Edo Branch Member SpotlightName: Edo Branch
Title: Continual Service Improvement Analyst
Company: Charter Communications
Role with The WICT Network: Midwest: Tech it Out Chair

What is the value of volunteering as a board member for The WICT Network: Midwest?

The value of volunteering as a WICT Board Member is having the ability to share the gifts and expertise that I normally do not share in my regular work. I have been a member of a sorority for the past 26 years, and one of the things that I valued the most is understanding not what the organization can do for me, but what I can do for the organization. This is a value that I carry as a Board Member within WICTMW as I share my gifts and expertise. I have a multitude of skills and talents, and while just sharing (one) and being an integral part of the vessel that contributes to the greater good that WICT provides, is rewarding.

Advice for member engagement:

Support, acknowledge, reward and network. The old saying goes, “There is no “i” in team.” No single person can be WICT alone, but a group of women with a common interest and goals of progression can move the world. WICT would not be where it is today, without its members. Supporting members, acknowledging members, rewarding members, and being a network that stretches very far, is the glue for engagement.

Get ready for an exciting Tech It Out event with inspiring speakers and networking opportunities. Don’t miss expert speakers on topics including technology awareness, understanding challenges, using technology tools, productivity and government updates.

When: Thursday, September 15

Time: 12:30pm – 4:30pm CDT

Where: In-person and live streaming options

Registration

St. Louis In-Person

Sioux Falls In-Person

Virtual

Emily Breedlove Hemingway

Emily Hemingway

Executive Director of TechSTL

Keynote: Emily Hemingway

Emily Hemingway transforms communities through entrepreneurship and innovation. With over 15 years experience, she is committed to fostering equitable economic opportunity across America by empowering regions through data-driven strategic planning, public-private partnerships, and leading-edge community advancement practices.

Having worked her way from coast to coast, Emily is an economic development powerhouse, award-winning event producer, business accelerator director, public relations specialist, and nationally recognized thought leader in entrepreneurial ecosystem design. A 6x tech founder, Emily currently serves as the Founding Executive Director of TechSTL, the first Tech Council of Greater St Louis.

Dr Brian Gant

Dr. Brian Gant

Assistant Professor Maryville University

Cybersecurity with Dr. Brian Gant

Dr. Brian Gant is the leading Cybersecurity Assistant Professor at Maryville University where he began his educational studies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems from Maryville University, a Master’s in Management, from Fontbonne University, a Master’s in Human Services from Capella University, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership, from Maryville University. His dissertation focused on “Cyberbullying in eSports: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach to Examining Student-Athlete and Administrator Perceptions.”

Dr. Gant has accumulated over 15 years in law enforcement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, addressing cyber, domestic terrorism, and public corruption. Dr. Gant also joined the ranks of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) as a Special Agent working on domestic and international assignments, including the protection of Former President Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as well as critical systems protection, and electronic/cyber-crimes.

Dr. Gant accepted an appointment to become a full-time Assistant Professor in 2020 at the Simon School of Business, Maryville University where he currently serves as Program Director for the undergraduate program. He is the father to his son (Tyler) and daughter (Dawson) who resides in St. Louis, Missouri with him.

Lee Friedman

Lee Friedman

VP & Deputy Chief, Federal Legislative Affairs at NCTA

Government Updates with Lee Friedman

Lee Friedman has spent over two decades working at the intersection of legislative advocacy, public policy development, political campaign management and strategic communications.
As a Vice President and Deputy Chief of Government Relations at NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, he has provided strategic advice on legislative tactics and messaging to Fortune 500 companies while helping them to accomplish their legislative goals.

In his 13 years at NCTA Lee has worked on policy issues as diverse as telecommunications, data security, privacy, tax, cybersecurity, education and financial regulatory reform, that impacted NCTA’s member companies at the federal, state and local level. As the lead Democrat lobbyist, he has a special focus on House Energy & Commerce and moderate members of the Caucus.

Lee has also managed relationships with key center-left third-party organizations and helped managed coalitions focused on tax and privacy issues.
Prior to his time at NCTA, Lee served as the National Political Director for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. During his six years with Leader Hoyer, Democrats grew their caucus by 51 seats and Hoyer rose from Whip to Leader. Prior to his time with Leader Hoyer, Lee managed political campaigns in Maryland. Lee is a graduate of Dickinson College. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife and three children.

Jeannie Thurston

Jeannie Thurston

Vice President of Marketing, Midco

Reimagining the Customer Journey with Jeannie Thurston

Jeannie Thurston is responsible for linking the company’s innovations, products and services to create brand awareness for Midco. She leads and guides teams executing integrated communications, marketing, digital and social impact strategies with a customer-centric approach to drive demand and loyalty for all business units and the company.

With almost 20 years of experience at Midco, Jeannie has worked in inbound sales, telecom support and creative services. She exemplifies Midco’s commitment to community having served as a volunteer coach for Embe’s Girls on the Run program and Big Sioux girls volleyball teams. Jeannie is a graduate of the prestigious Leadership Sioux Falls and Women in Cable Telecommunications Rising Leader programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a minor in business from South Dakota State University.

Charlotte Field

Charlotte Field

Charlotte Field is Senior Vice President – Application Platform Operations, Network Operations, Charter Communications

Charlotte Field

Charlotte leads six verticals and has responsibility for operations in the following areas: Service Delivery, Cloud Infrastructure and Operations, Operations Support Systems, Network Security, Operational Intelligence and APO Support and Implementation Centers across Charter.

Prior to her current position, Charlotte Field was the Senior Vice President – Infrastructure and Operations, National Engineering and Technical Operations at Comcast. Charlotte led a combined organization responsible for supporting the Comcast national infrastructure and operations for both the Enterprise and Customer Facing Networks/Products. Prior to the AT&T Broadband merger with Comcast, Charlotte was Senior Vice President for Technical and Network Operations Organization for AT&T Broadband. Charlotte previously held numerous technical and managerial assignments in AT&T Bell Laboratories, AT&T Long Lines and AT&T Communications. Her assignments included positions in engineering, operations, and systems development.

Charlotte graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. She received her Masters of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a focus in Finance. She is also a graduate of executive programs from INSEAD and Harvard Business School.

Charlotte is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi and Delta Mu Delta honor societies. She is an active member of the Michigan Technological University Presidential Council of Alumnae and also participated previously on the Michigan Technological University Engineering Advisory Board and the University of Colorado Engineering Advisory Board and ATLAS Board.. She is a member of Women in Cable and Telecommunications (WICT) and the Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE). In 2004, she was recognized by the Rocky Mountain WICT as a Walk of Fame Inductee. In 2005, she received the Women in Technology National Award and she was named a Wonder Woman by Multi-Channel News in 2008. In 2008, Charlotte was also named to the SCTE Board of Directors for a two-year term. Charlotte has been honored as a top woman in Technology by CableFAX multiple times. In 2010, Charlotte was named to the FCC Technical Advisory Council representing Comcast and the industry. She was also a member of the FCC CSRIC VI and was Chair of CSRIC VII.

Chasity Shahi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Chasity Shahi
Title: Sr. Mgr Enterprise Operations Support – Process Engineering
Company: Charter Communications

What is your professional passion?

Helping others grow and become successful in their roles.

What do you value most about your WICT Network Membership?

I love the WICT Network events that bring women together for networking and celebrating achievements.

What have you learned from serving on The WICT Network – Midwest Membership Committee?

A proactive outreach to renew existing members, and spreading the word to your coworkers for new member enrollment is essential to keeping the WICT Midwest Chapter growing and flourishing. The WICT Network is a wonderful program that provides its members with all kinds of resources for learning, development, and networking.

Tell us a little about yourself. Family, Hobbies, Favorite Vacation spot, etc.

I’m married to my college sweetheart, Prakash. We have two children: Priya, 16, and Cruz, 14. We enjoy traveling to new countries and experiencing different cultures. My most memorable vacation was the first time I travelled to a jungle resort in Nepal in 2002. I had “hands-on” playtime with an energetic, nine-day-old baby elephant while its mother calmly observed nearby.

Apply for The WICT Network: Midwest Chapter Leadership Conference Scholarship

The WICT Network: Midwest is proud to offer scholarships to WICT Global programs, including scholarships to the The WICT Network Leadership Conference. We invite eligible members to submit applications for this conference by June 17, 2022. Applicants should complete the application below. Applications will be randomly drawn by the Board. Applicants will be notified of the results of the scholarship recipient selection by June 24, 2022.

Download The WICT Network: Midwest Leadership Conference Application, complete the form, save it as a .pdf or .docx file, and attach to an email addressed to  WICTMidwest.BoardOperations@gmail.com.

Event Details

Location: New York City

Dates: October 9-11, 2022

Program Summary

The WICT Network Leadership Conference is the renowned leadership development event for the cable industry. Through inspiring keynote speakers and innovative workshops covering a variety of topics, as well as connecting with industry colleagues, attendees will be immersed in leadership activities that will help to impact their bottom line.

The conference will include:

  • One-on-one personal coaching sessions
  • Speed mentoring with industry executives
  • Interactive workshops on career growth, leadership development, personal growth, and more
  • Panel discussions on current hot topics in the industry

Learn more information on this year’s conference. 

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant is a female with primary membership in The WICT Network: Midwest
  • Applicant is in a role serving the cable telecommunications industry
  • Applicant has manager’s approval to participate in the program
  • Applicant has not received a scholarship from The WICT Network: Midwest in the prior two calendar years
  • Applicant agrees to volunteer for at least one The WICT Network: Midwest event within the next 12 months, which may include in person or remote committee planning
  • Applicant will write an article and share quotes on their experience for use by The WICT Network: Midwest on the website/newsletter/social media, etc.

Scholarship Coverage

  • Registration fee: $1895
  • Travel including flight and hotel

This award recognizes an industry woman, considered a newcomer to the industry, who has demonstrated her own personal leadership style and has become accomplished in both her job and in her working knowledge of the cable and/or telecommunications industry. Nominees must exhibit the Touchstones of Leadership and meet one of the following requirements: have been in the industry less than five years, recently changed career paths in the past two years or received a promotion within the last year to the manager level.

Congratulations, Anna Jankord!

Anna Jankord

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna is passionate about creating and facilitating exceptional learning and leadership development opportunities that create a sense of belonging and purpose for those she impacts. With nearly 15 years of leadership education and training experience, Anna now lives her passion at Midco as the Operations Training Manager. In her role, she oversees a team of Trainers and Training Coordinators who collaborate across boundaries and build team member talent through an autonomous learning strategy. She leads her team in developing unique self-paced, digital training environments that create resource experts across a variety of Midco’s departments. She enthusiastically facilitates Midco’s orientation and onboarding program called myStart/myJourney as well as serves on Midco’s Women’s Leadership Program planning committee.

Anna received her bachelor’s degree in Corporate Environmental Management with an emphasis in Leadership from the University of Minnesota. She received her master’s degree in Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Prior to starting at Midco, Anna was the Director of Student Group Operations and Leadership Minor Instructor at the University of Minnesota. Her passion for leadership education transcended state boundaries when she moved home to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she served as Recruitment and Outreach Specialist at the University of South Dakota.

Anna has been a member of The WICT Network since 2019. In 2020, Anna graduated from the Premier Management Development Series and has volunteered in several roles since then. She currently serves as The WICT Network: Midwest Social Media Chair.

Outside of work, Anna is actively involved in her community and has held leadership roles in a number of organizations. Anna is currently the Chair of the Sioux Empire United Way Emerging Leaders Program, Steering Committee Member of the Great Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network, and serves on her sororities 150th Anniversary Celebration planning committee.

The most important role of all is mom. Anna and her husband, Brad, live in Sioux Falls with their 5-year-old daughter, Grace, and 2-year-old son, James.

What her nominators have to say about Anna

Chris Garhart
Director of Operations Training, Midco

“Anna has a great deal of self-awareness; she understands when she needs help and when to take risks. When faced with a challenge she will seek understanding from the employee, her manager, or a peer to insure we reach the best solution. She is not afraid to share ideas or have a challenging conversation.”

Lisa Rahja
Training Coordinator, Midco

“Anna is living the WICT Touchstones of Leadership in her daily actions. She is truly a role model for her team and others at Midco. She has earned this award because she was completely new to the telecommunications industry but didn’t hesitate to make a huge impact that positively changed the way Midco trains employees. We would not be as successful today without the Autonomous Learning program that Anna lead.”

This award recognizes an industry woman serving in a technical position who has contributed significantly to her organization as well as the cable and telecommunications industry.  In addition to her technical expertise, she is a valued team member who is committed to supporting and motivating others. Nominees must exhibit the Touchstones of Leadership, have been in the industry for at least five years and hold a management or leadership position within their organization.

Congratulations, Esperanza Hunter!

Esperanza Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esperanza has been an active WICT member since 2018, started volunteering right away and became part of The WICT Network, Midwest chapter board in 2019. She has worn multiple hats; started as the Marketing Technology chair and was crucial driving and delivering the new website. In 2022, Esperanza became the Director of Programming, and is working on bringing new and exciting events to our chapter’s schedule. Esperanza also leads the program delivery teams on behalf of IT Infrastructure for Charter’s many IT initiatives. She is responsible for directing technical project management, budget management, and other initiatives across several hundred active projects at any one time. She works with all other business units across Charter’s vast enterprise to ensure that each team’s IT needs are met, including Spectrum Enterprise, Spectrum Mobile, Marketing, Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, and many others.

Esperanza has been in the technology field for over 25 years, including roles overseas. She speaks multiple languages and holds her Master of Business Administration, Master of Project Management, and other graduate certificates. She is currently pursuing a master’s certificate in data analytics and business intelligence from Penn State University.

What her nominators have to say about Esperanza

Jim Keller
Sr. Director, IT, Charter Communications

“Esperanza’s leadership style brings forward the best in her and others. She is very self-aware and works with me every year to identify areas of improvement to help her become more accomplished personally. She is an excellent communicator and listens more than she speaks. She is truly an active listener, looking for understanding in the communications of others before she responds. Her desire is to understand first, then try to find the appropriate manner and time to respond. She is definitely fearless, he personality is very outgoing and demonstrative. She embraces change and growth in a way that inspires others to act. She is that catalyst that helps to usher in change, but she is also that calm, assertive person who helps to keep it going until it take root and becomes the norm. She puts the organization and her team before herself and is always leading from the front no matter cause.”

Patrick Hunter
Sr. Director, IT Systems Operation Center – Network/Security/Transport, Charter Communications

“Esperanza is a success story worth telling. She has overcome many challenges to reach the heights to which she has ascended in her field. She is regularly recognized by executive leadership as a “go-to” person; someone who will “get the job done.” But she has never done that at the expense of anyone else nor her own principles. Rather, she is the embodiment of the Touchstones in every meaningful way, as described above. She is one of the very few truly genuine “givers” I’ve ever known and I’m proud to have been associated with her through the work we’ve done together at Charter these last few years. Her future is bright and I believe an award like this is as deserved for her as it has been for anyone before.”

This award recognizes an industry woman who has made significant contributions to the cable and telecommunications industry throughout her career, serves as a mentor and role model for others, exhibits leadership qualities that have made a difference in her organization, is a risk taker and a groundbreaker, and inspires others.  This woman is highly regarded by her peers and teammates for career accomplishments and quality of work-life balance.

Eligibility:

  • Recipient will have been in the industry for at least ten years.
  • Holds a management/leadership position within her organization.
  • Must exhibit the Touchstones of Leadership – Know Yourself, Communicate, Listen, Be a Catalyst, Be Fearless, and Inspire.

Congratulations, Patsy Baldes!

Patsy Baldes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patsy Baldes has been with Charter Communications since 2002 and currently serves as Group Vice President of External Reporting and Accounting Policy. In this role, Patsy oversees the preparation of external financial reports, consolidation of financial information and partners with management on the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR). She also partners with the programming acquisition group to review contracts and apply appropriate GAAP to transactions with cable networks and broadcasters and oversees the accounting and processing of payments for programming contracts.

Patsy began her career in 1994 in public accounting with Arthur Andersen LLP where she served in the audit practice with a focus on public companies in the telecommunications and manufacturing industries. Patsy is a CPA and earned her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Illinois-Urbana.

Patsy is very involved with and serves on the board of directors of St. Francis Community Services, an organization that helps thousands of poor and vulnerable individuals each year in the St. Louis, Missouri area. She lives in Florissant, Missouri with her husband, Dale, her four children, Garrett, Gavin, Jacob and Rachel and two cats. She is frequently found poolside watching her kids swim or play water polo.

What her nominator has to say about Patsy

Lisa Neuwirth
Sr. Dir. ERP Strategic Readiness Charter Communications

“Patsy is a true leader. She has a desire to learn, to engage in new and challenging experiences and welcomes feedback. She recognizes the power others have in her life. She exerts influence and shares back what she has learned from people and experiences to help others develop and grow. She is bold, but not selfish. She knows who she is and uses her resources to easily navigate uncertain situations. She is collaborative, action-oriented and leads by example.”

This award recognizes an individual who has shown exemplary volunteer support for The WICT Network: Midwest.  This leader should show dedication to volunteering/serving to help grow the Midwest Chapter and inspire others in the community. Nominees must exhibit the Touchstones of Leadership and have been in the industry for at least three years.

Congratulations, Marcy Bursac!

Marcy Bursac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empathetic and real, Marcy Bursac is one of those people who has an infectious, positive outlook. She joined the telecommunications industry after over a decade of nonprofit philanthropy work.

In 2021 Marcy eagerly stepped in as interim chair of the WICT Midwest Mentoring Program having found value in the program as a mentee herself. Through her service to the chapter, Marcy grew the chapter’s Mentor Program by 27% and helped earn our chapter 2nd place in Mentoring Excellence among all WICT chapters. Her strategy was based on research that men mentoring women provides women with greater access to information and broader networks. 

Making an impact is a common aspect of her personal life, too. Wanting to mentor others through the foster care adoption process, she used a stimulus payment during the pandemic to self-publish a book for adults “The Forgotten Adoption Option: A How-To and Self-Reflection Guide for Pursuing Foster Care Adoption” and then launched the “Forgotten Adoption Option Podcast.” Most recently, she has been crowned United States of America’s Mrs. Ohio for her foster care adoption advocacy work on behalf of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption which is based in Ohio. Just this month, National Foster Care Month, Marcy published a book for children of all ages “Are You a Forever Family?” in an effort to recruit more forever families for remaining 115,000 U.S. children who are waiting in foster care. 

By day you can find Marcy helping to develop a user-centered intranet in her role on the internal communications technology team at Charter Communications which is a daily resource for the company’s 93,000+ employees.

What her nominators have to say about Marcy

Esperanza Hunter
IT Director, Charter Communications

“Marcy has shown exemplary volunteer support by stepping in to fill a role when the opportunity arose. She did not step in to simply maintain the program, she came with fresh ideas and a growth-mindset. She evaluated the program format and reduced the time commitment to accommodate to the efficiency of video meetings. She also leveraged the ability to pair mentors and mentees from different cities and states because the landscape of virtual communication tools lends itself to this format. Her dedication to volunteering and serving our chapter are apparent with her successful PMDS recruitment efforts for 2021 and her prior service helping with membership recruitment under the leadership of Jennifer Petrarca.”

Anna Jankord
Operations Training Manager, Midco

“Marcy is a force for good – and not just within her company, the industry, The WICT Network but also her passion for child adoption and her own adopted children. I met Marcy through our PMDS cohort and our relationship blossomed through her generosity of words, kindness in the face of vulnerability and the sheer enjoyment I get from her inspirational personality. Marcy served as The WICT Network: Midwest Mentor Program Chair and took the program to the next level. She understands how to connect with individuals on a large scale – she is great with words, an intentional and influential leader, and exudes passion that is contagious.”

Learn how to discern the difference between being busy and being intentional with your time. From personal experience, Marcy shares her method of defining and achieving small, meaningful goals so that you can live your life on purpose.

  • Paradigm Shift – Busy to Intentional
  • Short Seasons vs. Long Term Commitments
  • Visioning
  • Saying No
  • Exercise / Activity

About our Speaker: Mary Bursac

People-centered and brazen, Marcy Bursac is one of those people who has an infectious, positive outlook. She joined Charter Communications after over a decade in nonprofit philanthropy work.

While remote homeschooling her children during the pandemic, Marcy began to see a gap between adults with the desire to adopt and the 115,000 adoptable children within the U.S. With a heart for those children, and a deep desire to take action, Marcy wrote a book, “The Forgotten Adoption Option: A How-To and Self-Reflection Guide for Pursuing Foster Care Adoption” and launched the “Forgotten Adoption Option Podcast.”

After placing in the top 16 at the United States of America’s Mrs. pageant and winning the People’s Choice Award, Marcy is publishing a children’s book, “Are You a Forever Family?” and finishing up an app (The Forgotten Adoption Option app) to recruit 25,000 adoptive families.

Each year, The WICT Network: Midwest recognizes four outstanding chapter members who have made an extraordinary contribution to our industry through volunteerism, technology, and leadership. Congratulations to our 2021 award honorees. You should be proud of your accomplishments.

Chapter Volunteer of the Year

This award recognizes an individual who has shown exemplary volunteer support for The WICT: Midwest in 2020.  This leader should show dedication to volunteering/serving to help grow the Midwest Chapter and inspire others in the community.

Wendy Thebeau
Program Manager, Charter Communications

Wendy Thebeau

Nominated by: Ian Poertner
Sr. Director, Charter Communications

How does the nominee fits each of the desired qualifications and eligibilities listed for the award?

Wendy has been in the industry for a number of years, but I am not sure how many. While not in a position of leadership by title, she has lead the Women in Technology committee for Charter and done an amazing job of regularly putting together quarterly presentations for members that have added a lot of value to a large number of people.

How does the nominee exhibit The WICT Network Touchstones of Leadership? (Know Yourself. Communicate. Listen. Be a Catalyst. Be Fearless. Inspire.)

Wendy leverages other members of the Women in Technology committee to support her in areas where she feels she has gaps in her own ability. She is honest and up front about that. She manages to work with each team member to support meeting goals in a timely while understanding and responding to roadblocks they may encounter. She also pushes team members to get engaged in areas they may not feel comfortable in while leading by example tackling items she herself considers her own areas to improve.

How has the nominee has made a meaningful contribution to the cable telecommunications industry?

Wendy has been leading the Women in Technology committee to regularly pull together presentations on topics affecting women in the industry such as how to lead, leading versus managing, and how to cope with working from home during challenging times.

Why do you believe the nominee has earned the award you are nominating them for?

Wendy really works hard to support women in technology with little to no thanks, certainly no financial gain, and minimal impact to her career advancement.

 


Woman in Technology

This award recognizes an industry woman serving in a technical position who has contributed significantly to her organization as well as the cable and telecommunications industry.  In addition to her technical expertise, she is a valued team member who is committed to supporting and motivating others.

Tara Mueller
Web Applications Manager, Midco

Tara MuellerNominated by: Amanda Potter
Social Media Manager, Midco

How does the nominee fits each of the desired qualifications and eligibilities listed for the award?

Tara has worked for Midco as the Web Applications Manager for six years. In this role, she oversees Midco’s residential, business and Midco Sports websites, the company’s intranet, and Midco’s mobile app strategy and development.

How does the nominee exhibit The WICT Network Touchstones of Leadership? (Know Yourself. Communicate. Listen. Be a Catalyst. Be Fearless. Inspire.)

Tara leads a small but mighty team of software developers who are responsible for the website experience for the approximately 9,000 daily visitors. She has to listen to and communicate with diverse stakeholders companywide, as well as vendors, in order to keep major projects moving forward – as well as maintain day-to-day operations! She is unafraid to make recommendations to leadership about technologies and practices we need to employ. At the same time, she welcomes and encourages everyone’s ideas. She leads innovative projects that make big differences externally and internally – for example, creating and implementing a single sign-on API for customers across multiple Midco systems to streamline and improve customer experience. She has also been a catalyst for adding customer response channels so that customers can reach support using their preferred method – such as web chat, SMS, or Apple Business Chat. Finally, Tara oversees a diverse group of developers, and inspires them to be a connected, cohesive, innovative team that truly cares about one another – as well as the work they do.

How has the nominee has made a meaningful contribution to the cable telecommunications industry?

Tara’s commitment to Midco’s customers and to finding a way to improve, upgrade, and streamline systems has brought Midco’s user experience into the 21st century. Thanks to the work of Tara and her team, Midco’s customers can do everything from sign up for services to get support with the click of a button or tap on a smartphone screen.

Why do you believe the nominee has earned the award you are nominating them for?

Tara’s can-do spirit, fearless leadership, and passion for innovation has made a big difference for Midco, our customers, and beyond. At a time when the digital user experience is becoming more and more important, Tara has streamlined and improved user experience both internally and externally – helping Midco provide vital services to our customers.

 


Rising Leader Award

This award recognizes an industry woman, considered a newcomer to the industry, who has demonstrated her own personal leadership style and has become accomplished in both her job and in her working knowledge of the cable and/or telecommunications industry.

Eligibility:

  • Must exhibit the Touchstones of Leadership – Know Yourself, Communicate, Listen, Be a Catalyst, Be Fearless, and Inspire.

and meet one of the following:

  • Recipient will have been in the industry for less than five years.

-OR-

  • Changed career paths/business fields within the past two years (e.g. from marketing to operations).

-OR-

  • Received a promotion within the last year to the manager level.

 

Melissa Wolf
Government Relations Manager, Midco

Melissa WolfNominated by: Andrew Curly
Director of Government Relations, Midco

How does the nominee fits each of the desired qualifications and eligibilities listed for the award?

Melissa has been in the industry for less than 2 years.

How does the nominee exhibit The WICT Network Touchstones of Leadership? (Know Yourself. Communicate. Listen. Be a Catalyst. Be Fearless. Inspire.)

Melissa truly exhibits all of the Touchstones of Leadership. Two Touchstones stand out, in particular: Connect and Be Fearless. She has developed tremendous connections within Midco, across multiple departments, in her 18 months with the company. This is particularly impressive considering for all but 1 month of her tenure she has been working remotely due to the pandemic. In addition, Melissa has gone above and beyond to connect with others across our industry. She has developed a great working relationship with our industry government relations partners involved with MCCA and was eager to join and get involved with The WICT Network as soon as the opportunity was presented. Melissa has also been Fearless in her time with Midco. She came to Midco with a great background in government and politics, but had no experience in the telecommunications industry. In an unprecedented time for our industry’s involvement with government initiatives, Melissa has taken the bull by the horns and become an invaluable leader for Midco, far exceeding the goals and expectations set out for her. Midco is has been very active growing our footprint in Minnesota, with both private capital investments and public-private partnerships. Melissa has been placed at the forefront of these efforts given the required coordination with state and local governments. She has led these endeavors with poise and determination.

How has the nominee has made a meaningful contribution to the cable telecommunications industry?

Melissa has worked diligently with our industry partners to represent both Midco and the entire industry well within the State Capitol in Minnesota. When a Senate Committee hearing on rural broadband deployment in Minnesota was convened, they sought a testifier to offer a providers perspective. Despite being in the industry less than a year, Melissa stepped up to testify and her presentation was met with rave reviews within Midco, within the industry, and by our legislative allies. She communicated the Midco story, specifically, and industry story, generally, with great ease, as if she had been representing our industry for years, not months. Our industry can face scrutiny at times from government officials and telling our story as well as Melissa did goes a long way toward developing and maintaining a positive image with these officials.

Why do you believe the nominee has earned the award you are nominating them for?

The very phrase “Rising Leader” perfectly describes Melissa and how she is viewed at Midco. In a very short time, she has gone from a new team member to a trusted leader, taking on several important initiatives for the company. She has already accomplished a lot in her time in our industry, including representing Midco well during legislative session and successfully navigating the franchising process for dozens of greenfield expansions Midco is pursuing in Minnesota. She has an extremely bright future ahead of her as she continues to grow and lead.

 


Spirit of the Midwest

This award recognizes an industry woman who has made significant contributions to the cable and telecommunications industry throughout her career, serves as a mentor and role model for others, exhibits leadership qualities that have made a difference in her organization, is a risk taker and a groundbreaker, and inspires others.  This woman is highly regarded by her peers and teammates for career accomplishments and quality of work-life balance.

Maryann Eastman
Director, NOC Metrics & Reporting, Charter Communications

Maryann EastmanNominated by: Karen Zumwalt
Sr. Manager, Network Operations, Charter Communications

How does the nominee fits each of the desired qualifications and eligibilities listed for the award?

Maryann has held numerous positions within several different telecommunications companies for over 15 years. Maryann is currently a Director of NOC Metrics and Reporting for Charter Communications. Maryann has the touchstones hanging in her office, and lives each one in her daily work life, and personal life.

How does the nominee exhibit The WICT Network Touchstones of Leadership? (Know Yourself. Communicate. Listen. Be a Catalyst. Be Fearless. Inspire.)

Maryann embraces The WICT Network Touchstones and demonstrates them in her daily interactions with team members, peers, and leadership. Maryann shows the KNOW YOURSELF touchstone by allowing others to see that she is strong, capable, and knows where she wants to go in the future. She is always looking at opportunities for professional and person growth. Maryann has an exceptional ability to COMMUNICATE, and does so with individual contributors to CEOs with skill and style. By using the LISTEN touchstone, she has an increased perception of others and is able to use those observations to CONNECT in ways that not everyone can accomplish. Maryann is a CATALYST for change and improvement in processes regarding her team, the department, the organization, and the industry. By her ability to BE FEARLESS, Maryann has led initiatives to launch several new programs and metrics for performance measurement to push for the success of the organization. Maryann definitely knows how to INSPIRE those around her to push for better opportunities and ways to improve, and is a constant supporter of women in the telecommunications industry.

How has the nominee has made a meaningful contribution to the cable telecommunications industry?

Through Maryann’s efforts at Charter, the way NOC performance is measured and reported has made a huge difference and has opened doors and the eyes of leadership to opportunities for improvement that were hidden or missed in the past. She is also showing executive leadership the value and benefit of strong analytics and what a difference they can make to the bottom line.

Why do you believe the nominee has earned the award you are nominating them for?

I believe that Maryann embraces The WICT Network in her daily actions, applications of the touchstones, and her drive for success. She is paving the way for future generations of women to come into this industry and be bold enough to make a difference.