The WICT Network: Midwest is offering a Speakership Fundamentals program in partnership with the Master Speaker Lab. Members will have the opportunity to revive you’re their confidence in public speaking basics, while sharpening skills in body language literacy, speaking anxiety management— and efficient presentation strategies.

Participants reported a self-assessment growth of over 40% in:

  • Body Language & Delivery
  • Communication Mindset
  • Presentation preparation
  • Effective public speaking on the spot

Will This Benefit?

  • Team members: those who innovate, solve problems, collaborate with others and present their ideas
  • “Sudden Leaders”: individuals with specialized experience in one area, that now need to lead teams and face stakeholders
  • Established Leaders: speakers that need strategies to share their vision and inspire a call to action in their teams

Program Objectives:

  • Create action plan to manage nerves & anxiety
  • Build connections to novices and experts
  • Learning how to navigate surprises, pivots, and friction
  • Display confidence and leadership
  • Produce memorable presentations


  • Friday, January 20 – Friday, March 3, 2023
  • 9:30 – 11:00 am CT
  • Price: $1,100

To apply for The WICT Network: Midwest Speakership Fundamentals program, please complete the following application. Participants must obtain approval from their manager to attend the program. There is an acknowledgement on the application that indicates manager approval. Announcement of applicant approvals will be sent the week of January 16th. The WICT Network Speakership Fundamentals program fee is due upon the applicants’ acknowledgement of acceptance into the program.

Kristina GustafsonName: Kristina Gustafson
Title: Senior Director of Portfolio Management for Agent Tools, Charter Communications

Company: Charter Communications
Role with The WICT Network: Midwest: Director of Membership

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

I enjoy having a direct influence on the WICT Network Midwest member experience as a member of the Board of Directors. The Board is made up of energetic volunteers that are passionate about the development of future women leaders in our industry. I have enjoyed the friendships we’ve made and seeing the results of our hard work in planning successful events, and receiving feedback on how the WICT Network has made a lasting impression on its members.

Advice for member engagement:

Check out the events calendar on the WICT Network Midwest website, join the LinkedIn group, and set a monthly reminder to check the global organization website,, for advice and opportunities available to the full membership community.

The WICT Network: Midwest is thrilled to welcome new and returning board members for the new term starting in 2023. These women are successful leaders within their current organizations and we look forward to them sharing their talents with The WICT Network.

Amber Schwiesow
Amber Schwiesow

Board Position: President

Title: VP of Procurement & Supply Chain at Midco

Amber previously served on the board as the Tech it Out Chair.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“I was on the board for two pandemic years. It was a really weird time. We had to figure out how to do everything virtually, and while I feel like we did the best we could, connection was hard and so was impact. When thinking about what excites me about this term on the board, I have three words that are resonating with me: Connection, Action and Impact. I am excited to connect with global and chapter leaders, I am excited to put plans in place and take action with the team and I am excited to be on a board that can create impact for the women in our industry.”

Kate Moore
Kate Moore

Board Position: Director of Board Operations

Title: Senior Manager, Engineering @ Charter Communications

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“I am most excited about collaborating with other board members and recruiting new members to ensure that WICT continues to offer premiere programs that inspire and support the contributions and strengths of women in our industry.”

Chasity Shahi
Chasity Shahi

Board Position: Director of Membership

Title: Sr. Mgr Enterprise Operations Support – Process Engineering at Charter Communications

Chasity is currently service on the board as Communications Chair and will be changing to the position of Director of Membership in 2023.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“I’m most excited about spreading the word about all the great programming and events that The WICT Network Midwest offers to encourage and excite new members to join, and existing members to renew. The membership growth can be accomplished with a close partnership with the Programming, and MarComs teams.”

Kristina Gustafson
Kristina Gustafson

Board Position: Director of Programming

Title: Sr Director of Portfolio Management for Agent Tools at Charter Communications

Kristina is currently service on the board as Director of Membership and will be changing to the position of Director of Programming in 2023.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“In the upcoming term on the board, I’m most excited about reenergizing the membership community with fresh and relevant programming and offering some in-person networking opportunities.”

Noelle Tieszen
Noelle Tieszen

Board Position: Programming Chair – North

Title: Senior CX Operations Manager at Midco

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“I am most excited to connect and collaborate with other WICT members and board members.”

Deena Reiniger
Deena Reiniger

Board Position: Programming Chair – South

Title: Network Operations Analyst III at Charter Communications

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“After many webinars, an opportunity to attend the leadership conference a few years ago and now participating in the WICT Midwest PMDS program, I realize WICT has so many great programs.  I believe my involvement on the board will help stretch my leadership skills and give me confidence to take on new challenges.  I have a passion for helping others learn, grow and be successful.  As Programming Chair I am looking forward to building lifelong colleagues and friends in an environment where I can grow, learn and excel. I also look forward to assisting the director in planning 2023 and 2024 events.”

Victoria Bizzotto

Board Position: Communications Chair

Title: Senior Manager, Human Resources at Comcast

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“Uniting with a group of inspiring women to combine our superpowers and make waves in the telecom industry!”

Anna Jankord
Anna Jankord

Board Position: Social Media Chair

Title: Operations Training Program Manager – Business at Midco

Anna is returning to her role as Social Media Chair.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming term on the board?

“We gained a lot of momentum and rallied excitement about The WICT Network: Midwest on social media this year – new social initiatives, innovative promotions, and live posting from our signature events. I am most excited to continue to grow our social presence in these ways and more, especially with the talented Marketing and Communications Team as well as our new Board members.”

Lisa Rahja
Lisa Rahja

Board Position: Outreach Chair

Title: Training Coordinator at Midco

Lisa is returning to her role as Outreach Chair.

Debra Malick
Debra Malick

Board Position: Spirit of the Midwest Awards Chair

Title: National Account Manager at Diversant

Debra is currently serving on the board as an Ambassador and will be changing to the position of Spirit of the Midwest Awards chair in 2023.

Sydney SmithName: Sydney Smith
Title: Market Intelligence Manager
Company: Charter Communications
Role with The WICT Network: Midwest: Vice President

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

The WICT Network and more specifically the Midwest Chapter has given me the opportunity to hone in on my leadership skills and really develop my voice as a leader. I am currently the Vice President of our chapter which means I have also had the opportunity to network with a variety of women and men at various levels of experience and title within the cable and telecommunications industry. This would not have been possible if I did not join The WICT Network.

Advice for member engagement:

What you put into your membership is what you will get out of it. If you have a talent or a passion you are looking to display, there are always opportunities within our membership and Board to exemplify those talents and passions.

Noelle TieszenName: Noelle Tieszen
Title: Senior CX Operations Manager
Company: Midco
Role with The WICT Network Midwest: Member, PMDS participant

What is your professional passion?

If you’re familiar with the Myer-Briggs 16 Personality Types, I’m an INFJ through and through! I am passionate about people— their backgrounds, their stories, their motivations, their goals, their needs. Digging in to help people understand their what, their why and their how— that’s my jam!

What do you value most about your membership in The WICT Network?

Through my membership with The WICT Network, I value the connections I’ve made with other Midco women— especially the ones I don’t regularly work with.

What have you gained from the experiences and/or relationships within The WICT Network?

Since joining The WICT Network a few years ago, I have attended several events like Tech It Out and Spirit of the Midwest. I also participated in the Premier Management Development Series in St. Louis. Each experience has allowed me to learn more about leadership and the media, entertainment and technology industries while also networking with inspiring women leaders.

Edo BranchName: 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


St. Louis In-Person

Sioux Falls In-Person


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

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.”