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Posts from the ‘C-Suite’ Category


Leadership Interview: Susan Packard

Author of "The New Rules of the Game"

Susan Packard: Author of “The New Rules of the Game”

by Jordan C. Lofton

After our last WICT event, I was sitting in the audience.  I had just heard Susan Packard, retired Cofounder of HGTV and author of new book “The New Rules of the Game“.  The shy farm girl in me was feeling a bit intimidated.  But I had just heard all of the women on the panel speak about pushing past your fears.

I mustered up some gusto, and introduced myself to Susan Packard after the event.  Without any hestitation I asked if I could feature her in a WICT blog post so the entire WICT audience could get to know her.  I’m so glad I did.

Please allow me to introduce you to Susan Packard.

What is your name? Susan Packard

Where do you currently work? Previously I was the Cofounder of HGTV and COO of Scripps Network.  I left the corporate world 4 years ago.

What is your current role?  I currently work as an author, speaker, and mentor.

Where are you currently located (city/state)?  Knoxville, Tennessee

What is your favorite quote? Brene Brown “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.”

I like this because there are so many women who find themselves in a position of low self-esteem, but this quote really touches on a point in my book.  Women don’t need to prove that they are worthy, they need to own it.

Share 3 Personal Facts So Our Readers Can Get to Know You:

  1. I have two cats named Dot & Trudy.
  2. I grew up in a suburb in Detroit surrounded by family. It was a great childhood and everyone was very close.
  3. Just last weekend I gave a TED Talk called “Whose Am I”. It’s still being edited, but I’m very excited it about it.

Describe your journey to your current position.  Four years ago I left the corporate world because I wanted to do something new.  I’m very entrepreneurial by nature.  A friend, who was also a published author, recommended that I write a book about my journey.  It took me three years to write the book, and now I’m enjoying sharing it with women who are still in their corporate journey.  This year I have been on tour for the book and it has been very exciting.

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

When I think back about obstacles I think of them as personal.  I’ve been fortunate that most of the professional obstacles I’ve been able to push through.  But one that comes to mind that is both personal and professional is the adoption of my son Andrew.

We had to go to a third world country.  It was at a time when NBC was acquiring a new company and when I would call my boss there was always a bad connection on the line.  I am sure it wasn’t the timing my co-workers would have liked, but it was so important and valuable to me.  I had to work through that for my family and for my team.

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

What I enjoy about my current role is how women love to learn and love to focus on improvement.  It’s such an open audience.  When I had my day job I couldn’t focus on that, but now I get to focus on that full time.  I love working with women to see them face their fears and know they can succeed.

As far as my own team, I do the same with each of them.  The team is just a little smaller now.

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

I tend to think of this in two ways: Technical and Behavioral.  On the technical side, getting involved in line work is so important.  The work that you do that directly impacts the bottom line of the company is the most meaningful.  If you want a seat in the boardroom, you have to know how the business runs.

On the behavioral side, you have to push through your fears.  If you’re getting stuck and staying still, that really puts you at a disadvantage because your peers will advance.  For example, I noticed for many years that my male counterparts used humor as a tool.  They used it to break the ice, cut the tension, and to build relationships.  For a long time I was uncomfortable using humor.  But I had to face my fear and move past it.  I spoke with a group last week and I incorporated humor into my talk.  Some of the jokes were duds, but I still made a choice to use humor as a tool.

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

Everyone should read Chapter 5 of my book.  It’s all about this.  In it, I talk about fan clubs.  I really emphasize the relationship of organizations like WICT and other affinity groups.  And one thing I would also advise is to maintain your relationships with girlfriends.  As I rose to the top, I didn’t take enough time to cultivate those relationships.  I didn’t cut anyone off, but I didn’t reach out either.  These relationships are important because the women in our lives keep us honest.  They’ll tell us what they see and be there for support.  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of building and maintaining these relationships.


DIY Career Path

by Valerie Carrillo

It’s hard to grow your career and expand your abilities in the midst of your daily grind. So, we’ve asked three WICT leaders at Scripps Networks what they’ve done to put themselves on the right path and what you can do to avoid pitfalls and give yourself that extra edge.

Scripps Networks Interactive User Experience Manager Knoxville, Tennessee

Kristi Harper
Scripps Networks Interactive
User Experience Manager
Knoxville, Tennessee

Heather Jagels Scripps Networks Interactive VP Creative Content & Media (HGTV, DIY & GAC) Knoxville, Tennessee

Heather Jagels
Scripps Networks Interactive
VP Creative Content & Media (HGTV, DIY & GAC)
Knoxville, Tennessee

Scripps Networks Interactive Manager of Media Strategies for Home Category (HGTV, DIY and GAC) Knoxville, Tennessee

Sarah Cheatham
Scripps Networks Interactive
Manager of Media Strategies for Home Category (HGTV, DIY and GAC)
Knoxville, Tennessee


Briefly describe the career path you took to your current position.

HEATHER: My career path started in strategy and planning, but I always knew that I wanted to be a writer producer. Got a job as an associate producer at HGTV and essentially worked my way up through the system.  I have had pretty much every job you could have in creative services.

SARAH: I wanted to work at Scripps Networks Interactive as soon as I learned about it in my first communications course as a freshman at UT.  After two years in local television I transition to Scripps and began working in the traffic department.  Then, I moved onto promotion scheduling for Fine Living, which led me to my current position on the Home Category Media Strategies team.

KRISTI: I looked for opportunities to learn about technology, wrote a blog, and went back to school.

Tell us one of the best steps you ever made and why.

HEATHER: The best steps that I ever made were taking chances in my job. I started at HGTV and then went to DIY, which turned into one of the smartest things I ever did.  To work on the smaller brand really gives you a lot of opportunity to do a lot of things.

SARAH: Changing my major from pre-med to communications.  I really started to enjoy college after I was in classes that were interesting.

KRISTI: Learning about the people is vital. It is important to know your team members communication style. Appreciate what they have to offer, the differences, learn from them and keep an open mind.

Did you ever have any missteps? If so, tell us how you recovered.

HEATHER: A constant learning thing for me is when to speak and when not to speak. That was definitely a misstep early in my career; but as I have grown, I have learned when the right time is to say certain things.

KRISTI: The hardest thing to do is to look within and view yourself how others perceive you. Acceptance of oneself, both strengths and weaknesses, is key.

What’s the biggest sign someone is on the right path in this industry?

HEATHER:  You’re on the right path if you’re growing and if you’re learning. The minute you start feeling like you’re stuck, it’s time to start looking around. And it’s your responsibility to look around and see what’s going to really fulfill you.

SARAH: If you are so involved with your work that you lose track of time, you’re most likely in the right place.

KRISTI: You love what you do!

How do you know you’re on the wrong path?

HEATHER: When someone is on the wrong path, it’s very telling. If you can look at yourself and figure out where you need to be, that’s your greatest asset. If you can’t, you’re in the wrong spot.

SARAH: If you’re a clock-watcher, then the job isn’t for you.  I first heard of this idea early in my career and it has proven true at every job I’ve had.

KRISTI: If you are always looking for something else.

What is the best advice you can give to an emerging leader looking to change their current career path?

HEATHER: Someone once said, you should always do what you want in a job and not look for a title in a job. It’s the meat of what you do that will make you happy. Seek that out. You’re going to do something for the rest of your life- you might as well enjoy your work.

SARAH: Patience with persistence.  Don’t be afraid to take lateral moves and don’t think less of them either.  Set short-term and long-term goals, but don’t get discouraged when a short-term goal seems like it is turning into long term.

KRISTI: Research the alternative career path, meet with individuals in the field and ask questions. Get a feel for the culture. Go with your instincts and follow your heart.

WICT’s theme this year is “Connecting”.  How has “connecting” helped you in your career path?  And what advice do you have for other leaders looking to incorporate it into their career approach.

HEATHER: Connecting is at the nucleus of how I like to operate as a leader. If you can’t connect, that is definitely something that you should work on to carry you on to the next level.

SARAH: You can’t wait until the job is posted to start your application process!  I’ve networked for months and sometimes years to get some of the positions on my resume.

KRISTI: It is always good to stay connected. I’ve learned a lot from the leaders within my organization, especially from the team members in my current role. Learning in the


IT’s C-Suite Problem

by Andrew Horne and Brian Foster

Employees in today’s interdependent, knowledge-intensive workplace have IT needs that are diverse, fast-changing and difficult to articulate. But when we at CEB ask CIOs who in IT is responsible for understanding and responding to these needs, we get an uncomfortable silence.

For years, CIOs have sought a “seat at the table” by building strong links with senior business leaders. Their approach has been driven by the assumption that senior leaders speak for employees on the front lines. This may have been true in the past. But as the workplace becomes more collaborative and knowledge-intensive, and as employees’ IT needs diversify, the assumption no longer holds true. In fact, relying on senior relationships is not only inadequate, it can lead IT to pursue the wrong priorities. Instead, IT should interact directly with individual employees to identify their needs and to generate innovations.

The most progressive IT organizations are taking three steps to engage directly with employees and to better serve their needs:

1. Developing Employee-Focused Interface Roles
Service managers, business analysts, and the service desk all have a role to play in building stronger relationships with frontline employees. Service managers should understand what employees need from the services they offer and continually enhance their services to meet these needs. At progressive companies, we are beginning to see business analysts expand their remit beyond projects so that they, too, can help identify emerging needs. The service desk, if correctly resourced, can act as the eyes and ears of IT, picking up on employee challenges and needs in their day-to-day interactions.

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