Jennifer Mooney says her two greatest passions "are adult literacy and human relations/race relations" in her native city of Cincinnati. That commitment is most likely just one of the reasons the 40-year-old vice president of public affairs for Time Warner Cable's Cincinnati division is being honored with the Vanguard Award for government and community relations.
Mooney oversees all of the division's public affairs functions and serves as the co-general manager of the 350,000-subscriber operation. According to Mooney, Time Warner's Cincinnati division "was considered the worst cable division in the U.S." when she joined the company in January 1989. It was the site of Qube, an early attempt at interactive cable that was probably more interesting to the cable industry than to Cincinnati subscribers, and "its reputation was terrible," she says.
"I'm most proud of being part of the team that turned around the image. Now we're used all over the place as an example of how it's done right. Our thinking is very innovative. I feel proud that I work for a company now where our employees wear their T-shirts proudly in the grocery store and brag about who they work for. Our customers love us. I know what it felt like then and I know what it feels like now."
Turning around the company's image took longer than she expected. Mooney says that when she recently joked with her boss that the turnaround took eight years, not five, like he had told her, he said, "If I told you it would take eight, I don't think you would have taken the job."
The division's commitment to the community has helped the turnaround. Over the past 14 years, Time Warner's "Time to Read" program has been implemented in more than 35 locations in greater Cincinnati, with more that 8,000 area residents participating. "I feel very strongly," she says, "that while we distribute voice, video, and data, it's important that people read and be educated and literate. And that that be part of our mission."
Public service has been part of Mooney's entire adult life. After handling communications for the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, Mooney worked for Ohio Secretary of State Sherrod Brown (now a Democratic Congressman).
"I implemented statewide campaign finance reforms, voter registration and education programs," she says. "I learned just about every nook and cranny of government which was a great background for cable. And when I was recruited into my position with the then-Warner Cable, it was because I was so connected with local, county, state, and federal government."
Mooney loves her hometown and is deeply involved in the efforts to fix its problems. "To say there has been racial strife [in Cincinnati] is an understatement. I live in the city, and I've been very involved in leadership roles in working with community groups on dialog. Time Warner Cable did the world premiere of Unchained Memories: The Slave Narratives
for HBO. That was a fundraiser for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center." The center is scheduled to open in Cincinnati in August 2004.
She worked with the Freedom Center and different Time Warner corporate units (Little Brown, HBO, Warner Music Group, and Time Warner Cable) in developing and launching a multi-tier campaign for the show. And Mooney just completed her co-chairmanship of the Time Warner Cable national public affairs meeting.
The community has recognized her efforts. In 2003, she received the Post-Corbett Highest Achievement Award for Business Excellence—the highest award for the Cincinnati Division. Mooney's has also won The Barbara Bush Thousand Points of Light Award for Adult Literacy, The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission Mayor's Friendship Award, the Cincinnati Business Courier
40 Under 40 Award, the Cincinnati Museum Center Golden Spike Award, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music National Philanthropic Award, and she holds the highest honor from Speaking of Women's Health for her role in promoting better health in the community.
Mooney and her husband, Donald, received the highest honor from Services to Unite Mothers & Adolescents (SUMA) in 2001. They will receive the highest honor from The Jewish Federation on June 24. She has been presented with numerous business and community excellence honors for her division by the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association. Additionally, Mooney's division has received awards for its Web site, which she manages.
She has been very active in industry affairs, representing Time Warner Cable at the local, state, and national levels. She has been active with the Cable Television Public Affairs Association and served as a judge for that group's Beacon Awards numerous times (in addition to being the recipient of several Beacon Awards herself). She is a long-time NCTA key contact and has forged important relationships with many members of Congress. Mooney has been the Political Action Committee secretary for the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association for 10 years and is a graduate of the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.
Mooney represents Time Warner Cable on the boards of several Cincinnati institutions including the Cincinnati Museum Center, noncommercial WGUC(FM), Museum of Holocaust and Humanity/Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Friends and Contemporary Arts Center.
She is a graduate of Albion College in Albion, Mich., with degrees in journalism and geology and will receive her Master's Degree in industrial and organizational psychology at the end of this summer from the Vermont College of the Union Institute. Mooney says she decided to go for the graduate degree "because I became fascinated with organizational and industrial psychology. I realized—after working with organizational psychologists and being part of several leadership programs myself, including Betsy Magness—that this type of psychological intervention in an organization that teaches people to build on their strengths and focuses on the positive worked and made all the difference in terms of how the organization and individuals perform. I wanted to learn more and I'd always toyed with the idea of going back to school, but when I came across this area of study this was what really made sense to me."
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