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 email@example.com.
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
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.