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Public Affairs Achievement Awards

Dena Kaplan

Senior Vice President, Marketing, GSN. The Network for Games

Dena Kaplan’s innovative and effective marketing strategies have fueled GSN’s growth in distribution, brand loyalty, market share and public affairs. Recognized as a leader in the cable industry, Kaplan was inducted as a 2004 “Wonder Woman of Cable” by Multichannel News and WICT. She also has garnered a host of honors including Clio, Cannes Silver Lion, CTAM and PROMAX/BDA awards.

Kaplan’s accomplishments at the network are numerous since joining the company in 1996. Among her notable achievements, she led her marketing team through a successful rebranding campaign, turning Game Show Network into “GSN. The Network for Games” in March 2004.

She created a number of programs to increase viewer loyalty and viewership such as GSN Rewards, the first loyalty program of its kind launched by a network that offers viewers redeemable points good for discounts and exclusive offers on Sony products.

In 2003, Kaplan created GSN’s first public-affairs campaign, “The Get Schooled Games Tour,” a nationwide live mall touring show where contestants won college tuition. This affiliate public affairs program awarded over half of a million dollars to 60 citizens of varying ages in its three years of operation.

Based on the success of The Get Schooled Games Tour, Kaplan created an original public affairs initiative for the network in September 2006 called the “National Vocabulary Championship” (NVC). The NVC is a national competition for high school students that engages scholars in language arts and tests their vocabulary knowledge through a fun and dynamic vocabulary game. One top winner each year is awarded a free, four-year ride to college. In its inaugural year, over 30,000 students participated in the NVC program. Kaplan also produced the NVC’s accompanying PSA campaign “Win With Words.”

Kaplan has broadened her marketing skills into programming and serves as GSN’s executive producer of the April 1 special, Cat-Minster: CFA International Cat Show. She is producing the one-hour special on the National Vocabulary Championship, which is airing April 15 on GSN.

Kaplan is a member of CTAM, currently serves on the board of CTAM’s Summit Committee and is involved with PROMAX/BDA, Women in Cable & Telecommunications Association, Hollywood Radio & TV Society, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Cable Advertising Bureau, Cable in the Classroom and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Kaplan has been nominated as a “Woman to Watch” by The Hollywood Reporter in addition to her “Wonder Woman of Cable” award.

Suzee Smith-Everhard

Director, Community Relations & Televideo, Cox Arizona

Suzee Smith-Everhard has dedicated her entire 26-year career to the advancement of cable television in Arizona and along the way has pioneered many new initiatives that have greatly benefited the cable industry.

When public access was first initiated in Arizona, Smith-Everhard designed and managed the Public Access Program with 5 studio locations and public training. She was also active in the development of the Arizona Sports Programming Network (ASPN), the first cable sports network in Arizona.

In addition, Smith-Everhard took the lead in the development and leadership of Cox TeleVideo production facilities and staff for broadcast quality programming and production. In partnership with ad sales and TeleVideo, Smith-Everhard developed a business model for CoxTrons jumbo screens to be a focal point and on-site enhancement for large scale events including the FBR Open, the Cox Air Show Spectacular, Aerospace and Arizona Days, Fiesta Bowl Block Party and the Cox Communications Thunderbird Balloon Classic.

Smith-Everhard has developed several signature community and education events including Everyday Heroes, CoxTrons at the FBR Open and Cox Charities.

Everyday Heroes is a Cox Arizona signature education event recognizing students, teachers, administrators and coaches statewide for outstanding achievement on and off the field. Over $40,000 in cash scholarships and a variety of prizes are awarded each year.

The Cox corporate office relies on Smith-Everhard’s vision, creativity and attention to detail when it comes to the planning and execution of the Cox Senior Leadership conference for the general managers and vice presidents of all Cox systems across the country.

In addition to the conference, Smith-Everhard championed the Cox Learning and Information Channel (CLIC) for Cox Arizona, a channel dedicated to customer education to assist in the reduction of call volume in customer care, as well as a tool to use in education and sales.

She also helped to develop LINX, an employee channel launched in January 2005 and available in the homes of all Cox Arizona employees.

Smith-Everhard is a recent graduate from the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and serves as the Women in Cable Telecommunications chapter adviser.

She is also active in the Metro Phoenix Boys & Girls Club, the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Business and Education Coalition.

Lee Tenebruso

Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Education, Court TV

For more than four years, Lee Tenebruso has led Court TV’s award-winning public-affairs campaigns and education initiatives. From the development of the award-winning “Careers in Justice” and “In Pursuit of Justice” to the refining of the network’s flagship “Choices” initiative, Tenebruso has shown vision and leadership in each one of her contributions to the cable industry.

Through the network’s Choices initiative, Tenebruso has developed relationships with leading educators, parent groups and after-school program officers to extend the reach of the program from middle schools and high schools to colleges, after-school programs and in the home.

Along with the Boys & Girls Club of America and Comcast, Court TV partnered in a ribbon cutting ceremony event in Hartford, Conn., that brought the governor together with local troubled youth to inaugurate the opening of a BGCA juvenile detention facility for boys who have been convicted of criminal offenses.

Tenebruso received high praise from BGCA program officers who have cited the Choices initiative with having a positive impact on adolescent inmates in terms of helping them to choose nonviolent ways of dealing with issues and encouraging them to plan for their futures.

In 2005, Tenebruso oversaw the launch of Court TV’s Careers in Justice, an initiative that introduces at-risk high school students to the social and judicial issues that have transformed society and encourages students to stay in school and consider pursuing careers in justice and law enforcement. This program has brought important discussions to Capitol Hill, leading universities and major venues in markets across the country.

Prior to joining Court TV, Tenebruso served as vice president of marketing and communications for the national nonprofit organization, PowerUP: Bridging the Digital Divide, a division of the Stephen Case Foundation, which provided free computer technology and Internet services to underprivileged youth. Tenebruso was also employed at Showtime Networks for 17 years, holding senior level positions in national accounts, consumer and trade public relations and programming promotions.

An active member of the cable industry, Tenebruso serves as co-chair of the CTPAA Create Outreach Activities that Enhance the Membership Experience committee. She is also a member of WICT and CTAM.

Tenebruso volunteers her time to community and education projects as well, co-founding two corporate volunteer organizations, Showtime Cares and Court TV C.O.R.E.

John Wolfe

Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, Cox New England

As vice president of government and public affairs for Cox Communications’ New England operations, John Wolfe has developed relationships with legislators and regulators that allow the cable company’s position to be thoroughly heard.

Since joining Cox New England, Wolfe has been instrumental in several key developments related to regulatory changes.

Wolfe worked with Verizon Communications and the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities to ensure that regulatory changes related to the video marketplace were viewed on a level playing field.

He carved out remedies that would benefit Cox, such as the creation of an impartial third-party to oversee the public access operations in the state, preserving the viability of public access in a competitive video marketplace.

Wolfe demonstrated his tenacity and skill as a government relations professional last year by working with the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association (NECTA) to pass legislation that would allow apartment tenants in Rhode Island to select a provider of cable television, telephone, telecommunications or information services. At the time, the service provider was determined by the landlord.

With Wolfe’s help, a bill that was three years in the making opened up the opportunity for tremendous telephone growth for the cable company.

Wolfe and his team led an effort in 2006 to breathe new life into Cox New England’s local Political Action Committee (PAC) via employee contributions. With the support of an awareness campaign developed by Wolfe and his team, employee contributions grew 60% in 2006.

Prior to joining Cox, Wolfe was New England director of public affairs for Times Mirror Cable Television.Wolfe joined Times Mirror in 1991 from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, where he was director of public information and served as the industry association’s press spokesperson on public policy issues.

Prior to joining NCTA, Wolfe was managing editor and Washington bureau chief for CableVision magazine, and managing editor for Arlen Communications, a Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications publishing and consulting company.

Wolfe’s service to the cable industry extends beyond Cox New England. He is active in several industry organizations and is immediate past chairman of the board of directors for NECTA and treasurer of the trade group’s political action committees in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Wolfe also is a two-term past president of CTPAA.