The Cable Communications Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to cable communications and public affairs. Nominated by their peers and colleagues, the two honorees have used communications concepts and techniques to successfully solve problems, take advantage of opportunities and contribute to the bottom lines of their companies. This year, ACC will honor Maryce Cunningham and Ellen East.
Maryce Cunningham earns success for her company and the cable industry with dogged determination and hard work behind the scenes and in the public eye. A communications professional with 25 years experience in the cable and telecommunications industry, Cunningham holds the position of Mid South Regional Manager of Community and Government Relations for Suddenlink Communications.
In this position, she works closely with the Louisiana and Arkansas cable systems to promote and publicize their activities, to assist in their relations with franchise authorities and local press, and to position them as the broadband leaders in their areas. She monitors the activities of the local and state governments and maintains company dealings with the federal, state and local elected officials. In addition, she created, produces and hosts Suddenlink's “Community Connections TV,” a locally produced, community-service television program that offers elected officials and community leaders an opportunity to address and inform their constituents.
Her most recent efforts include helping the Jonesboro team plan and kick off an “eCycling” program to help create a new electronic equipment recycling program in the town, prompting a remarkably favorable editorial and letter to the editor two days later. She helped the Lake Charles, La., team develop a new community program to boost efforts to feed the hungry. In past assignments she has developed and implemented numerous other projects, including the Suddenlink Scholarship Program, the Suddenlink Spotlight on Someone Special Award, Customer Appreciation Days and the Boys & Girls Clubs Annual Day of Service.
Cunningham began her career with Cablevision Systems Corp. in the New York metropolitan area. In her 19 years with Cablevision, she held the positions of Public Relations Director, Director of Local Programming and Corporate Director of Access Programming. She joined the Public Affairs Department of Cox Communications in 2003, overseeing the company's community relations activities in the states of Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi. Her focus expanded to include activities in Louisiana with the sale of the Cox MAC systems to Cebridge Connections, which resulted in the creation of Suddenlink Communications.
A graduate of Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., Cunningham holds a Master of Arts degree in Corporate and Political Communications from Fairfield (Conn.) University. She is President of the Boards of Directors of the Louisiana Cable & Telecommunications Association and Chairman of the Board of the Arkansas Cable Telecommunications Association while still finding the time to serve on several state and local community boards, on the FORUM 2009 committee and as the co-chair of ACC's Outreach Activities committee.
Ellen East has long been one of cable's most influential communicators and is Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Time Warner Cable Inc., where she provides strategic counsel on companywide public relations, corporate communications and industry affairs. East oversees a staff responsible for national media relations, issues management, product communication, public policy communication, employee and leadership communication, community relations and corporate philanthropy.
East joined Time Warner Cable in October 2007 from Cox Communications Inc, where she served as Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. Prior to that, East was Assistant City Editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a reporter and editor at a number of daily newspapers.
As a direct report to Glen Britt, East is a leader in shaping Time Warner Cable's image as a newly independent company following its recent spinoff from Time Warner Inc. To ensure that the company's 47,000 employees are informed and engaged as the company faces unprecedented competition in a time of economic distress, she and her team launched a new intranet site, Channel You, that is a model of innovation and interactivity. She has also championed an increased focus on digital communications, recognizing the unprecedented influence of blogs, social media and other digital tools and their powerful ability to affect Time Warner Cable's and the cable industry's image. As she was at Cox Communications, she is an influential voice in employing strategic communications to help build the company's image and bolster its bottom line.
A senior-level communicator in the industry for nearly 20 years, East created a product PR function soon after Cox became a bundled service provider, recognizing early the critical role of PR in promoting services and helping build consumer buzz and loyalty. She spearheaded Cox's comprehensive “Take Charge” program, which focused on cable's proactive role in Internet safety and won the Golden Beacon Award in 2007.
East serves as Chair on the national board of directors for Women in Cable Telecommunications and co-chair of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Public Affairs committee, and is a past president of ACC, where she was an influential force in developing the association's first strategic plan. East has been the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the 2002 NCTA Vanguard Award for Young Leadership. East graduated from the University of Alabama in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in news-editorial journalism. She lives in Westport, Conn., with her husband, David, and two children, Kevin and Hannah.
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