The Wonder Women Luncheon honors 17 accomplished and influential women from the media industry. In addition, they recognize 12 “Women to Watch” and this year introduced the “Woman of Influence” award.
The honorees were from cable networks, cable operators and media companies. The speeches were brief and many of the same themes came up: perseverance, risk, collaboration, asking for what you want, work ethic and perseverance (to name a few!). These women were transparent and often noted mistakes along the way: message there was of course to learn from your mistakes and adjust accordingly. Many of these women noted that the support from parents, spouses, children, staff and mentors was instrumental in the success. For me, one speech was better than the next and these women demonstrate that there is no direct path to what one defines as success, the path can often be windy, but for women who want to make a difference, the opportunities are endless! I am so thankful to have attended this-well worth the time and effort! Thank you to the WICT Philadelphia Board!
Event Recap by Mary Eldridge
On Thursday, March 23rd I had the pleasure of traveling to New York City on behalf of WICT Philadelphia to attend the Multichannel News Wonder Woman luncheon. As a scholarship recipient, WICT Philadelphia provided me and several others the opportunity to see successful women from across the industry get recognized for their professional accomplishments.
Each woman spoke of their personal achievements in a way that recognized the mentors, family and friends that helped them achieve their goals. In turn, each Wonder Woman is committed to developing future generations of female leaders. It was a great day!
Event Recap by Mindy Yablonski
What Qualifies a Woman to be a “Wonder Woman”?
“Describe what you feel makes a woman qualified to be a ‘Wonder Woman,’” prompted the first question on the WICT Wonder Women Awards Scholarship Application. I perused the elite and influential class of women being awarded this year: Myrna Soto, SVP and Global Chief Information Security Officer at Comcast; Laura Gentile, SVP of ESPNW and Women’s Initiatives; Lesley Stahl, CBS News Correspondent; Sandra Dewey, President of TNT and TBS Productions and Business Affairs; Jaime Power, Managing Partner of Modi Media, just to name a few. With such incredibly inspiring and well-known women at the conference, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try for a scholarship, and I’m so glad I didn’t because it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended!
Held at the Hilton in New York City on March 23, 2017, the Wonder Woman Awards started with a one-hour networking session followed by a two-hour awards ceremony. The lobby was set up with registration, a cocktail bar, and an auction, all in conjunction creating an environment conducive to having participants mingle naturally. Inside the main hall, two tables of six award recipients were seated on the stage, and with lunch dishes already placed at our tables, the luncheon officially began.
Alisyn Camerota, Co-Anchor of “CNN New Day” and Rosanna Scotto, Anchor of Fox’s “Good Day New York,” co-hosts of the event, announced and presented each award. Upon accepting the award, each award recipient shared her personal story of how she got to where she was in her career. I noticed a common thread in almost all the women’s stories in that they acknowledged being in the presence of another strong woman in their lives: a mother, grandmother or aunt. While carrying a similarly thankful tone, each speech was unequivocally unique. When the radiant Jaime Power took the stage, to my surprise, she admitted that she was more of an introvert and shy at public speaking. The confidence in her voice about how she and two other people started Modi Media in 2014 would have never let on that she was not a natural public speaker. Another awardee, Myrna Soto, recalled the unconventional path she took from being an Organizational Psychology major in college to now leading information and cyber security at Comcast. Hearing the different backgrounds, career paths and success stories of each woman reaffirmed to me that there are multiple characteristics that qualify women to be “Wonder Woman” – vision, hard work, leadership, determination, vigor and the support of strong mentors all combined create the perfect recipe for a Wonder Woman.
Event Recap by Nidhi Desai
The morning of the 2017 Multichannel Wonder Women awards, I noticed a photo partially hidden by a magnet on my refrigerator of me as a young girl in my favorite superwoman pajamas. I never thought much about this photo before other than it was my favorite, but the irony on this day made me smile.
It’s not every day that you get to meet a real life superhero. Today my inner little girl was beaming with excitement. I hopped the train to NYC and a short cab ride later was in a room with 12 real life superhero, wonder women. I thought to myself, how lucky am I?
This world of powerhouse women is one I’m not familiar with. Growing up with 3 older brothers, most of my childhood was spent trying to prove that I too could “play with the boys”. My mother tried to put me in dresses and dance class but quickly learned that I preferred shorts and sneakers, and at recess you would find me playing football or soccer. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come home at dinner time covered in grass stains. As I got older, I struggled with balancing that outspoken inner tomboy with the sweet “people pleaser” girl I felt I needed to be. I became afraid to raise my hand or speak up for fear of what others would think, and the thought of making a mistake was simply unbearable. Self-doubt consumed me and I know that questioning my abilities held me back from reaching my full potential. It wasn’t until I started my career at Comcast and was encouraged to join WICT that I finally felt like I found my place. It was there I met other ambitious and driven women working towards leadership that I could relate and look up to for guidance and encouragement.
As I sat in this beautiful ballroom listening to each of these wonder women and their stories I realize I am exactly where I need to be. Suzanne McAvoy spoke about celebrating mistakes as much as successes. She shared some of the mistakes she made in her career and what she learned from making them. She encouraged us to not be afraid, to have a voice and ask questions and that being silent will never allow you to be heard. I find comfort and hope in knowing that she was once in the very seat that I am and simply put, this is inspiring. There is something to be said and more importantly, celebrated, about women who successfully lead with poise and grace and are also willing to share with us how they got there. These incredible women uplift us all and pave the way for future generations of women leaders.
As I arrived home that evening, I again glanced at the photo of the little girl in the superwoman pajamas but this time I looked at the photo a little differently. This time I couldn’t help but think that just maybe I’m not so far off from being a superhero, wonder woman myself.
Event Recap by Nikki Suarez
The importance of supportive families was a consistent theme at the 2017 WonderWomen luncheon in NYC on March 23. Twelve extraordinary women shared their extraordinary experiences, including their challenges, opportunities, and the people who influenced their lives.
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan of Univision Communications Inc. shared how each of the previous four generations of Latino WonderWomen in her family shaped the next.
The unconventional career path of Myrna Soto, Comcast Corporation, took her from Psychology to cyber security. She stressed the value of taking risks as well as the importance of the support of those close to her.
Christina Spade, Showtime Networks, Inc. typically doesn’t look into the past, but rather advised we should stay in the present and make the best of what we are given. One of the keys to Christina’s success and a tip that she shared is to go to where you like the people.
Lisa Williams-Fauntroy, Discovery Communications, likes to talk and to write. These passions coincided and led to her career. She thrived through the support of mentors, both inside and outside of the company. Just as mentors poured into her, she feels it’s important to create opportunities and paths for future WonderWomen. She credits her Dad’s hard work and sacrifices which led to many of her successes. She is grateful to those who have paved the way and emphasized that it takes hard work and sacrifice. WonderWomen don’t walk away!
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear these extraordinary women. Although extraordinary, it struck me that these are women with ordinary struggles. It’s how they dealt with these struggles that propelled them forward, such as learning from mistakes instead of running from them. Just as they were inspired by previous generations, they are devoted to inspiring the next. Most inspirational to me, as a women pushing forward in career and life, I am not alone.
Event Recap by Pam Nobles
I was really grateful to have the opportunity of attending the 19th annual Multichannel Wonder Women’s luncheon. I arrived around 10 am and registration promptly opened at 10:30. I was able to mingle with other WICT board members while we waiting for the ballroom to open up. Once the ballroom opened up at noon, we went to our assigned tables which was already served with lunch (quinoa salad, chicken, fresh fruit, chocolate cake, iced tea). While we ate lunch, we were able to hear the inspirational speeches from each of the Wonder Women. Each woman talked about their experiences of holding a senior leadership position at their company. All these women were hard-working, inspirational and offered a different perspective on what it took to get to where they are. They each mentioned they have family and friends who support their career and that their children inspire them to work harder each day as they would like to set a good example for them. One of the women, Jamie Power (Managing Partner at MODI Media), stood out to me as I felt that I could really relate to her. She mentioned she was a very shy person growing up and was mainly on the sidelines observing her surroundings. As she worked her way up in her career she was able to embrace herself, vocalize her opinion, and have others value what she can offer. This was very inspirational for me as I grew up with a similar personality and it was encouraging to hear her words of advice and personal experiences. Overall, the event was well organized, inspirational, and a great opportunity to meet others.
Event Recap by Sapna Patil