership program, I had to do a 360, so I know how my peers and colleagues feel about me. I got a lot of feedback that I am an example of shared responsibility and that I am side-by-side with my teammates. I lead, but I am a leader in the sense that we are in this together.

What is the most significant change that you have brought to an organization?

In 2014, we had structural changes and for me the significant change that I brought into the organization was an environment for openness. Openness on every level. Openness on having a voice. The biggest change was creating an environment of openness, communication and thinking outside of the box and saying what you feel and being able to receive back the feedback.

How do you encourage development of your employees?

As a team, we try to do organized team building, things to spark creativity and reignite passion. For me, I try to encourage my teammates to find their voice and speak up. Development can be as simple as learning a new task or staying inspired.

What is your definition of job success?

Happiness. I truly believe that job success is happiness. It’s not about job title.

Our theme this year is “know yourself.” In what ways do you find that “knowing yourself” has helped you in your career? How would you advise emerging leaders to incorporate these lessons into their approach?

Be who you are. Do not be ashamed of where you come from. Believe in yourself. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to play a role. Be the best version of yourself and know where you are lacking. But do not be ashamed of what you’re lacking in. Own who you are.



By Valerie Carrillo

For the past couple of years, I have been diligently working out almost every day, but as of lately I have been finding myself in a bit of a rut and feeling like I have hit a plateau. You know that feeling?  At first, it was new and fun. Now, I feel like I’m going through the motions. Time for a change, right?!

You can also hit similar plateaus at work. Maybe your routine is holding you captive, or a boss is making things difficult, or the work isn’t challenging, or a major life event has you re-thinking everything. If you are feeling stuck, you are not alone. With the New Year just around the corner, now is the time to start making changes so you can start 2017 feeling recharged.

And lucky for you, I have found a few easy tips that don’t involve giving a two weeks’ notice.


If you are feeling a little stagnant, do something crazy and out of the ordinary. Try a task that will shake you out of your comfort zone and stretch your skills to the next level. After all, you can never master too much. What turns you on, sparks your imagination and curiosity? Maybe you want to beef up your public speaking skills. If so, check out Toastmasters International and practice impromptu speeches in front of strangers. Perhaps you are too measured at work and not much of a risk-taker. Signing up for a trapeze class could be a high-flying way to unleash your inner leader. And you never know what doors will open up when you do something different and unexpected.


Sometimes when you are in a rut, you need to explore what makes you happy to find the true meaning of success. What makes you enthusiastic?  Maybe you’re a foodie. Or have a love for the stock market. Or you’re a sports junkie. Your enthusiasm can be very powerful, especially when you combine it with your work.   When you are enthusiastic, the more inclined you are about improving yourself and finding a meaningful career.  Plus, it allows you to continuously get better at the work you do and possibly increasing your pay.


Paula Mooney suggests for the next month grab a pen and paper and jot down what you can remember in the morning about your nighttime dreams. Sometimes your subconscious offers clues about what you really want in life. And those internal messages could help you find your career path.  But be warned, you may need a dream dictionary because of some of the dreamy clues can be a little cryptic and hard to decipher.


You don’t have to be searching for a new job to work on your personal brand, as Khemaridh Hy reminds us. In fact, if you are part of this year’s WICT Mentoring Circles, you would know all about the importance of a personal brand.  Look for ways to expand your professional development opportunities through meetups or other membership associations like WICT.  Or expand your brand by publishing ideas via articles on your LinkedIn profile or starting a blog (even better- contribute to this blog).  By sharing awesome ideas, it showcases communications skills, dedication, creativity, and determination which is a great way to get people to take notice and could lead to more responsibility.


You don’t need to make gigantic changes to land your dream job. Find activities that you can do in your day job to help you follow your passion. Let’s say you are a coordinator and have hopes to be a writer/producer. Write a show treatment or upload a pitch video to YouTube; talk to other writers/producers and find out how they got their job; read industry articles.  Action begets action. And, as Mooney says, eventually, something will stick if you keep doing what makes you happy.

As far as my workout plateau, I’m thinking about switching things up and adding a boot camp or power yoga. Then again, maybe I should try trapeze.




Rising Leaders Program

by Karen Huffaker

The WICT 2017 Rising Leaders Program application process is open. Several WICT Southeast members share their thoughts with us about participation in this great Program!

Shelley Hoffmann-

I applied to the WICT Rising Leaders Program in 2011. From the application process to the invitation to participate, to the courses themselves, the program deepened my understanding of the cable industry, broadened my networking circle by introducing me to a diverse group of women from all over the country, and provided me with the foundation of a detailed professional development road map, one that I continue to build on six years later.  The WICT Rising Leaders Program remains one of my most influential career development experiences to date.

Erin Bryant-

Rising Leaders is an incredible experience; it impacted my career in ways I would never have imagined. Spending the week with 60 other women, all driven and looking to grow personally and professionally, was exhilarating, inspiring, supportive, and well, just fun.  I walked away having learned a good deal about myself, and about how to keep moving forward.  I can’t thank WICT enough for the opportunity!

Sarah Cheatham-

Throughout my career I have had the privilege to work with several great leaders and have tried to emulate the best aspects of their leadership styles. Participating in WICT’s Rising Leaders Program this year will enhance my leadership style by allowing me to step away from my daily tasks and focus on how my leadership style is perceived by others who are not my employees.  And it will help me develop new methods which will lead to greater success for myself and my team. I’ve been a member of WICT for the majority of my professional career and it continues to open doors for me.


C-Suite Challenge

By Karen Huffaker

While sitting in a Friday afternoon Roundtable discussion recently, our C-Suite leader gave us all a challenge:

“Think about the little things – the things that you can do or impact by raising the bar, and striving not for giant feats, but the smaller things you can perfect within your sphere.”

After taking this to heart, I began my own self-examination and determined this might be a good time take on the challenge. Consider these:

  • Challenge what you do. How can you improve? Can you refine, add or skip a step, increase volume, shorten time lines, decrease tasks?
  • Challenge yourself – your approach. Why do you do it this way? Is there a better approach?
  • Challenge others. Why do we do this?  Is it effective, or could our time and resources be better spent elsewhere?


But don’t stop there. Ask more questions.  I once had a director whose mantra one year was to ask more questions.  Throughout the year we were constantly reminded to ask more questions.  This became more critical during economic downturns.  We knew the right questions to ask like is it really needed or a nice-to-have, what happens if we don’t do it, is there another option, another vendor? Leadership decisions were made based on the challenging questions that we raised, and the (sometimes surprising) answers we received.

Get more information. With the great wealth of information at our fingertips today, we have every opportunity to educate ourselves in matter of seconds. Then gain insights from the experience of others and seek their advice.

Information is knowledge, knowledge is power as the saying goes. Shopping for cars and computers – – I wouldn’t dare shop for either without studying up on my options.  How much more so in our ever-so-fast changing industry? Last week’s dazzling technology and bright ideas will be outdated and obsolete in a short time.  Keep current and keep an eye out on the next big thing.

And all that you’ve gained throughout the process can be used to facilitate change. You can influence outcomes and make a significant contribution by just starting with something small!

Will you take the challenge?


Making the Most of Mentoring Relationships

By Robin Sangston

Robin Sangston is VP, Chief Compliance Officer at Cox. She was awarded WICT Southeast Chapter’s 2015 Mentoring Award, is a past President of WICT Atlanta and served on the National Board. 


It’s hard to underestimate the importance of finding a good mentor early on in your career. This point really hit home with me recently at a company meeting where Jim Kennedy, our Chairman of the Board and grandson of our founder James Cox, commented about the challenges he faced earlier in his career when he was assuming more responsibility within Cox Enterprises and how he bemoaned the fact that he didn’t have a mentor.  In fact, he said one of the reasons we have such a robust mentoring program at Cox today is because he felt he didn’t have adequate mentors to turn to when he needed advice and wanted to ensure Cox employees had ample access to mentors!  If Jim Kennedy, a universally admired and undeniably successful business leader, acknowledged his need to have a mentor early in his career, then that is compelling evidence that we all can benefit from a mentor!

But once you find a mentor, how do you make the most of the situation? Here’s a simple list of Do’s and Don’ts for the mentee:

DO take charge of the relationship by scheduling regular meetings with your mentor

DO establish trust as quickly as possible

DO be respectful of your mentor’s time and schedule

DO come to meetings prepared

DO establish the ground rules of the relationship early on, especially with respect to confidentiality

DO set one or two specific goals to work on over the course of the relationship and track progress toward those goals

DO show appreciation toward your mentor

DON’T have unrealistic expectations, e.g., most mentors are not going to be able to get you promoted or a new job

DON’T breach confidentiality if that is one of the ground rules

DON’T disrespect your mentor’s time by showing up late or cancelling at the last minute

DON’T expect your mentor to do all of the “heavy lifting,” i.e., you need to lay the groundwork by doing your homework and being prepared for meetings

DON’T be impatient – all relationships take time to develop so give your mentoring relationship time to blossom!

If you have questions about how to find a mentor or work with one once you have one, feel free to email me at .


Speed Mentoring!

By Jamie Miller

‘Tis the season for one of my favorite WICT events – Speed Mentoring! Our first session will be in Atlanta on Wednesday, September 14 starting at 8a ET.

Connect with multiple industry leaders and peers during three, 20-minute rounds. Sponsored by Cisco, and located at their beautiful Lawrenceville Campus, we have a great line-up of Mentors assembled:

  • Nadine White – Director, Business Relevance, Office of Inclusion & Collaboration, Cisco Systems
  • Robin Sangston – VP and Chief Compliance Officer, Cox Communications, Inc.
  • Lee Thomas – Deputy Commissioner, Film, Music & Digital Entertainment
  • GA Dept. of Economic Development
  • Jackie Trube – SVP of Human Resources, Bounce TV & Katz Broadcasting
  • Susan Spight – Director of Integrated Business Affairs, BBDO
  • Tina Thompson – Director of Programming, ASPiRE TV
  • Diane Simone – Director of Program Implementation, eMentorConnect               
  • Morgan Bondon – Area Vice President, Global Service Provider, Cisco Systems
  • Amy Roth – VP of Standards & Practices, Bounce TV & Katz Broadcasting
  • Ted Cummings – President/CEO, Onyx MS Group
  • Lauren Linder – VP and Associate General Counsel, The Weather Channel
  • Parker Geiger – President and Founder of the CHUVA Group
  • Sheri McGaughy – Founding Partner, McGaughy Law, LLC
  • Bill Murray – VP, Digital Revenue Operations, Scripps Networks Interactive
  • Marilyn Altman – VP Technical Services Contracts, ARRIS
  • Veronica Sheehan – Founder and Principal, OCNavigators, LLC

Glean wisdom from executives who have learned from successes and challenges along the way, exchange ideas and learn about different aspects of our industry.

If talking to people you don’t know is intimidating, be sure to check out Jeff Goelz’s recent blog post with tips to maximize your opportunity when networking.

I hope you can join us for the Speed Mentoring Breakfast in Atlanta! Seating is limited – register at the link below!

Jamie Miller is WICT Southeast Senior Director of Programming 



Leadership Interview: Jennifer Hightower

By Valerie Carrillo

Jennifer Hightower of Cox provides some valuable insights on her leadership experience. 

Name:  Jennifer Hightower

Where do you currently work? Cox Communications, Inc.

What is your current role? Senior Vice President of Law & Policy and General Counsel

Where are you currently located? Atlanta, Georgia

Share three personal facts so our readers can get to know you.


I am an older mom of three boys. My oldest are twins, who will soon to be teenagers in October. And I have a little guy who is ten.

I am the youngest of four children.

I grew up in Kentucky.

Describe your journey to your current position.

I started practicing law at a firm doing trial work and was neurotic the entire time. I wanted to be a trial lawyer so badly, but I did not have the disposition for it because I do not like conflict. From there, I became an in-house litigator for a company called Racetrack, but it didn’t get me out of conflict. Eventually, I went to Bellsouth as a baby lawyer and joined the regulatory practice where I ended up loving telecommunications law.  After Bellsouth, I joined Cox doing telecom and commercial deals and I just stayed.  It’s been 19 years now and quite a journey. I started as corporate counsel and became senior counsel. Then, I was managing attorney over a team that did all the operations work, before becoming vice president of regulatory.  From that point, I was fortunate enough to get promoted to senior vice president, and eventually general counsel where I have been for the last six years.

What would you say is your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is finding a company where I could grow up in and love. I think it is important to find a place where you fit. I was fortunate enough to find the right jobs and have the opportunity to grow into different roles at Cox. Working for the wrong boss or wrong cultural environment is not a fun thing to do.  The corollary is that I have been lucky to work for a company that lets me balance being an active mom with an active career. If I did not have that, I would not be here. That’s why I think it’s important to make sure you find the right fit and culture for your personality.

Describe your leadership style.

I would say my style is authentic. I am a casual leader, not an authoritarian. My strength is that I am approachable, but my weakness is my lack of structure. I’m not the most structured person, which is sometimes hard for people. And while I am a very open-doors type of leader, the downside of my leadership style is that I also like to be engaged, so I sort of have to reign myself in as a leader.

What is your definition of job success?

To me, job success is finding a place where you have a complete life. It’s getting to work on things that are intellectually challenging; getting to work with people who you like to be with; working for someone that you want to learn from and then having the balance in your life – that to me constitutes job success without a question.

How do you go about resolving conflict?

As you know, I do not like conflict, so I have had to learn to be direct and take it head-on. I do not like it festering, so I will try to resolve it early. If I have upset someone, I talk to that person about it. But to the contrary, if someone has upset me, I don’t talk about it at all. That is my downfall.  I will hold it in and not let you know that you upset me; but if I upset you, I am very honest and will try to resolve things. Yes, that is my weakness in conflict.

In a fast-paced environment, how do you achieve your objectives?

The reality is that we all have to prioritize. Every day for me is a reprioritization of what is important for the company and for the people that I work with and support. The truth is my objective is achieved by what others find important. I make sure my team is getting what they need, and my boss gets what he needs. I also have the priorities of kids and my husband, too.  I don’t want to mislead; I am not the most organized of executives- that is not my strength.  But every day, I wake up with what I know that has to get done, then I look at what is given to me and then I reshuffle throughout the day.

How do you encourage the development of your employees?

I encourage my team to join WICT, both the men and the women. But I also encourage them to find the organization that is important to them. I also have people who are active in NAMIC and love it. I have folks that are engaged in the Corporate Counsel Association and love it. It’s important for people to get involved in leadership organizations so they can learn how to be leaders outside of the department, and test themselves in other places. All the leaders in my department at Cox are very focused on personal development plans.  I encourage everyone in my department to have one and everyone on my management team to be working on that with them. I am also very open if anyone would like to explore new opportunities to learn, I am very supportive of that.  I want people to stay at Cox, so I want to make sure I expose them to other things. 

Do you have any career advice to give an emerging female leader?

First, you have to recognize that you have to own your career and not wait for someone else to help map it for you. That means you cannot be passive. You have to be actively engaged in managing your career. The second thing that I want young women to learn is how to think through and ask for what you want, or ask for input so you know what you are not doing well.  I find that is the challenge watching women.  I have men come to me and ask me how to get places, while the women will ask how they are doing.  That is not the same thing. I encourage women to lean in and ask for what they want versus hoping someone will see how hard they are working and give it to them.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 25-year-old self?

I would tell myself to take more risks. Be more confident in my ability. Realize that I had something to contribute and that there was a reason I was in the room. Finally, I would tell myself to a take a deep breath, you have a long time ahead of yourself.

Jennifer Hightower is on the WICT National Board of Directors.


Networking: Maximize your Opportunity

by Jeff Goelz

Walking into a room full of people can be intimidating to some people let alone starting a conversation. At times, we may have a friend attending a networking event or even see a few friends there as well to keep us in our comfort zone. That said, do you know yourself well enough to know how best to network in a room full of strangers? While I’ve known about WICT for many years and even a few members from my work in the industry, I found myself not knowing a single soul when I attended my first Taste of WICT in February 2014.

Fortunately, I’m no stranger to networking, but it wasn’t always that way. Anybody that knows me knows that I’m rather unafraid of new situations or meeting new people. However, before I attend an event I try to get a good sense of the organization, the membership and the event including what questions to ask to maximize my time investment. So, you could say that is Tip #1 to networking.

Tip #2 would be to act as if you’re the host of a party. This is easier than you think because you did your prep work in Tip #1. Typically, I look for someone at the networking event that’s not talking to anyone thinking they may also be new, needing someone to break the ice or could just be waiting for a friend. I’ll open a conversation by introducing myself and after they introduce themselves follow-up with some questions about their interest in attending the event, what they do for work or fun, comment about the weather or, if it’s Atlanta, the traffic. That usually opens up the conversation and possibly exchanging business cards or contact information.

Now, wonderful, you’ve made a new contact that may also be valuable to have in your network, professional or otherwise. How do you continue to build rapport? Your new contact just shared some insightful information with you. This is where Tip #3 comes into action. I go back to my office or home and write down my takeaways from the conversation and follow-up after the event with an email or note thanking my new contact for the pleasure of our conversation noting something about it or providing some additional follow-up information. And so begins the growth of your network, but how do you keep the momentum going?

Tip #4: to keep that rapport with your new contact, schedule a date on your calendar a month after you met or just before another networking event, and reach out to them with something that’s relevant or interesting for them. As you may see, a relationship starts to grow. And, just maybe, you’ll find that person incredibly helpful with the next step in your career or some other area where you need assistance because you took the time and interest to start a conversation with a stranger.

Membership in WICT has opened so many doors during my time as a member. One thing I keep in mind is that networking is the bridge to not only knowing yourself but growing yourself. You may find your next client, career opportunity or friend just by taking an interest in someone you didn’t know before networking. Happy networking!


Make Your Presentation a Conversation!

By Kathy Hatala

I have never really been one to shy away from “presenting” or getting in front of people to communicate a message or an idea. For many, this can be a daunting task… just knowing yoKathy Hatalau are the next to speak can cause the heart to pound, palms to sweat and anxiety to kick  in. The key thing I try to remember is presenting is really about talking and having a conversation – whether there is one person in the room, or a full presentation in front of colleagues, executives, the C-suite, industry panel, etc. I tap into “my confidence factor” by being prepared on the subject matter and as ready as possible for any question or curve ball. Finding a passion around presenting usually has to do with the subject matter and speaking with authenticity. Through my Speakeasy training, I’ve learned that being a good communicator is all about tapping into what is uniquely you and connecting to yourself, which allows you to connect to others in the process.

One thing I do before a meeting, presentation, etc., is to think about what I am trying to accomplish during the time I’ve been allotted. What is the one thing I really want the listener(s) to leave with today? What is my desired outcome? At Speakeasy, we talk about “the change cycle”: unaware, aware, understand, believe and act. Where do I want my listener(s) to fall on that cycle after I am done talking/presenting? Do I want them to become aware of something? Understand the problem? Believe in my idea? Take action? It’s important to be honest with where you might realistically be able to move your audience to; change takes time and getting to “act” may not happen out of the gate. Once you determine your desired outcome, your content and messaging has to be results-focused and listener-sensitive to really make an impact and connection.

Preparation is a key element to getting it right. What I do is practice, practice, and practice. I’ll practice the presentation/talk on my commute to work, walking my dog (Maddie is a good listener!!), or better yet, take my smart phone and ask a friend or family member to video tape the presentation. There is nothing better than seeing yourself on tape and self-critiquing; or having a mentor, colleague, or coach look at the video and give you their thoughts. If you are presenting an idea over a conference call, record yourself on your phone and play back the audio, paying special attention to the energy and authenticity in your voice – are you talking in a natural voice/tone, or does it come across stiff and regimented? Remember, if you are presenting and using visuals (like PPT) don’t depend on technology – we all know it can fail at the worst moments. I try to know my subject matter so well that I can give the presentation/talk no matter what the circumstances or environment.

Planning for a presentation, or talk, does take some time but, if done right, it can help alleviate the feelings of dread and anxiety and help it to feel more conversational. I’ll share a personal story where I was not prepared. I worked for MTV Networks in Affiliate Sales and Marketing for many years. We were launching MTV2 at an annual, national cable conference. We had a suite prepared for clients to come and learn more about the new channel. I was in the room with one of the affiliate marketing leaders from MTV, who I assumed was going to pitch the network. Well, once the clients were ready, she asked me to take them through the PPT. I almost died. Not prepared, not ready and not good! I could feel the anxiety rise, my pulse increase and myself in the “hot seat.” I got through the presentation, but I can tell you, it was less than ideal. Lesson learned, and now I’ll never let that happen again.

The other key element to preparation, that I use all the time and learned through my classes, is breathing – yes, your breath. If you feel anxiety rising or “butterflies” start to flutter before your opportunity to speak or present, breathe slowly and deliberately from your belly and not your chest. I’ve learned that deep, deliberate breathing from your diaphragm really helps to calm the nerves and gets you into a sense of self and feeling “settled.”

Presenting and communicating during times of change and uncertainty can be one of the most challenging dynamics to undertake. This is where authenticity really has to kick in. Expressing yourself in your own words, owning what you say, looking at people in the eyes when you talk – not only with your head, but with your heart, can really make a big difference.

See communicating and presenting as an opportunity! Please don’t shy away from the moments in life to speak, talk, present and connect with those in the room. Own your authentic voice, be confident in who you are and what you can bring to the table and make it a conversation!

Kathy Hatala is SVP National Accounts/Managing Director – Atlanta at Speakeasy.


Leadership Interview: Cindy Finke

By Valerie Carrillo

Cindy Finke of CMT shares some of her leadership advice with WICT.

Cindy Finke


Name: Cindy Finke

Where do you currently work? CMT/Viacom

What is your current role? VP, Program Publicity and Communications

Where are you currently located? Nashville, TN

What is your favorite quote?  “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.” Not sure who said this originally, but the words definitely speak to me.


Share 3 personal facts so our readers get to know you

  1. I am a huge animal lover and currently I have two dogs that are the best.
  2. My happy places are La Jolla, California (where I went to college) and Maui,Hawaii – which I don’t get to visit often enough.
  3. I am a little obsessed with pandas, sushi, travel & lifestyle blogs andimproving my photography skills.

Describe your journey to your current position

I was a television news reporter and anchor out of college and after a few years of doing that, I changed paths and got an assistant job in publicity at a cable network in Los Angeles.  Three cable networks and a move to Nashville later, I landed at CMT.  I started here as a Sr. Publicist and worked my way up to Vice President.

What was the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career?  How did you overcome it?

Self-doubt is the biggest obstacle I have faced.  I leaned on my mentors and bosses to help me gain the confidence that I needed to move up in my career.

How do you find joy and pleasure in your role?  How do you encourage others on your team to share in this?

The joy in my job comes from working with my team. We are a tight-knit group that takes our work seriously, but have fun while doing it.  I also get joy from successes – seeing the fruits of my labor whether it is seeing a red carpet come together beautifully or seeing a headline that is on target with our messaging.

What is the best career advice for an emerging female leader?

Find a mentor and be an advocate for others.  Seek out opportunities to grow.  Use WICT as a resource for their leadership programs – each one is valuable. 

Our theme this year is “Know Yourself.”  In what ways do you find that “knowing yourself” has helped you in your career? How would you advise other leaders to incorporate these lessons into their approach?

“Knowing Yourself” means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, corevalues and more. These things all shape who you are and what you want to accomplish in a career.  Realize that as much as you think you know yourself, you can always learn more about yourself and grow.  The Betsy Magness Leadership Institute was the prime example of coming out of a program knowing myself in a way I had never even thought possible.  These new discoveries are helping me look ahead on my career path.


Secrets To Finding And Maintaining Work-Life Balance

By Valerie Carrillo

Many of us struggle to find a work-life balance. With technology making us accessible around the clock, finding that free time away from work can often be hard to achieve. But working 20 hour days and responding to emails at midnight is no badge of honor and it does not make you a better employee. So how do you achieve balance?

Every day, millions of people struggle with this question. So many of us are juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships, family responsibilities and trying to squeeze in personal interests. Admittedly, I have been one of those people with a bad balance.   And while we rush around to get it all done, we become less and less productive, both at home and the office.

In 2006, The American Psychological Association did a study and discovered that more than half of working adults and 47 percent of all Americans are concerned about the stress in their lives. Ten years later, many of us are still stressed out.  In fact, the more stress we become, the more harm we cause our bodies, our minds, and relationships (both personal and professional).

There are a few things that we can do to reclaim our lives, achieve balance and make us happier, healthier, and more productive.

SET MANAGEABLE GOALS. Be realistic about your workload and deadlines.  Create “to-do” lists to figure out the important tasks and eliminate any unessential ones. If necessary, ask for help. Once you understand your priorities, you will be more efficient and can get a feeling of accomplishment and control.

ASK FOR FLEXIBILITY. More and more companies now offer flex time and telecommuting.  See if your business will allow you to work more flexible hours or work from home.

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY. Be honest with your manager and co-workers when you are in a bind.  We have all been there, so chances are they can help.  Listen to their opinions with an open mind and learn to compromise if needed.

SET ASIDE TIME FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND IMPORTANT INTERESTS. Do not wait until after work to see if you have time left for things you enjoy.  You have to carve that extra time out of your day.  Just like your important meetings, make a point to plan out your personal life and book time off outside of work.  Then, guard this time as unique and valuable.  Yes, emergencies may come up at work, but try to resist intrusions on this time.

EMBRACE TURNING THINGS OFF. All electronic devices have an off button, so use it to enjoy uninterrupted time doing things that you enjoy. Learn to unplug. Leave the cell phone off during dinner.  When you go on vacation, enjoy the time off.  There is no need to respond to every email at the beach.   Electronic devices may not be the only distractions you need to turn off.  Sometimes, you need to escape your family and friends to focus on you.  Be a little selfish and take an hour of “me” time a few times each week.  When you take the time out to do things like meditation, listening to music, reading a good book or working out, you allow yourself the time to escape the pressures of everyday life and regenerate.

DO NOT OVER COMMIT. Avoid the Superwoman (or Superman) urge to do everything and over-schedule yourself with activities, both at home and at work.  It’s okay to say “No.”

DEVELOP AN ACTIVE SUPPORT NETWORK. To achieve a good balance between work and personal life, you need to develop a strong support network of people you can depend on both in your community and family circle.  These are the individuals who can help you navigate through difficult times.

-Valerie Carrillo, is Senior Writer/Producer, HGTV


“Work Life Balance,” Mental Health America, N.p., n.d. Web. July 2016.

“7 Habits of People Who Have Achieved Work-Life Balance,” Harvey Deutschendorf.

“6 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance,” Deborah Jian Lee.

“Stressed Out Nation,” Zak Stambor.


Leadership Interview: Shannon Driver

by Valerie Carrillo

Shannon Driver of Scripps Networks Interactive shares her journey and career advice for other women.                                                                                                            

S-DriverWhat is your name?

Shannon Driver

Where do you currently work?

Scripps Networks Interactive

What is your current role?

Senior Vice President of Network Marketing and Creative Services

Where are you currently located?

Knoxville, Tennessee

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is by Robert Frost. He said he could sum up everything he learned about life in three words: “It goes on.”  For me, this resonates so much in both life and work.  It is just simple and clean. I repeat it often to myself.

Share three personal facts so our readers get to know you

  1. I love to cook. It’s a stress reliever for me.
  2. I am married, with no children, but I have an 8-pound dog, named Jake. He is a little puff, who is like having five children. Not really.
  3. I went to school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, but never intended to stay here. In fact, I moved to New York right after college to pursue a career in entertainment. People are always surprised to hear that I have not always lived in Knoxville. Fact is I grew up in Memphis.

Describe your journey to your current position

After school, I moved to New York and started working at a major post house. From there, I was hired by a client who owned a small production company that focused on political advertising and doing upfront tapes for CBS networks.  I worked for this company for almost five years when we were bought by a large PR firm.  One day, I randomly got a call from Scripps Networks about interviewing for a position. I took the interview, which was in New York, and the person told me, “You know this job is in Knoxville?”  I actually took the job and moved 14 days later.  It was insane. I have now been with the company for twelve years and have had seven roles, including my current position.  It’s been a really, really great ride. I have worked in a lot of different areas of our business- from ad sales, licensing, creative, to overseeing marketing at DIY and media strategy.  It’s been an interesting path because all the jobs that I have done (both prior to Scripps and while at Scripps) have prepared me to do my current position.

What was the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it?

I would say my single biggest challenge is negotiating on behalf of yourself, which is hard. I don’t know if I would say it’s an obstacle, but it is a challenge. You have to be able to determine your voice. Are you willing to put a value on your work and your contribution?  And are you willing to ask for those things? You don’t get what you don’t ask for. The more you do it, the better you become. It’s important to have a conversation and be able to moderate what it is that you want; what do you need to make you feel fulfilled in your role; and know what your walkaway point is.  If you can’t come to an agreement, you better be prepared to walk away and be ok with it.

How do you find joy and pleasure in your role? How do you encourage others on your team to share in this?

As my role has evolved and I have risen through the ranks, the weight has shifted from the tactical work to more leadership and development for the next crop of leaders. One of the biggest things that I am focused on and get the most joy out of is developing my team and watching them grow, be successful and rise to new roles.  There were a lot of people throughout my career who spent a lot of time mentoring me and giving me guidance, feedback and helping me mature to the next step.  Truly, the biggest satisfaction is seeing someone that you know is a superstar and allow them to grow into the next level of their career.  I hope that by doing that for my team leaders that they do it for their teams.  It’s kind of like the cycle of life.  It’s how the business continues to grow and becomes more successful.  Everyone wins.

What is the best career advice for an emerging female leader?

There is a lot of conversation around women in the workplace, but what I have found to be successful for myself is that I am who I am. I am not afraid to have an opinion and I’m not afraid to say no. I think ‘no’ is a really, really powerful word. You’ve got to be able to find your voice.

Our theme this year is “Know Yourself.”  In what ways do you find that “knowing yourself” has helped you in your career? How would you advise other leaders to incorporate these lessons into their approach?

One of the things that I have come to recognize is I do have a strong voice. And what I have found is that if I am going to meetings with some of my direct reports or my team members, we would get into situations where they weren’t speaking up or running the meetings. So recognizing that about myself, I told some of my team that I was going to stop going to meetings. They were so skilled and so good at what they do, but when I’m in the room, they defer.  I didn’t need to be in the room. You have to know yourself well enough and be willing to make the changes to ensure your team has opportunity. That’s not to say I wouldn’t go to meetings. I just stop going to certain meetings so that my team members have the opportunity to grow their own skill set. Since I have shared that about myself, I have seen leaders on my team do the same.  The more self-aware you are, the better you grow and the better you give other people the opportunity to grow.


Deliberate Success: How to Evolve Gracefully

by Caitlin Morris

Achieving success is not a short term spark or a lucky break. It is derived from a disciplined process of sharpening your mind and body to fully anticipate, visualize, and achieve scary goals despite ongoing challenges and temptations. Great achievers show up on their bad days and put in the difficult work because they know grit leads to breakthroughs. Below are three principles to help guide you on this valuable journey to Know Yourself. Through this development, achievement will be more meaningful and impactful.

Be coachable: Many times we set challenging goals and say that we are willing to do what it takes to achieve them, but we quickly fall off the wagon or let a small hurdle derail the entire goal. Instead of being reactive and focusing on the smallest stressor, be proactive and focus on the potential for growth and development. Being reactive to emotions robs us of the energy needed to manifest new habits, so coachable people seek out and concentrate on only positive actions, habits, and lessons. Care enough about yourself to evolve and master new skills, and be humble enough to realize your weaknesses can be improved.  Work with a coach or mentor that understands the importance of harnessing happiness and positive energy to constantly build up and improve (e.g. get rid of bullies, critics, and idlers). Use each step in achieving your goals as a chance to learn something new, to meet inspiring people, and to challenge those stubborn negative thought patterns.

Be perceptive: Achieving goals and breaking through career plateaus does not just involve mental tenacity and mindful thinking. The physical aspect of body language is crucial to creating a successful atmosphere and stronger relational bonds among coworkers and teammates. Be highly aware of your body and how you are presenting it to others. Are you crouched over at your desk, too timid to ask for more challenging projects? Are you lounging in your chair, arms crossed, sighing deeply with an apathetic expression? Not only do others pick up your negative energy, your physical movements can shape thoughts and actions. Take time each morning to stretch, fully extending your limbs and rolling your tense neck and back. Learn and practice great posture and breathing techniques to fully utilize your body so that you project a physical language of confidence, power, and hopefulness.

Be deliberate: Never halfway do anything. Ever. Small, seemingly one-off actions of quickly stringing a project together or lowering the priority of a deliverable for a customer have a lasting impact on your core behavior and habits. Successful people treat each day as an exciting fresh start. They eagerly anticipate what lies ahead of them, and they stay present throughout their long days. Autopilot and boredom lead to mistakes, negativity, and despair. Instead of going into a haze of normalcy because each day’s activities seem exactly the same, focus on the novelty and tremendous gift of the present moment. What can you do today that you’ve never done before? When is the last time you did something (no matter how small) for the first time to break up normalcy and mediocrity? Being deliberate leads to significant jumps in achievement because of the energy, dedication, and discipline you take to focus on the joy of the present.



Caitlin Morris, MBA, is an analyst at Scripps Networks Interactive.


CRAVE Your Goals!

by Jamie Miller

Just as important as it is to set goals for yourself, it’s important to be able to achieve them. Whether it’s New Year’s resolutions, a bucket list or performance goals for work, WICT Southeast and Tricia Molloy want to give you the tools to develop critical leadership skills, boost productivity, build authentic relationships and banish stress.

Join us in person on Wednesday, June 8 in Atlanta from 8:30a-10:30a ET or from your desk on a video stream starting at 8:30a ET/7:30a CT and learn the five-step CRAVE system to help you achieve goals faster and easier! Tricia Molloy is a corporate leadership speaker and author who regularly travels the country speaking at workshops, conferences and at companies such as Home Depot and AT&T. Her CRAVE system will help you to:

•Be More Positive, Proactive and Productive

•Reduce Stress and Manage Change More Effectively

•Improve Work-Life Balance

•Develop Leadership Skills for Greater Impact




Tricia Molloy




This development program is sponsored by Comcast and the WebEx Video Stream is powered by Cisco.

For details about the event, including registrations links for in-person and livestream please visit our website:







by Valerie Carrillo

Valerie_CarrilloEveryone is guilty of procrastination at some point. According to Psychology  Today, about twenty percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.   For the vast majority of us, we just have moments of distractions (like a deadline looming, and you find yourself checking your personal email or social media instead of doing your work).  But do you ever find yourself procrastinating on getting ahead in your career?

To figure out how to stop procrastination, you first have to figure out some of the triggers. Here are five pillars of procrastination and practical ways that you can stop putting off and start achieving your greater career goals.

Complex projects that seem daunting. Experts say when you are faced with a project that seems overwhelming and complex that you should break it down in to smaller components.  So when you are dreaming big, perhaps you you can tackle each component of your lofty expectations as an individual project. For example, you are a writer and your life ambition is to write a novel.  At face value, this can seem like an enormous task. But if you break it down into phases like (1) picking a topic, (2) research, (3) outline, (4) writing Chapter 1, etc., suddenly, it seems manageable. If you still find yourself procrastinating, break it down even further.

Unpleasant or uninteresting projects. While many people will tackle a task that they really enjoy, many of us will put off working on tasks that are less appealing. When a task is viewed as low value or boring, we often attempt to tie it to something that is more enjoyable. For example: “I will write my resume after I run these errands.” Experts say to conquer this we should try implementing a reward system once we complete an unpleasant task.  So perhaps you should think: I will buy myself those shoes after I write my resume.

Inability to prioritize.  If you expect to complete something easily, then you are less likely to procrastinate.  One trick is to write lists of all your tasks and ranking them according to importance. Juggling multiple projects and creating timelines can be overwhelming, so it is suggested that you set daily goals that you can complete in four- hour increments.  That way you can evaluate your progress mid-day and then re-assess the situation based on the remaining tasks.

Distractions. Unfortunately, some people have personalities more prone to distractions than others. And while we may not be able to control our personality type, we can control our environment. If you need to block out distractions at home or work, maybe you head to a quiet space (like a library). Or if you need to restrict yourself from time-wasting websites, use tools like StayFocusd. Co-workers can also be distracting; that’s why some experts suggest that you schedule time to chat with your friends to prevent goofing off and keep you on track.

The fear of failure. One of the biggest career killers is a lack of being confident with your abilities. Some people will subconsciously delay the completion of a project or goal because they are nervous about how other people will react. This is no way to get ahead. To combat this type of procrastination, experts suggest that you visualize yourself succeeding in the task at hand; then imagine the steps that you will need to take in order to succeed.

Someone once said, “The best way to get something done is to begin.” The next time you want to put off a career goal don’t make excuses. Be motivated. Take action. And just do it. After all, who ever heard of someone procrastinating their way to success?

Valerie Carrillo is a Senior Writer/Producer, HGTV, DIY & GAC Creative Content at  Scripps Networks Interactive.


Business Travel Tips

By Anne Loescher

Business travel is a fact of life for many of us in the cable telecommunications industry. Whether you’re constantly on the road, or only travel occasionally, you could probably use some tips to make these trips easier. Between WICT events and travel for my job at Bounce TV, I usually find myself traveling several times a year.  I’ve learned some handy tricks along the way, but to get some really good advice for this article, I knew I needed to call in some reinforcements!

One of the best things about being a member of WICT is that it gives you access to a network of awesome women who are willing to share their wisdom. To get some help with this blog post, I turned to Becky Windle, Senior Director of Media Fulfillment Operations at Cox Media, and a former WICT Southeast Board member. In a previous role, Becky traveled 45 (!) weeks per year all over the United States and Canada, as well as India, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Hungary, Scotland, and the Netherlands.  Kathy Hatala, SVP of National Accounts at Speakeasy and our chapter’s Director of Outreach, was also kind enough to share some great advice.

Preparing for Your Trip

A “bright” idea: One of the best purchases I’ve ever made was a suitcase covered with multi-colored polka dots. The bright colors make me happy, and there’s no chance of this one getting lost in the sea of black luggage in baggage claim!

Pack light: Becky recommends making it a game between yourself and your suitcase.  “Can you plan your wardrobe around one pair of shoes?  How many interchangeable jackets and slack combinations can you make?”

If the weather is going to be fairly warm, I swear by jersey dresses. They hardly take up any room in your bag, and they’re practically wrinkle-proof.

Double Up: Becky suggests that if you travel frequently, you should consider having doubles for hair and skin care products that you leave in your suitcase between trips.  That includes makeup and hair styling brushes.  Then you’ll be amazed how efficient you are when all you need to pack to get ready for your trip are your clothes.

Make a list: Another great tip from Becky is to make a list of the things you are most likely to forget.  She says, “For me it’s a belt. I also have a cell phone charger on my list.  Before you zip up the suitcase double check on those ‘most likely to forget’ items.”

While You’re There

Think safe:  Becky stresses that you should be aware of your surroundings and who is around you – especially as you walk up to your hotel room door.  “If you run in the morning, be sure to ask the concierge for advice on where to go – they know the areas that may look safe but have a bad reputation.”  Kathy says, “When you check into the hotel room, take time to know the exits on your floor in case there is an emergency. You don’t want to be caught not knowing which way to turn or where to go.”

Communicate with those back home:  Becky says, “Always leave a copy of your itinerary with your significant other.  If you make any changes to your itinerary text your significant other to let them know.  If there is ever a travel disaster in the news when you are away from home, you will save your loved ones hours of anxiety if they know you were on a different plane.  (Trust me on this one.  My mother is still reminding me of what I put her through when she didn’t know I was safe – and this event was in 2003!)”

Getting around: Becky’s motto is Be Prepared! She advises, “Know where you are going before you leave.  That means that you know where your hotel is – on which street at which corner.  If you are walking from the hotel to the meeting know your route before you set out.  The same if you are driving – check the route on a map before you leave even if you are using turn-by-turn GPS.”

Build relationships: If you’re traveling with your boss or a colleague, this can be a great time to strengthen your relationship. Even though you’re probably tired after a long flight or a day full of meetings, it can really pay off to take the time to talk and be friendly. True story – early in my career, I was assigned to share a hotel room with the head of another department at the TV station where I was working at the time. I met her briefly a couple of times, but this was the first time we really had a chance to talk. This ended up being a great networking opportunity. She went on to hire me to work on her team when a position opened up a couple of years later, and she’s remained a great mentor to this day. This wouldn’t have happened if I had kept to myself instead of striking up a conversation!

After You Get Back

Keep in touch: On my first day back in the office after a conference or business trip, I like to use my lunch break to connect on LinkedIn with the people I met while traveling. That way, my new contacts are more likely to remember me when I send them an invitation. Also, don’t forget to personalize your invitation; for example, “It was great to meet you at the WICT Leadership Conference.

WICT members, we’d love to hear from you! If you have any travel tips to share, please tell us in the comments.

Anne Loescher WICT Photo


Anne Loescher is Director, Standards and Practices at Bounce TV, and Vice President of WICT Southeast.



By Jamie Miller, WICT Southeast Senior Director of Programming

Create Your Own Vision Board

There’s an app for that, but it will be more fun to get together in person during our upcoming Create Your Own Vision Board Workshops. First up is in Knoxville on May 4th, and there are still spots available so register here. Vision boards help you focus on personal and professional goals in a hands-on way with a finished product you see each day to remind you to keep working toward your goals. With our 2016 Chapter Touchstone to Know Yourself, the Programming Committee is planning events to help each of our members be more in touch with themselves.

The Defining Series

Coming up in Atlanta on May 19th is the start of The Defining Series, a three-part series challenging members to dive deeper into the process of self-discovery through three key exercises. In Part One, attendees will view and discuss a Ted Talk and then create short-term and long-term action plans. They will be paired with accountability partners to encourage each other in working toward their goals. Even if you cannot attend the event, you can join the continuing conversation on social media. Registration will be open soon.

WICT Southeast development programming is FREE for members! We strive to serve our membership with in-person events in Nashville, Knoxville and Atlanta, as well as distance learning opportunities with webinars and live streaming or recordings of events. Please stay tuned for announcements of upcoming events in our newsletters and on our website, .


In Memoriam

Donna Lewis     Donna Lewis

It is with heavy hearts that we must tell you of the passing of Donna Lewis, our 2016 WICT Southeast Director at Large – By Laws. She worked in the area of corporate law.  Donna was a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. She previously worked as SVP and Chief Legal Officer of Turner Entertainment Group. She was a graduate of the prestigious Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, was a lively and tenacious supporter of WICT and women overall. She was an enthusiastic and generous mentor at our Speed Mentoring Atlanta event. Donna was full of dreams and love for her friends and family. She made a profound impact on the many lives she touched and will be greatly missed.

A celebration of Donna’s life was held on Friday, April 15, 2016, at the Central Congregational United Church of Christ, Atlanta, Georgia, followed by family services over the weekend. She is survived by her wife, Jill Jacobs, and children, Jack, Seth, and Sarah.  The family requested that donations be made to the Ovarian Cancer Institute in Atlanta.

According to the Ovarian Cancer Institute, in the United States alone, more than 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed annually. Early detection is key.  Through their research and partnership with GA Tech they continue working to develop early diagnostic testing and treatment.



Knowing Yourself through Knowing Others

by Caitlin Morris

Who doesn’t love a good personality test? You get to be introspective and answer questions about your preferences and perspectives. You can do a SWOT analysis (focuses on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to realign your personal strategy and you can take a deep dive to find ways to bolster your perceived weaknesses.

While these analyses help us mature and learn about our unique qualities, they can become too much of a good thing. The questions can lead to anxiety over choosing the “right” answer, and analyzing small details of broad personality groups can lead to narcissism and isolation. We begin to miss the forest for the trees, and our scope narrows. The deep dive into “knowing yourself” can also lead to a heightened sense of how different you think you may be from others.

A more impactful and positive way to know yourself is through meaningful dialogue with those you interact with on a daily basis. This is more inclusive and celebrates unity in diversity. Are you extroverted and outgoing? Then add value by welcoming prospective clients and onboarding new hires. Do you wear a watch for the utility, not just the design? Then keep the strategy meeting on task. Most people do not want to go off on tangents, and NO ONE wants the meeting to go over the allotted time. In this sense, truly knowing yourself means stepping out of your mind and ego to get to know how you relate to your environment, your coworkers, and your society.  

So let’s take a different angle to knowing yourself, one that is broader, forward thinking, and proactive. Instead of stewing over whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, make an effort to know and understand someone else. Grab actual lunch (e.g. not at your desk) with your coworker and listen to and support their goals. Be patient…like really patient with someone who has a very different communication style than you. Learn and practice empathy so you know how to relate to someone who isn’t (GASP) culturally similar to you and your friends.

Finally, know how much of a positive impact you make on others at work. Maybe your position in auditing or analytics is perceived as difficult and complex to others. You are a great match for your company, and your expertise erases their weaknesses and compliments their strengths. So often we focus negatively on ourselves and on what is lacking. Instead, know yourself through adding value to your environment and elevating your group to be exceptional.

Caitlin Morris, MBA, is an Analyst at Scripps Networks Interactive.




Why Would a Man Join WICT?

By Jeff Goelz

Jeff GoelzRecently I was asked, as a male, why I had joined WICT Southeast. My first response was, “Why not?” thinking little of the reason behind the question. On the surface one might expect someone like me to say I joined to network with professionals in the cable telecommunications industry and in doing so would, hopefully, lead to job interviews, offers and a career opportunity from a prospective company connected to WICT Southeast.  And while on the surface that’s a true expectation, below the surface, and more to my core, is that I joined for two other significant reasons: 1) support gender equality and pay equity in the workplace; and 2) give back in support of the various women who have had an impact on my life by helping those in need.

You see, since the age of five I was raised by my mother. She was then recently divorced with two young children finding her way, receiving no real support of any kind, employing clerical skills she gained while working in the banking and securities industries that preceded her marriage.  Back in the early 1970s women weren’t afforded the same opportunities as men much less significant leadership roles in the workplace.  Today, fortunately, we find more women in management positions and leadership roles, but it’s clear that women still have not achieved on par equality and pay equity in the workplace.  As a male member of WICT Southeast heading into my third year of membership, I am witness to so many amazing women and want to do my part in closing that remaining gap whenever I’m in a position with a new employer.

WICT Southeast has allowed me the opportunity to grow and “Know Yourself” through various networking and volunteer opportunities that I might have not received in another trade organization. I’m truly grateful for these varied experiences. And I believe to “Know Yourself” is a mighty and empowering mantra whether it’s moving yourself forward, helping a fellow WICT Southeast member or affecting change that elevates the human experience.  WICT Southeast sets the stage to “Know Yourself.”

Jeff Goelz is a Marketing Strategy & Business Development Executive and was recently named WICT Southeast Chapter Volunteer of the Year.