Cox Communications EVP and COO Jill Campbell is one of the cable industry’s highest-ranking women in operations. At last week’s The Cable Show in Los Angeles, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) honored Cox, along with Comcast, as Best Operators for Women in Cable for promoting and hiring women and people of color. Campbell spoke with Multichannel News senior finance editor Mike Farrell last week about diversity efforts in the cable industry.
MCN: Cox has a long history of hiring and promoting women into operations positions.
Jill Campbell: You have to start with the Cox sisters. Mrs. [Anne Cox] Chambers, 92 years old, is still on the board and very active. CEI [Cox Enterprises Inc.], our parent company — they have had a diversity committee since the beginning and they take it very seriously.
MCN: You said programmers are starting to make some inroads in placing women and people of color in positions of power. Is the rest of the industry stepping up?
JC: I think it’s a lot better than it used to be. [Suddenlink chairman/CEO] Jerry Kent, he’s got four female executives on his team. That’s pretty impressive. Operators tend to be a little more quiet about how they go about things. I think you’re going to see us get a lot louder, because it’s that important. And it’s not just women. We really have to take a hard look...[at] what we’re doing with people of color.
MCN: Are you seeing women and people of color get positions outside of traditional roles like marketing...
JC: And HR and PR? You know when you get out of those ranks, and they are putting women in positions where they have P&L [profit and loss] responsibility, then you have a story. I think you’re going to fi nd more and more of those. And with Comcast and Charter growing, the hope is that will give women opportunities to go up in the ranks. I’m excited about that.
MCN: Is it getting easier, because there are women like yourself in positions of power, to recruit young women into the industry?
JC: Absolutely. I see young women and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to be in this industry, particularly in technology. When I go to universities, I say ‘Get an engineering degree, get a computer science degree, get something like that so we will snatch you up,’ because there are so few on the technology end still. That’s an area we have a lot of opportunities. I will still say, because there are not a whole lot yet on the operations side, it’s really important for us who are there to not underestimate that there are people who are looking up, and they are seeing somebody, and that gives them hope. We have to continuously remind people that you can do it.
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