The economy and the state of the industry took a back seat to family matters as this year's Wonder Women took the stage last week in New York. Co-sponsored by Multichannel News and the New York chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications, the luncheon saluted 11 women in cable and telecommunications and attracted about 830 attendees to the ballroom at the New York Hilton.
In the baby department, a very pregnant Campbell Brown co-hosted the event, where Comcast honoree Jen Gaiski announced to the crowd that her own family was expanding now that she was 16 weeks pregnant. "With a baby boy, to round out the Gaiski tribe," which already includes a 2-year-old daughter, she said.
Time Warner Cable's Joan Gillman thanked her kids for teaching her that "perseverance has great rewards." Canoe Ventures' Vicki Lins quoted her 2-year-old's sage advice - "Happy Day, Mommy" - and her husband's advice, "Never miss a good opportunity to be quiet."
Univision's Alina Falcon credited her mother with being her greatest inspiration because "she chose not to teach me to cook." To which Falcon's longtime friend and colleague Maria Elena Salinas, who was also co-host, remarked: "I didn't learn how to cook either, but I learned how to bring home the bacon."
TLC's Eileen O'Neill fondly remembered her late dad, and how we once gave her a Hallmark card whose sentiment she found funny and profound: "Cover Yours, Kick Theirs."
Cox's Kathy Payne spoke of a blessed life, "until it seemed my luck had run out" and her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. But with the right care and a positive attitude, Payne was happy to say he was in a rehab hospital, well beyond the original forecast.
"In honor of my father and the quest for significance," Payne said, "carpe diem."
Fearnet's Diane Robina gave a shout out to the mother of them all, TV's Donna Reed, saying it was Reed and a case of the flu that launched her career. While watching Nick at Nite, Robina caught a spot for a TV trivia contest that she went on to win - the prize was a scheduling job at the network.
While no significant others took the stage, their presence was clearly felt. Showtime's Gwen Marcus beamed as she spoke of having married her partner of 26 years, A&E's Nancy Alpert, last fall. "Our industry values diversity," Marcus said. "Thank you for making us feel so welcome."
Perhaps the funniest family story was Marcus's account of how her mom, "in one of her less supportive moments," reacted to the styled photo that was projected as she took the podium.
"It's so glamorous," Marcus recalled her mother saying. "It looks nothing like you."
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