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LEA Awards Set for 20th Anniversary Gala

The Southern California Chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications will be presenting its LEA Awards — for achievements in the areas of Leadership, Education and Advocacy — at a 20th anniversary gala this Thursday (Oct. 25) at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, hosted by Nicci Gilbert of TV One’s R&B Divas. Four outstanding individuals and a board member will be honored, also for their contributions to the telecommunications industry and support of WICT. Picked by a committee comprised of industry leaders, the 2012 LEA Award winners are:

Lifetime Achiever: Stacy Melle, vice president, marketing, NBCUniversal Content Distribution.

Advocate Leader: Emory Walton, VP, distribution field sales, A+E Networks.

Woman to Watch: Rachel Richman, point of sale manager, Showtime Networks.

Woman of the Year: Kelly Atkinson, chief marketing officer, West Region, Time Warner Cable.

Board Member of the Year: Kathryn Westphal, point of sale manager, Showtime Networks.

Stacy A. Melle

Stacy Melle is responsible for the creation and execution of marketing and media promotions for Universal Pictures and Focus Features content across digital platforms, including video-on-demand and electronic sell-through, including UltraViolet.

During her 14 years at NBCUniversal, she has worked on the marketing campaigns of such hit films as Snow White & the Huntsman, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Bridesmaids, Despicable Me, King Kong, and franchises including Meet the Parents, The Mummy, Fast and Furious, American Pie and the Bourne series.

Melle has played a key role in several strategic promotional partnerships, including the collaboration with Yellow Tail wine timed to the VOD release of Bridesmaids and the more recent Popcorn, Indiana partnership with Battleship.

Melle was vice president of worldwide marketing, PPV and VOD, until 2003, handling film and TV marketing and promotion across digital platforms for brands such as NBC, USA Network, Syfy and Bravo. She played an integral role in the launch of NBCUniversal content on Amazon, Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Apple iTunes. Earlier in her career, she was an affiliate relations manager at Viewer’s Choice (now In Demand) and a PPV manager at South Bay CableVision (InterMedia Partners).

Melle graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in television and a minor in Spanish. She lives in Stevenson Ranch, Calif., with her husband Kelly.

Emory R. Walton III

Emory Walton has been with A+E for more than 13 years, starting his career as an assistant in affiliate sales and then advancing to account representative, account manager and account director. In these roles, he managed sales and marketing, demographic research, and contributed to the launch strategy for History en Español, securing the network’s first carriage deal.

Walton now leads the West Coast distribution field-sales team, overseeing relationships with the top 10 MSOs at the local level. He also is responsible for developing and executing distribution strategies across an array of platforms for all of A+E Networks brands including, A&E, History, Lifetime, Bio, H2, Lifetime Movie Network, Military History Channel, Crime & Investigation, Lifetime Real Women, History en Español, HD, and VOD.

An active member of NAMIC since 1997, he served two terms as Southern California chapter president in 2006-2007, where he grew annual revenue and spearheaded NAMIC’s Vision Awards recognizing diversity in cable programming.

Walton received a bachelor’s communications studies with a specialization in business from UCLA. In 2010, he received an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University and was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business schools.

Rachel Richman

For nearly three years, Rachel Richman has worked in affiliate sales and marketing at Showtime Networks, beginning as a coordinator in 2009. In her current role as a pointof- sale manager, she works directly within her department and the DirecTV marketing group to develop strategies to grow subscribers and revenue for Showtime.

She also oversees the affiliate sales and marketing department’s year-long internship program. She finds her involvement in the program especially rewarding, as she has seen many former interns go on to achieve full-time positions in the entertainment industry.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara County, Richman received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA.

Prior to joining Showtime, she took a year to pursue her longtime dream of working in a French-style bakery. During her tenure at the renowned Renaud’s Patisserie in Santa Barbara, she successfully launched the bakery’s second location and learned the true art of the croissant.

Kelly Atkinson

Kelly Atkinson is responsible for marketing and sales efforts across the three former Time Warner Cable divisions of Midwest, Texas and California. These divisions comprise customers and prospects which deliver more than $8 billion in annual revenue.

She is responsible for positioning the Time Warner Cable brand, defining the marketing strategy for the MSO’s products and services, and overseeing customer-acquisition, customer-relationship, multicultural, product-marketing and sales initiatives for the West Region.

She came to the nation’s second-biggest cable operator in 2009 as vice president of marketing for New York City, where she was responsible for new subscriber acquisition growth and customer retention.

Atkinson’s prior experience came from the financial services industry, where she worked for almost 20 years. She held marketing positions at Discover Card Services and Citi North America, where she was most recently SVP of marketing strategy for the North American Private Label Card division, which delivered more than 45% of Citi Card’s annual revenue.

She is a graduate of Villanova University with degrees in business/communications and marketing.

Kathryn Westphal

In her three years at Showtime Networks, Kathryn Westphal has worked with the Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Hawaiian Telecom accounts. She feels honored to work at Showtime, with some of the greatest people in the industry.

Prior to Showtime, she was a regional sales manager at Lifetime Networks, where she managed accounts in the Midwest and Upper Western states. She loved working with her accounts and with wonderful coworkers at Lifetime.

Before joining the cable industry, Westphal spent seven years with EMI Music- Capitol Records in Chicago and Hollywood. She worked in digital sales at a time when the distribution, format and business models in music were dramatically changing. She says she truly enjoyed the experience of working in music and taking part in developing what felt like a “new business.”

Westphal earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration for marketing from the University of North Texas.