September 22, 2016
NAMIC Blog: 30th Annual Conference
Leadership Lessons from Women of Color
By Verneda White
No session was more electric. The feeling in the air at the final panel on day two of the 2016 WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications) Leadership Conference was nothing short of empowering. Presented in partnership with NAMIC and the Walter Kaitz Foundation, members and guests of WICT had the opportunity to gain insight through firsthand accounts from an incomparable panel of industry top cable executives who happen to also be authentic, accomplished and confident women of color.
Moderated by Dr. Ella Bell, Founder, ASCENT-Leading Multicultural Women to the Top and Associate Professor, Business Administration, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, the discussion brought words of wisdom mixed with anecdotes of personal experience from the likes of Michelle Rice, EVP, Content Distribution & Marketing at TV One and Chair of the NAMIC National Board of Directors; Susan Jin Davis, SVP, Operations & Compliance for Comcast Cable; Tamara Franklin, EVP, Digital at Scripps Networks Interactive; and Monica Diaz, VP, Diversity, Inclusion & Wellness for ESPN.
If you missed this dynamic session, here are a few best of the best key takeaways:
- Be your authentic self in the workplace where bringing together diverse perspectives is critical to success. Diversity is about who’s on the team, inclusion is about who gets to play.
- Don’t self-select yourself out of the running. There may be cultural and gender bias we hold on to, even subconsciously, that tells us we do not belong at the table…don’t listen!
- Show up for those who came before you. As women of color we carry the “burden” of continuing to break down barriers and pushing the envelope in the same fashion as those who made the opportunities we experience today possible.
- Get comfortable with diversity and increase your cultural awareness. Be ready to lead as world population trends make the shift to a more diverse workforce in the U.S. inevitable.
These leadership lessons resonate whether you are starting out, a woman, or climbing your ladder all way to the top. As leaders, we must challenge the stereotypes we carry to be able to identify and nurture leadership skills not only in ourselves but in the next generation. Today, I am reminded that being a woman of color does not define one’s limits…it is our strength.