Joiava Philpott, Chair
VP, Regulatory Affairs
Joiava Philpott is Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs for Cox Communications, the third-largest cable provider in the nation, headquartered in Atlanta, GA. She is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of regulatory strategies impacting voice, video, and broadband products. In this role, Joiava also provides legal counsel to internal business clients concerning the rights and obligations of Cox in the provision of all cable, broadband, and telecommunications services. She leads Cox’s policy and advocacy efforts before state regulatory agencies and provides support in relation to proceedings at the Federal Communications Commission.
Prior to joining Cox, Joiava served as General Counsel of AstroTurf, LLC and also worked for Charter Communications, Inc., as its Corporate Vice-President and Senior Counsel of Government Affairs While at Charter, she was selected to represent cable operators and provided testimony on a panel before the FCC on the subject of “Video Competition.” Before joining Charter, Joiava was with KMC Telecom, as its Assistant General Counsel. She began her career with the City of Atlanta Law Department advising the mayor and city council on public rights-of-way management and cable franchising regulations.
Joiava has served in various capacities and held leadership roles with numerous professional and community service organizations including the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA), National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), Board of Directors Network, Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT), American Corporate Counsel Association, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP), and the Fulton Academy of Science & Technology. Joiava has been recognized as an In-House Woman of Color to Watch by Diversity & the Bar Magazine and amongst The Most Influential Minorities in Cable by Cable Fax Magazine.
She received a B.S., in Business Management from Hampton University, and her J.D. and M.B.A. from the American University, in Washington, DC. Joiava is a BMLI fellow of Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT). She completed an Executive Education Program at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program at the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.
Kevin A. Stephens, Vice Chair
EVP, Business Services
Mr. Stephens leads the $1.3 billion Business Services Division at Altice USA, a subsidiary of Altice International a global communications provider. His division provides high speed data, video, voice, managed services and cloud-based solutions to more than 360,000 business customers across 20 states. Stephens is a corporate officer and has been with the company since its acquisition of Suddenlink Communications in December 2015.
Stephens is a thought leader in the industry and an inspirational executive with a track record of deploying innovative strategies to deliver exceptional growth. He has a rich history of leading cross functional operations, developing business growth initiatives, outlining strategic product roadmaps, expanding sales channel distribution, enabling process improvement, and architecting customer lifecycle management strategies.
Prior to Altice, Stephens was President of Commercial & Advertising Operations at Suddenlink Communications. During his tenure he successfully grew revenues from $170 million to nearly $500 million, and was a catalyst in several corporate acquisitions. Before joining Suddenlink, Stephens served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Cox Communications, where he had responsibility for revenue growth for approximately 850,000 residential customers. Earlier, he served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Customer Services for Choice One Communications, a $324 million start-up telecommunications provider offering phone, high-speed Internet and web-design services.
Stephens began his career at Xerox Corporation, where he served as Vice President & General Manager, having worldwide responsibility for a $3 billion product family. During his 15 years with Xerox, Stephens performed in a variety of progressively responsible roles in finance, sales management, product marketing and general management. Cablefax Magazine has named Stephens to its list of “Most Influential” list every year since 2007.
Mark DePietro, Treasurer
Mark DePietro is Senior Vice President of Marketing for Vecima Networks. DePietro was previously Vice President of Business Development for ARRIS where he oversaw the Headend and Conditional Access Businesses. DePietro serves on the Boards of NAMIC, ReadyTrace, and Venture3 Systems. He is a former board member of CCAD, a Motorola-Comcast joint venture.
DePietro joined the industry in 1994 and was responsible for the design of the world’s first commercially viable digital cable system. That system has won numerous Emmy awards for technical innovation, and is the leading system in the US. Mr. DePietro has held general management responsibility for several lines of business within Motorola’s Home division.
DePietro has over 25 years of high-tech experience in both large corporations and startups. He was a founder of Transdigital Communications, and has held engineering roles at Sierra Cybernetics, Hughes Aircraft, and Rome Labs.
DePietro holds a BSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an MSEE and EEE from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma.
Ebonne Ruffins, Secretary
VP, Local Media Development
Ebonne L. Ruffins is the Vice President of Local Media Development for Comcast Corporation, one of the world’s leading media, entertainment, and technology companies. Ms. Ruffins responsibilities include national diversity advertising; print, radio, and online collateral communications; national surveys; and executive multimedia consulting.
Prior to joining Comcast in 2011, Ms. Ruffins was an English and Spanish producer for the internationally acclaimed television series, CNN Heroes. At CNN, Ms. Ruffins produced awardwinning multilingual stories on “ordinary people with an extraordinary impact” in 19 cities across five continents.
Ms. Ruffins began her career as an on-air reporter for WCAX TV, a CBS affiliate in Burlington, Vermont. She was also a reporter/producer for NPR in Washington, D.C., and a CNN Fellow and contributor for CNN’s Washington, D.C. Bureau. Ms. Ruffins moved to Guadalajara, Mexico in 2003 to learn Spanish and she credits her linguistic skill to the inmates and Jesuit missionary volunteers of the Jalisco State Penitentiary, Centro Preventivo Varonil de Puente Grande, where she served as a volunteer English literacy coach.
Currently, Ms. Ruffins serves as a National Board member of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) on the Executive Committee. She is also a documentary producer and contributor, most recently co-producing the award-winning intergenerational documentary, Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee, released in 2014. Since 1999, Ms. Ruffins has served as co-founder and volunteer for the Mother-Daughter Senior Shopping Service (SSS), LLC., a decorating service for resident senior citizens and people with disabilities at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Rehabilitation and Care (PCRC).
Ms. Ruffins is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and the Medill Graduate School of Journalism. She is also a proud alumna of Spelman College.
Michelle L. Rice, Immediate Past Chair
In her role as Executive Vice President of Content Distribution and Marketing, Ms. Rice developed distribution strategy and handles national accounts negotiations with all the major multichannel video programming distributors (MPVDs) to increase and maximize TV One’s content distribution opportunities across all platforms, including video on demand (VOD), TV Everywhere (TVE), and over-the-top (OTT) distribution. She also manages non-linear content distribution, including subscription video on demand (SVOD) and mobile as well as domestic and international program sales and distribution. She is responsible for managing the field sales team and oversees affiliate marketing and partnerships for the entertainment and lifestyle network targeting African American adults. She joined TV One in January 2004 as vice president of distribution strategy and operations and was named a senior vice president in March 2005.
Before joining TV One, she was northeast regional vice president for affiliate relations and national accounts for iNDemand in New York. At iNDemand, she was responsible for affiliate sales and local marketing efforts in the Northeastern United States, including negotiating and implementing the company’s affiliation agreements for carriage of pay-per-view, video-on-demand, event, and HD channels. She also negotiated carriage deals for subscription sports package partners, including the NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, MLB Extra Innings, NASCAR-iN-Car and ESPN packages.
Before joining iNDemand in 2001, she spent five years at NBC Cable Networks, most recently as director of affiliate sales/special markets, where she was responsible for distribution of CNBC, MSNBC, and Shop NBC to special market accounts, including DirecTV and Echostar.
She began her cable industry career through the Walter Kaitz Fellowship program at BET in 1993, where she served as manager, special markets and Canada in the network’s affiliate sales department.
A graduate of Temple University with a degree in journalism, Ms. Rice also holds an M.A. degree in communication management from the University of Southern California. She is a Class 8 alumnus of Women in Cable and Telecommunications’ (WICT) prestigious Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, graduate of WICT’s Senior Executive Summit program at Stanford University and a proud Class 11 alumnus of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications’ Executive Leadership Develop Program.
James L. Anderson, Member at Large
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
James L. Anderson is Senior Vice President of Communications for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. As part of the executive leadership team that works closely with the president and general manager on short and long-term business strategies, Anderson serves as chief spokesperson, responsible for overseeing all domestic internal and external communications, as well as the global franchise PR efforts supporting Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang and all of its ancillary businesses, including Cartoon Network Studios, Williams Street Studios. He also has oversight of leading the communications teams for Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Turner Sports.
A veteran corporate and entertainment communications specialist who has supervised the campaigns of over fifty prime and daytime series, Anderson joined Turner Broadcasting in 2005, as vice president, public relations for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of publicity and public relations for the Carsey-Werner Company in Los Angeles, California where he created an in-house communications department that developed and implemented all PR efforts for the corporate, production, syndication and film divisions of the company. Anderson has supervised the campaigns for such series as, That ‘70s Show, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Roseanne, Cybill, Grace Under Fire, A Different World, The Cosby Show, Adventure Time, Ben 10, The Boondocks, Rick & Morty and Childrens Hospital. He and his team were honored with the 2012 PR News Corporate Social Responsibility award for their work on the pro-social initiative Stop Bullying: Speak Up.
Recognized in 2010 as one of the industry’s most influential executives in CableFax Magazine’s annual Diversity issue, Anderson is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre at Denison University in Granville, Ohio where he currently is on the Board of Trustees and serves as co-chairman of the Student Development committee. He’s a graduate of The John E. Anderson School of Management at UCLA in partnership with the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program and also serves on the Boards of the SIFMA Foundation (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) and the Tony winning Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, serving as National Show Chairman for the 2003 Emmys Awards and 2004 Governor’s Award Committee and was formerly on the Board of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sickle Cell Anemia.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
Danielle D. Wade, Member at Large
Area VP, Pacific Northwest
Danielle Wade is the Area Vice President, Pacific Northwest at Charter Communications. Wade was previously the Vice President of Customer Care and Marketing for the Bright House Network’s Bakersfield Division. Her division spans the major metropolis and rural areas of the lower San Joaquin Valley region of California, which is a highly competitive multicultural market.
Having served Bright House Networks for over 10 years, Wade oversaw a significant portion of its customer operations, from its inbound-outbound call center, collections, audit and daily operations of numerous service lobbies. In addition, she is directly responsible for critical marketing and sales functions including residential and commercial sales, core and ancillary marketing, “On Demand” product services, video production, public affairs and “Cable in the Classroom”-related outreach and distribution. In her role, she was responsible for launching new products and services including Digital Phone and High Speed Data.
Prior to joining Bright House, Wade served as a Marketing Manager for the Time Warner Cable Indianapolis Division. Managing a staff of over 20, she successfully led marketing and sales activities for the analog-to-digital upgrade of this demanding urban and multicultural market.
Before she joined Time Warner Cable, she worked as Marketing Manager for Prime Cable of Chicago. During her two years at Prime Cable, Wade crafted and deployed strategies for creative branding and aggressive acquisition as well as to address theft-of-service for a highly diverse inner-city market.
Wade began her dynamic career in the cable industry with Jones Intercable where she earned various marketing and sales titles, which include System Sales Manager, until she departed after a prosperous five-year tenure.
She received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University in 1992.
Her professional affiliations include the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity (NAMIC) in Communications, serving on its National Board of Directors. She previously held the offices of Secretary and Vice President for its Chicago chapter. Additionally, she continues to be a long-standing and active member of the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), Women in Cable and Telecommunications (WICT), and the Association of Cable Communicators (ACC).
Wade currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Excellence Scholarship Foundation at California State University – Bakersfield, having previously served as past President and Vice President respectively. She also served on the Kern Adult Literacy Board of Directors where she also held the positions of both President and Vice President. Furthermore, while in Indianapolis, she served on the local Boards of Directors for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the Boys and Girls Club.
She is an alumna of the 1993 Walter Kaitz Foundation and the 2001 CTAM Executive Management Program CTAM U Harvard University alumna. In 2002, she was recognized by the Southern California chapter of WICT as the LEA Woman to Watch. Finally, she is a 2004-05 Betsy Magness Leadership Foundation Class XI graduate.
She and husband Douglas Wade have two children, Andrew and Sophia.
James Brown (JB)
EVP, Content Distribution, Talent and Marketing Groups
A 20-year veteran of the cable industry, Brown brings indispensable knowledge and insight to his role as Executive Vice President, Content Distribution, Talent and Marketing Groups. In his current role, Brown leads the charge to grow distribution for REVOLT’s content across traditional cable systems as well as OTT systems and the Web, in the United States and internationally. Additionally, Brown is responsible for content acquisition and licensing strategy.
Prior to REVOLT, Brown spent the majority of his career working for Disney/ESPN in affiliate sales and marketing, serving as an executive on teams that yielded successful revenue and subscriber growth of all Disney/ESPN Media Networks, in particular ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN Classic, SoapNet and ESPN Deportes. A graduate of the University of Maryland, James G. Brown, Jr. started his professional career at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) where he held a variety of leadership roles in engineering, sales and marketing, logistics, strategic planning and information systems.
Brown received his Bachelor’s of Arts in business administration and management from the University of Maryland. He currently resides in Miami and New York.
Ann R. Carlsen
Founder & CEO
Carlsen Resources, Inc.
Ann Carlsen is the force behind the brand considered to be the gold standard of boutique search firms, having placed more than 2700 exceptional executives and rising stars in critical industry roles over the span of 30 years. An internationally respected executive search leader, advisor, coach and champion of workplace diversity, Carlsen is a results-oriented strategist who intimately understands the goals and needs of her clients and has an uncanny antenna for the trends and pulse of the overall marketplace in the cable, media, entertainment and technology sectors worldwide. Carlsen’s reputation as an excellent judge of talent and more importantly, the right talent and cultural fit for organizations, has evolved over 30 years through the day-to-day and hands-on experience of helping her clients build and grow their companies and careers. She is considered an expert advisor on leadership development, diversity, workforce issues and trends, and the advancement of women and people of color on corporate boards. Carlsen’s commitment to diversity is reflected by her leadership on several key Industry initiatives. She founded the Telecommunications Diversity Network (TDN), an industry-wide initiative that provided a “no fee” job bank populated with the best diversity candidates. Carlsen was also the architect of the very successful industry-wide mentorship initiative designed to pair diverse candidates with mentors in their areas of interest. It is now called the L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Program and housed by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC).
Carlsen has been recognized by many industry organizations for her professional excellence, leadership and personal accomplishments. She was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2012; the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) presented her with its Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership, the organizations highest honor; she was awarded Women in Cable and Telecommunications (WICT) Woman of the Year honor and served as its national president and chairwoman. She served ten years on the NAMIC board and has served on numerous national boards and committees for The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and its Educational Foundation, and currently serves on The Cable Center and also the Cable TV Pioneers boards. Carlsen is a fixture on CableFAX magazines CableFAX 100 and Most Powerful Women lists. She is also a founding member of the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.
Carlsen began her career in 1980 in sales and marketing for United Cable. She was then recruited to Cardiff Publishing, where she led national sales and marketing for Cable Television Business Magazine. In 1984, she became vice president of marketing at Business Venture Investments, a venture capital and venture management firm. Carlsen joined another search firm as vice president in 1986, where she discovered and developed her unique gifts and passion for executive search. She founded the precursor to Carlsen Resources, Future Sense, 27 years ago. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a degree in Journalism and Business.
When not working or traveling, you’ll find Ann hiking with her dogs, gardening or fostering baby animals in crisis.
VP, Distribution Marketing
Fox Networks Group
Michael Cooper is Vice President of Distribution Marketing for Fox Networks, managing marketing strategies, tactics and promotions for more than 44 major domestic networks. The diverse portfolio includes entertainment and sports channels, such as FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo Mundo, FOX Sports 1, FSN and 22 regional sports networks.
Prior to joining Fox, Mr. Cooper served double duty as Vice President of National Accounts and General Manager of Video-on-Demand at Court TV. During his tenure he was able to develop and execute sales and marketing strategies to significantly increase distribution and improve retention for Court TV’s primary network service and also develop the network’s national VOD strategy. His cable experience also includes marketing and business development at the Los Angeles Times, offering customized program listing services and products to regional cable operators. Prior to cable, Mr. Cooper also did an international stint at Russian Investor, where he served as Director of Marketing and New Business Development of its global publishing and consulting divisions.
Mr. Cooper sits on the Board of Directors for NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) and is also a member of CTAM (Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing), WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications) and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University in Business Administration and an MBA from University of Southern California.
SVP, Business & Legal Affairs
Lisa A. Williams-Fauntroy is Senior Vice President for Business & Legal Affairs at Discovery Communications, LLC. Discovery is a global media company that owns and operates many cable networks including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel and Investigation Discovery.
At Discovery, Lisa manages and handles business and legal affairs matters for the company’s largest television network, Discovery Channel, as well as Science Channel and Velocity. When Lisa joined Discovery in March of 1997, she began her career in the legal department focusing on transactional work for network productions, talent deals and pre-broadcast review of legal issues for the company’s programming. Since starting at Discovery, Lisa has worked for nearly every network in the company and has had the opportunity to contribute her legal and business skills to many content and corporate deals for the company’s joint ventures and new businesses.
Currently, as a senior business and legal affairs executive, Lisa manages a bi-coastal team and she serves as a collaborative and strategic partner to the development, production, programming and operations teams at Discovery Channel and for other networks. Her practice area includes complex deal negotiations and transactional work and she advises internal clients on content liability matters related to defamation, publicity, privacy and copyright issues.
Prior to joining Discovery, Lisa was an associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm formerly known as Roberts & Eckard, P.C. (now Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP). She is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she received a dual degree in Broadcast Journalism and Sociology, and a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she received her law degree.
Lisa is a board member for the national board of NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications), the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., and she serves as a co-chair and executive sponsor of Discovery’s employee resource group, the Black Cultural Alliance. She has been recognized as one of Cable Fax’s Most Influential Minorities in Cable and regularly mentors professional women both inside and outside of her company. Lisa is also a frequent annual contributor to the Practicing Law Institute’s Faculty on Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry.
Jay R. Grant
EVP & General Counsel, Fusion Media Group
Univision Communications Inc.
As Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Fusion Media Group at Univision Communications Inc. Jay R. Grant counsels executives regarding strategic partnerships, new ventures, corporate development & governance, and multi-platform content transactions. He led Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) legal teams that established UCI’s first 4 English language ventures.
As a corporate officer for Univision Holdings, Inc. (UHI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America with a portfolio of 17 broadcast, cable & digital networks; strategic investments & ventures; and 125+ TV and radio stations; he is based at UHI headquarters in New York and reports to the EVP General Counsel and Secretary. His business career spans both Los Angeles and New York.
Grant is admitted to Practice Law in California, District of Columbia and New York; and MBA with specializations in Strategy, Entertainment-Media-Technology and Corporate-Finance. Grant is also an alumni of Harvard University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Government.
P. Sean Gupta
VP, Strategy and Operations
BET Networks (a Viacom Network)
Sean Gupta is currently the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at BET Networks (a Viacom Network). He is responsible for programming and network level strategy and growth initiatives that involve researching, analyzing and building strategic recommendations on everything from program launches, growth areas, to delivery of content on multiple platforms. Before the expansion of his roles and responsibilities, he originally worked in the Program Planning, Scheduling & Acquisitions team and focused on BETN’s overall programming goals to generate significant ratings and increased viewership for the networks.
Prior to Viacom, Sean was a Senior Director managing business development and business affairs for the Advertising Division of Time Warner Cable (TWC-Media). He assessed the long term goals, strategies, and investment opportunities for TWC’s $1B+ local cable TV and online advertising business and executed various partnerships, joint ventures, and growth initiatives.
Before TWC, Sean was an investment banker at Deutsche Bank (DB) on Wall Street for six and a half years as a Vice President in The Media & Telecom Investment Banking Group and then The Office of the Vice Chairman of the Americas. Prior to business school, Sean began his career as an intern at Bloomberg and NBC.
Sean has a BA in Economics & South Asian Studies from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters and enjoys running, skiing, and meeting fellow NAMIC members!
VP, Global Distribution
Navin Kamath is the Vice President of Global Distribution for HBO, where he is responsible for the strategic account management of several of the company’s streaming subscriber and transactional partners. He oversees relationships with prominent digital accounts including Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, Roku and Fandango NOW. In this role, Navin has helped launch both HBO NOW and HBO GO on various platforms, devices, affiliate portals and applications.
Navin has worked in various capacities at HBO since 2006, managing HBO On Demand, Cinemax On Demand and affiliate online marketing.Prior to joining HBO, he was with Time Inc., where he specialized in marketing, using consumer research and strategic insights to drive consumer marketing campaigns and advertising sales.
Navin earned a BS in Marketing at The Pennsylvania State University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
SVP, Worldwide Distribution
As the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Distribution for INSP, a leading family-friendly entertainment cable channel with more than 80 million subscribers, Mark Kang is responsible for all network content distribution.
Prior to INSP, Mark served as a Senior Vice President of Affiliate Relations at Sportsman Channel, where he led Affiliate Sales and Marketing efforts. Mark began his media career as Vice President of Affiliate Relations for Court TV (owned by Time Warner Inc. and Liberty Media), which is now known as TruTV.
Mark has served on industry boards, and has received numerous recognitions, that include: Top 100 executives in Cable Television, Top Minorities in Cable, Rising Stars of Cable TV Executives, Top Affiliate Team, Advisory Board of Cable Center Hall of Fame, National Board of Directors for NAMIC, and Director at Large for the WICT NYC Chapter.
Before he began his career in the cable industry, Mark worked in finance at Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor; and at Tiedemann Investment Group as an analyst and arbitrageur. Mark was also a talent agent for International Artist Agency, where he represented Grammy Award winning artists.
Mark, who was born in South Korea, and raised in New York City, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College in Illinois.
Mark Kang lives in New York with his wife Monique and their three lovely daughters: Hunter, Kaela and Sloan.
Group VP, Legal Affairs
Jerold Lambert assumes a principle role in providing counsel to Mediacom’s Business Services Division. He continues to play a major role in the drafting and negotiating of agreements between Mediacom and its Business Service customers. Lambert began his legal career in the cable industry in 1994, and joined Mediacom as vice president of legal affairs in 2011. He lives in New Fairfield, Connecticut.
VP, Sales Professional Services
Bill Lee carries 7 years in Electrical industry-designing and building Emergency standby power generation; In addition to 19 years in Cable Television industry-selling products and services, designing and installing headends/hubs for major MSO’s; design and integration of advanced services (ie. VoD, VoIP, IPTV, FTTH, etc.) as a cable operator and as a consultant for many MSO’s. Bill has also supported many great causes serving as a Board Member of the Charity Organization Strikes Against Sarcoma. As well supporting the Alzheimer Association and Veteran Administration.
Cheryl M. Manley
SVP & Associate General Counsel, Employment Law
Cheryl M. Manley is the Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Employment Law at Charter Communications. In her role as the leader of Charter’s Employment Law Group, Ms. Manley oversees a team of attorneys and support staff. Her varied responsibilities include managing all employment litigation, strategizing with senior executives as to the application of employment laws, ensuring Charter’s compliance with applicable employment laws, providing legal counsel and guidance to human resource leaders in the investigation of harassment, discrimination, and other employment-related complaints, overseeing the immigration activities of foreign nationals sponsored by the company, serving on Charter’s corporate compliance team, assisting in the development of human resources policies and procedures, developing training courses for human resources leaders, managers, and employees with regard to employment laws, and participating in the implementation of a myriad of corporate-wide initiatives. Ms. Manley participated in Charter’s Executive Leadership Institute.
Prior to joining Charter, Ms. Manley was in-house labor and employment counsel for a national manufacturing company. Ms. Manley was also employed as an associate in the labor and employment department of Husch Blackwell (formerly Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin LLP). Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Manley served as a judicial law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Ms. Manley has been a member of Women in Cable Television and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. In 2016, Ms. Manley was recognized by Cablefax for her contributions to the cable industry by being named one of Cable’s Most Influential Minorities.
Ms. Manley has served on the board of directors for several not-for-profit organizations, including St. Louis Police Athletic League, Lutheran Children and Family Services, Boys Hope Girls Hope of St.
Louis, and Youth in Need. Ms. Manley is a volunteer for Crisis Aid International, having traveled to
Ethiopia to further the organization’s mission.
Ms. Manley is a graduate of Old Dominion University (cum laude) and St. Louis University School of Law.
EVP, Operations, Optimum Region
Pragash Pillai serves as Executive Vice President, Operations for the Optimum region of Altice USA, managing all aspects of operations for Optimum services including customer service, field operations, outside plant maintenance, construction, billing and collection, Optimum stores, technical compliance and operations strategy. He is responsible for key operations teams, providing a superior customer experience.
Mr. Pillai formerly was the Senior Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering for Cablevision, managing all aspects of end-to-end voice, video, data and wireless service delivery infrastructure. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology for Bresnan Communications, which was acquired by Cablevision in 2010. Before joining Bresnan he served as Vice President of Advanced Engineering, Digital Video for Charter Communications.
Mr. Pillai received NAMIC’s “Next Generation Leader” Award and the CED Pace Setter Award for Converged Platform. He has also been recognized by CableFAX The Magazine as the MSO Technology Innovator and CableFAX’s Top “20 to Watch” and was the recipient of the Broadcasting & Cable – SMPTE 2007 Next Generation Engineering Leadership Award.
Mr. Pillai holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Science in Telecommunications from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri. In addition, he completed graduate work in Telecommunications Management at Washington University in St. Louis. Mr. Pillai is a graduate of the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program at Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He also completed the MIT Sloan Executive Program in Strategy and Innovation.
Jaime J. Rodriguez
VP, Business & Legal Affairs
Jaime is currently Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs with NBCUniversal where he is a member of the business unit that oversees domestic and international television distribution of all NBCUniversal video content. He currently focuses on international deals involving new media platforms including transactions involving SVOD, EST and VOD services. He previously worked as Vice President, Business Affairs with Univision Communications where he was a member of the business unit that oversaw the distribution of Univision content and channels.
Prior to that, he was a member of the Univision legal department where he represented all divisions of the company including the television, radio, digital and music groups. Mr. Rodriguez has also been a corporate attorney with Paul Hastings and before that, with Milbank Tweed, where he focused on international transactions.
Mr. Rodriguez received his B.A. degree, with honors, in Political Science and German from the University of California at Berkeley and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Freddy Rolón, Jr.
VP & General Manager
As vice president and general manager of ESPN Deportes, Freddy Rolón oversees all aspects of the ESPN Deportes business including ESPN Deportes television, the leading Spanish-language sports cable network offering the most diverse sports programming with more than 4,500 live hours of content presented every year, currently in 5.9 million Hispanic households and available on WatchESPN. He also leads the ESPN Deportes Radio business and (ESPNDeportes.com).
Freddy has played an integral role in the development of the company’s content strategy to reach bilingual Hispanics consuming sports content across all of ESPN’s English-language platforms. He works closely with ESPN’s programming, production, audio, digital and print media teams, to maximize the relevance and appeal of ESPN’s English-language products for U.S. Hispanic fans.
Freddy, who joined ESPN in 2004, held the position of vice president of ESPN Deportes programming and business initiatives from 2011-2016. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all programming for ESPN Deportes, including acquisitions, development and scheduling. Prior to that, he served as senior director of ESPN Deportes Radio and business initiatives, where he was instrumental in developing a five-year plan for the network to achieve growth targets through a new sales structure and reinvestment in US-specific programming. Through this, he was able to identify, create and develop initiatives that produced sustainable, long-term growth through deal evaluation. He also worked with business leaders to manage start-up phases of new business initiatives, including the ESPN Local initiative.
Before officially joining ESPN in 2004, Freddy was an intern for ESPN International in the summer of 2003. After completing his MBA, he joined ESPN as senior manager of marketing for ESPN Deportes. He was promoted to senior director, marketing and integration of ESPN Radio (2005-2007), where he oversaw all the marketing efforts for ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio.
Freddy graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor of arts in economics and government and later received a master’s of business administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
K. Dane Snowden
Chief Operating Officer
NCTA - The Internet & Television Association
K. Dane Snowden joined NCTA – The Internet & Television Association as its Chief of Staff in August 2011 and oversees the association’s day-to-day operations as well as its planning and strategic initiatives.
Prior to joining NCTA, Mr. Snowden was Vice President of External & State Affairs at CTIA-The Wireless Association® where he managed and directed the Association’s comprehensive state policy and liaison efforts. Before CTIA, Mr. Snowden served as Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) from 2001 – 2005. In this role, he was responsible for development and execution of the vision, strategic direction, telecommunications policy, and management of the Bureau’s activities and 300 employees.
Before his appointment to the Commission, Mr. Snowden served in leadership roles at various organizations including: MissionFish.com, America’s Promise-The Alliance for Youth and the United Negro College Fund.
Mr. Snowden is active in various charitable pursuits and serves on the boards of the William & Mary Mason School of Business Foundation, the Kingsbury Day School and SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders). He has also served as a mentor in the Everybody Wins program and has previously served on the boards of CityCares of America, the Washington, D.C. Chapter of SOS Children’s Villages, COMCARE and Wireless RERC. Mr. Snowden is a graduate of The College of William and Mary.
Michelle Strong is Senior Vice President, Distribution for A+E Networks. In this role Michelle, along with her distribution sales team, is responsible for securing long-term distribution and revenue growth for A+E Networks. As part of this role, she will also work in coordination with digital media and business development to negotiate VOD, TV Everywhere® , mobile and other digital media products across all A+E Networks platforms.
Previously Michelle was Vice President, National Accounts, A+E Networks where she managed several accounts including Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Verizon. In addition, Michelle was responsible for securing long-term distribution deals for A+E Networks’ portfolio of services.
Prior to joining A+E Networks, Michelle spent four years as Sr. Director, National Accounts for Disney and ESPN Media Networks where she closed several major carriage deals for the company’s 30+ brands. Before she joined Disney and ESPN Media Networks, Michelle worked in BET’s Affiliate Sales and Marketing department. There, she began as an Affiliate Relations Manager and was promoted consistently over a 6 year period leaving the company as a VP of Affiliate Sales. While at BET, Michelle was responsible for contract management of the top 10 cable and satellite providers and she assessed industry trends and developed new business development concepts.
Michelle has a B.A. in Communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech) and an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
Passionate about continued education and leadership development, Michelle completed the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program (Class II) ; CTAM U and the nationally recognized Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Program. She was also a recipient of the NAMIC Luminary Award in 2010. In 2013 she was listed in CableFax’s Influential Minorities in Cable. Michelle and her husband and children reside in New York.
Crystal B. Washington
SVP, External Relations & Vendor Management
Scripps Networks Interactive
Crystal B. Washington is senior vice president, external relations and vendor management for Scripps Networks Interactive. In this position, she is charged with the enhancement and management of the company’s relationship with key constituents and community partners to strengthen Scripps Networks position in the marketplace as well as ensure a diverse pool of vendor partners.
Washington previously was vice president/external relations of diversity and inclusion. In this position, she oversaw the program office of diversity; assisted in identifying and achieving core diversity objectives; assisted in managing and developing philanthropic and community partnerships; provided oversight for the company-wide employee groups; and coordinated relationships with industry professional organizations. Additionally, she was responsible for talent acquisition with a focus on aligning systems, tools and processes to attract and retain the highest caliber employees.
Prior to joining Scripps Networks in 2002, Washington worked in the banking industry for 15 years. She held positions as a private client officer and team leader, sales manager, sales training manager, middle market lender and branch manager.
Washington’s industry affiliation includes being a board member of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), L. Patrick Mellon Mentor, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) member, and previous secretary of Women in Telecommunications Greater Ohio chapter. She is a graduate of Harvard Business School Executive Education Program in conjunction with Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), the NAMIC Executive Leadership Program from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Leadership Cincinnati and the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati’s African-American Leadership Development Program, and was the 2010 recipient of the WICT Ohio Chapter Woman to Watch award, 2012 NAMIC Luminary award and 2014 Savoy Magazine Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.
Washington’s community work includes serving on the boards of the Great School Partnership, Visit Knoxville Executive Committee and Marketing Committee Chair, United Way of Greater Knoxville Chair for Women in Next Generation Initiative and University of Cincinnati Diversity Advisory. Additionally, she’s a participant in the University of Tennessee’s Chancellor’s Associate program.
Washington’s previous community work included serving on the boards of the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, Downtown Cincinnati Inc., Arts Wave Member Allocation Committee, Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Women Excel Lead Advisory Committee, United Way Allocations Committee and Loan Executive, Rape Crisis & Abuse Center, Scripps Howard Foundation and March of Dimes. Additionally, she was recognized as a YWCA rising star.
Washington is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Capital University.
Jason T. Williams
VP, Global Inclusion Strategy
Jason T. Williams is the Vice President of Global Inclusion Strategy for Viacom. Based in New York City, Jason partners with the Viacom senior leadership team, under the guidance of Viacom’s Global Head of Inclusion Strategy and Viacom’s CEO, to set the vision and strategy for Viacom’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives, to communicate D&I plans to the global organization, and to advise Viacom executives from its flagship brands (Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Paramount) on diversity issues in their businesses. In a previous role at Viacom International Media Networks, Jason served as Vice President, Global Consumer Products (CP) Business Operations, where he led teams based on both the east and west coasts, responsible for a combination of operational and strategic initiatives that supported the Nickelodeon CP group. His global team operated the NickCentral.com business-to-business (B2B) portal, with the goal of developing operational efficiencies and digital asset management solutions in order to expand and enhance Viacom’s core brands, to guide global deal-making, and to maximize the profitability of Viacom’s licensing partnerships in global regions where Viacom has significant TV presence for key entertainment properties (i.e. – SpongeBob, Turtles, Paw Patrol, etc.).
Prior to joining Viacom, Jason was a Managing Consultant at Kaiser Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique strategy consulting & market research firm serving Fortune 100 clients. He advised various senior executive through C-level clients from the media & entertainment, consumer products/retail merchandising, technology, and private equity industries on strategic recommendations to increase the profitability of their global operations. His work at Kaiser included corporate strategy consulting (market opportunity analysis and competitive benchmarking), mergers & acquisitions investment analysis, and organizational design benchmarking. Prior to Kaiser Associates, Jason co-founded and operated a Telly Award Winning independent TV production company, was a Senior Manager for a dot-com consulting firm (Kforce.com), and was an analyst for the Telecommunications Industry Group at the global consulting firm Accenture.
Jason obtained a B.A. from Duke University and an MBA from Georgetown University. He is an active member of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), where he is a Member of the National Board of Directors, participated in the 2012-13 NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) Class XII at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, served as a member of the NAMIC-New York Chapter Programming Committee, and was a NAMIC L. Patrick Mellon mentor to young professionals in the media and entertainment industries. He founded and serves as Program Head for the Viacommunity UP: Unlimited Potential Mentoring & UP Creative Programs, serves as a Member of the Asia Society’s Global Talent and Diversity Council, and is Vice Chairman of the Board of the YouthBridge-NY, a non-profit organization that trains young people to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing, increasingly diverse New York City.
Jason is a Washington, D.C., native who now resides in Maplewood, NJ, with his wife, three sons, and Yorkshire terrier.
Director, International Audience Development
Ninoska Zucconi was previously Vice President, Distribution Marketing at Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America.
After joining the group in 2008, Mrs. Zucconi was been charged with delivering marketing value to top MVPD and digital distributors nationwide. She led a creative team that often served as the Hispanic agency for partners in need of production services to promote their products. She is committed to educating Hispanic consumers on new ways to access and enjoy UCI content, no matter what the platform (i.e. On Demand and TV Everywhere). Zucconi directed branding efforts of recent launches for UCI’s sports and novelas networks, as well as the newest digital destination, Flama. She also built cross platform opportunities and experiential consumer events around network promotables like the FIFA World Cup. She leads B2B efforts and media campaigns that articulate the value of the expanding UCI portfolio. Zucconi was also responsible for the development of UCI’s corporate distributor website.
Ninoska has also been actively involved with UCI’s Women’s Leadership Council. She was a member of the core Miami leadership team responsible for founding Univision’s Women’s Leadership Academy, which started as a local pilot program and has now been implemented nationwide. In 2013, Zucconi was also the recipient of the CEO Award given to an employee for their outstanding contributions to the company.
Prior to joining UCI, Mrs. Zucconi worked with Discovery Communications Inc. in Miami where she served as Affiliate Sales Marketing Manager. She began her career as a Sales Assistant for Turner Network Sales and was promoted to Marketing Specialist for Turner Broadcasting Systems, and later to Assistant Marketing Manager for TNT.
Mrs. Zucconi has served on the Board of Directors of WICT Florida Chapter, CTAM’s TVE Marcom Committee, NAMIC’s Multicultural Committee and is a member of Promax BDA. She was recognized as a NAMIC Luminary and appeared on CableFax’s Most Influential Minorities in Cable in 2012. She received her Executive MBA in International Business from the University of Miami and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. She is fully bilingual and lives in Miami, FL.