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Adria Alpert Romm’sLeadership Savvy

When Adria Alpert Romm followed David Zaslav
to Discovery Communications in 2007, she knew she was in for a wild
ride. She had worked with Zaslav, Discovery’s CEO, for years when
he was president of NBC Universal Cable and Domestic TV and New
Media Distribution, and she knew how he operated.

She knew there would be many changes in store with Zaslav at
Discovery’s helm,
but she was up for
the task.

In four short years,
Alpert Romm has
transformed Discovery’s
HR function
from a traditional
service organization
to a global business
partner, providing
strategic guidance
and implementing
key initiatives that
have met business
and personnel goals
and objectives.

The company has
realigned its HR department
to better
serve the company
globally. Along
those lines, Alpert
Romm launched a global human-resources program that off ers HR
employees at all levels the opportunity to work in other countries.

All employees have access to Discovery’s “LiveWellBeWell” program,
which helps staffers cope with the multiple demands of home,
work, and life. Several affinity source groups have been created, including the Multicultural
Alliance and the Discovery Veterans Group.

The company also launched an online learning-management system, where employees can
access more than 100 courses designed to help them advance their careers. Discovery’s latest
initiative involves the formation of a creative culture program for workers.

“We have so many talented storytellers here at Discovery,” Alpert Romm said. “We want to
be able to help them hone those skills. We have a lot of talented people so we are now providing
formal mentorship and training programs.”

Of all the things Alpert Romm has accomplished at Discovery, she is most proud of the onsite
child-care center, Discovery Kids Center, at the company’s headquarters in Silver Spring,
Md. Opened in 2008, the center is operated by Bright Horizons.

“My daughter is going to be 26 soon, so day care isn’t something I would take advantage of
today,” she said. “But I went back to work seven weeks after she was born and I still remember
how difficult it was. Having the child-care facility here has lightened up the building.”

The on-site child-care facility has improved employee productivity, reduced absenteeism
and boosted morale. Alpert Romm was prepared to include on-site child-care facilities in its
Miami and New York offices, but the employees there told the HR department that wellness
centers would be more welcome, so Discovery opened two such facilities in those locations.

Similar discussions occur regularly in every Discovery office around the world, to make
sure the company meets employee expectations. Every two years, employees are surveyed.
The next survey is set for 2012.

CTHRA is not the first organization to recognize Alpert Romm’s initiatives and programs.
Working Mother magazine named Discovery as a top-10 best-in-class employer, and she has
been honored by Women In Cable & Telecommunications, the
Walter Kaitz Foundation and The T. Howard Foundation for
her contributions in improving working conditions at Discovery
and in the industry at large.

While at NBCU, Alpert Romm served as senior vice president
of human resources overseeing HR support for NBCU’s
television businesses.

She started her career at MONY Financial Services, where
she held several positions specializing in college relations.