MCNWW 2004: Further Reflections on Wonder Women

The weather couldn’t have been lousier as 1,000-plus cable executives piled into Manhattan to attend the first patchwork quilt of events stitched together by several industry organizations to create cable’s first Spring Break.

Horowitz & Associates, Multichannel News, Cable Positive and Women in Cable and Telecommunications last year came up with a plan to coordinate their various events in the space of one week.

That spirit of cooperation lifted all boats. The Horowitz conference on multicultural marketing saw its attendance rise from last year. And our Wonder Women lunch (held with our partner, the New York chapter of WICT) attracted 1,100 attendees.

Likewise, Cable Positive president Steve Villano reported that his fundraising dinner, honoring Showtime president Matt Blank, set a record, both in attendance and money raised to fight the spread of AIDS in the workplace.

That winning spirit also boosted attendance at the annual national WICT Forum.

From this perch, I could not have been happier with our fourth annual Wonder Women luncheon. Our 13 honorees were smart, passionate, emotional and demonstrated what it takes to break through the glass ceiling.

At times, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, especially when Mediacom Communications Corp.’s Italia Commisso Weinand emotionally accepted her award, as a signer sat at a nearby table, translating her remarks so they wouldn’t be lost on her young, hearing-impaired son.

Just about all of our Wonder Women brought members of their family to this bash, and their collective message was loud and clear about the mandate to balance life and business.

This event captured just why the cable industry is so unique and special. Despite consolidation, the collegial spirit lives on. When Time Warner Cable’s Lynne Constantini accepted her awards, it was amazing to see her boss, Fred Dressler — one of the toughest negotiators in the business — crawl on the floor in the front of the ballroom to take photos of his protégé.

Over the years, many readers have asked me, just what does it takes to become a Wonder Woman?

The decisions are made solely by the editorial staff of Multichannel News. And I’m proud to say that this editorial team, collectively, has been covering the cable business for more than 125 years. So in the course of their reporting, they have developed the trust and built many relationships.

The MCN reporters and I make our recommendations and vigorously debate the merits of the candidates for about a month. It’s a passionate debate, and frankly, it’s one of the newspaper’s projects that juices me more than just about anything else I do here.

So tell us about your unsung heroes and help us select the next class of Wonder Women. I keep the ever-growing file, so keep those cards and e-mails coming.