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Four Cable-Telecom Execs Named to 50 Most Powerful Women Listing

Four women from the cable and telecommunications industry have been named to Black Enterprise magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America list.

Scripps Networks Interactive’s Tamara Franklin, executive vice president, digital; Viacom’s Debra Lee, BET Networks chair and CEO; AT&T’s Cynthia Marshall, senior vice president, human resources; and Verizon’s Michelle A. Robinson, president, Southeast Region were selected based on their stature and influence within their organizations.

The women on the list are responsible for significant budgets and control subsidiaries, divisions, or departments that affect the fiscal health and direction of their businesses, Black Enterprise said. The magazine featured the women in its February cover story and this week is hosting the Women of Power summit in Orlando, Fla.

“The 50 women identified by Black Enterprise are among a select group of corporate leaders who continue to raise and shatter the glass ceiling,” the magazine said, citing a 2014 Center for American Progress study that found the percentage of women in top management positions and on corporate boards has stalled: Fewer than 9% of top managers are women, according to the study, and women of color hold only 11.9% of managerial and professional posts with just 5.3% of African American women in those positions.

“Our editorial team developed this list to not only celebrate the black female business elite, but to demonstrate that it requires unparalleled expertise and resilience to break through barriers that female executives continue to face today,” Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise, said.

Scripps’s Franklin, responsible for coordinating overall strategy and activity of the company’s digital business units, was promoted to her current position in January 2014 from senior vice president of affiliate operations and new media distribution. She joined Scripps in 2009 after serving as vice president of business development at Turner Broadcasting.

Viacom’s Lee, who emerged unscathed from Viacom’s recent corporate restructuring, is no stranger to listings honoring top business people. Earlier this year she was named to Billboard’s Power 100 list; she is a member of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame; and in 2003 received the Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership from the National Cable Television Association. She also was selected in 2011 by President Obama to serve on the President’s Management Advisory Board.

AT&T’s Marshall was president of AT&T North Carolina before moving into her current position. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role, having joined Pacific Bell in 1981 and holding a variety of positions in in operations, human resources, network engineering and planning, and regulatory/external affairs.

Verizon’s Robinson has held a number of positions in regulatory affairs, including executive director-regulatory affairs in California and, prior to that, director-regulatory affairs in the company's Southeast region. She was senior vice president of the Southern region before moving into her current role.