Wonder Women of New York 2022: Joella Wind
Group VP, Sales Operations, Spectrum Enterprise
Growing up in Little Falls, New York, Joella Wind may not have always dreamed about becoming a telecom executive. But a love of science, a keen analytical mind and parents who encouraged her to follow her interests wherever they might lead took her on a path that placed her in the top echelon of cable telecommunications managers.
Now group VP, sales operations for Charter Communications’s large business telecom unit, Spectrum Enterprise, Wind oversees a 350-member team that encompasses sales operations, sales enablement, sales analytics, sales planning and field marketing. A 25-year veteran of the telecom industry, Wind has routinely broken ground in new territory throughout her career by leveraging her versatility, deep knowledge of complex products and services, data-driven decision making and the ability to motivate teams to bring new products to market.
But it wasn’t just a love of technology that first set her on her career path. Wind said what drew her first to the University of Rochester — where she received a bachelor of science in optical engineering in 1990 — was the university’s sports teams.
“I wanted to play field hockey in college and UR had a good field hockey team,” Wind said, adding that it offered an optical engineering major, which also caught her eye. “I always wanted to do something different, something unique, and I was a physics, math, science-oriented person. I thought, this is something different, challenging. I can probably get a job with this without going to graduate school and I get to play field hockey.”
Bitten by the Research Bug
Although she later did go to graduate school (obtaining an MBA in corporate finance from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business) it was while she was working at UR’s prestigious Laboratory for Laser Energetics as a student that Wind got her first experience with major research. The lab, renowned for its work in high-energy physics, also inadvertently influenced her career path.
“It [research] drove me a little crazy, because of all the starts and stops and I thought, ‘Wow, I’d like to manage this lab, not necessarily do this,’ ” she said.
Wind said her tech background has been invaluable on the management side of the business because it gave her the skills to synthesize information, understand the underlying technology and be inquisitive.
“I would start new jobs and have tons of questions I would write down in meetings so I could ask someone afterwards,” she said. “I think that bent really helps me because everything, no matter what function you’re in, has some bent to the analytic and the quantitative.”
That inquisitive nature has helped her colleagues as well, said her manager, Spectrum Enterprise senior VP of enterprise sales and marketing Jeff Painting, who praised her for her hard work, dedication and competitive acumen.
“Her competitive orientation is impressive and inspires her team to perform at the highest levels,” Painting said. “There isn’t a challenge she isn’t willing to face with a positive determination to succeed.”
Wind’s career in the telecom business has been a diverse one, with stints at Bell Atlantic (later Verizon Communications); Philips Broadband Networks (where she said she learned the cable business); a Dublin, Ireland-based startup; Time Warner Cable, where she created its Business Services team; and Charter, which purchased TWC in 2016. In her current position, she oversees all the sales operations and enablement functions for the unit.
Seeking Out Supporters
Although she never had a formal “mentor,” Wind says that most of her managers have been exceptionally supportive and helped her during her career. “I do feel when you do really good work, your leaders become supportive of you and what you want to do in your career,” Wind said. “I had that quite a bit.”
And while she occasionally reaches out to past bosses “when I need someone to set me straight,” she also is very active in advising young women through mentoring programs at Spectrum as well as the University of Rochester. Part of that comes from her mother, she said, who was the principal of a vocational school that Wind has periodically visited to talk to female students in the welding and carpentry programs about nontraditional roles. ■
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.