Experience the WICT influence!
My happy place is introducing great people to other great people. I thrive on relationships and making personal connections. As a 17-year professional in the staffing and consulting industry, I consider myself lucky to have found my niche in life.
I stumbled upon Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) in expected fashion, albeit with a less-than-noble goal. As a vendor servicing the cable and telecommunications industry, I realized potential clients were active in WICT. Networking + Connections = Business No brainer, right? While my short-sighted sales goals were reason enough to join, the true worth of this organization is infinitely more valuable.
WICT allows you to Choose Your Own Adventure. Attend targeted networking events. Join an interesting programming series. Want more? Volunteer for a committee, attend Global Leadership Conference or run for a Board seat. There’s a place for all interest and commitment levels.
My personal adventure started 2 short years ago with a membership and snowballed from there! I am proud to say I am active in 3 Chapters, holding a Board of Directors spot in the Midwest. I’m attending our exclusive Premier Management Development Series throughout 2020 and can’t wait to see what I’ll learn. The relationships I’ve made across the nation have helped me professionally, but most importantly, I’m becoming a better leader with each event I attend.
I highly suspect 5 years from now, I’ll be able to pinpoint joining WICT as a defining moment in my career journey. Come join me and the other amazing members of WICT and see the impact it makes in YOUR career.
Debra is a 17-year professional within the consulting and staffing industry. As National Account Manager for Diversant, she supports clients in their talent acquisition needs. Diversant is a diversity-owned professional services firm providing IT contingent labor and consulting services. Diversant believes that diversity in all its forms leads to greater opportunities for consultants and partners, and to more innovative solutions for clients.
Debra joined WICT in 2018 with memberships in the Midwest, Rockies, and Carolinas Chapters. She quickly leaned into the program by volunteering for the Midwest Tech It Out and Communication Committees as well as the Carolinas Chapter Ruby Circle Committee. Debra was elected to the Board of Directors for the 2020-21 term as the Midwest Ambassador. She is excited to begin the 2020 Premier Management Development Series and can’t wait to gain even more connections and insights through her relationship with WICT.
Finally, Debra is a passionate supporter of Make a Wish, serving as a Wish Ambassador. This position allows her to meet children who are impacted with life-threatening illnesses, working to making their One True Wish come alive.
When I joined WICT in 2017, I knew nothing about WICT, but was immediately intrigued as it was “Women In Cable Telecommunications”. I have belonged to several groups in various industries throughout my career, but this was the first group actively engaging and focusing on Women in the industry. I had no idea what an amazing opportunity this would turn out to be.
In 2017, I was new to the telecom industry, new to Charter Communications, and new to WICT. The women in the WICT organization were welcoming, engaging, and encouraging. The members of WICT truly care about each other, and are strong advocates for not only women, but also diversity and inclusion.
In 2018 I attended the Premier Management Development Series, and it was one of the best experiences for leadership development I have attended. It was not the “cookie cutter” training focused on coaching and how to communicate with employees, this was more focused on you as a leader. How are you perceived by your employees, peers, and management? What is your current approach to various situations in your personal and professional life? Do you know what your brand is? Over the years I have struggled with personal brand, but one of the PMDS leaders, Hilary, said the easiest way to think of your brand is “what do people say about you when you leave the room?” This really stuck with me as well as thinking about every first impression you make – not just the initial time you meet someone, but every time you walk into a meeting – are you frazzled, late, disorganized? Those rushed entrances also affect your brand. This program was extremely beneficial and I have recommended attending to everyone who will listen.
The following year I was able to attend the WICT Rising Leaders Program. Everything I learned in the PMDS program was just the tip of the iceberg. The Rising Leaders Program is a program that can transform both your personal life and your professional life. It was challenging at times, looking inward at our biases, having to be open and realistic in every situation we approach. It provided the tools and direction to truly drive change in your life, and to think strategically about your future and where you want to go. I met so many amazing women from across the country in various telecommunication roles from multiple organizations and levels within the organizations. These networking opportunities alone are worth joining WICT – you will have support, encouragement, and hundreds of women all rooting for you as you proceed through this journey of life.
I am now a board member for the WICT Midwest Chapter, and am so lucky and grateful for the opportunity to give back even a fraction of what WICT has given me. With WICT in your corner, your opportunities are endless for growth as you move forward in your career.
Karen Zumwalt currently serves as Senior Manager of Network Engineering for Charter Communications. Karen manages a development team supporting and maintaining a PostGresSQL environment to build and support the data sources and views used by the Network Operations analysts.
Karen is a data-evangelist – sharing the importance of accurate, actionable data to drive organizational decision making, and by mastering organized chaos she strengthens teams to produce exceptional results.
With over 30 years of diversified management experience in supply chain, purchasing, demand planning, supply planning, production scheduling, and data analytics/reporting, Karen brings a variety of assets to the table to support her team and her customers. Prior to joining Charter, Karen spent 5 years in healthcare analytics for BJC Healthcare, and over 12 years with Kimberly-Clark Professional.
Karen has a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification from Southwest Missouri State University, and holds the following certifications through APICS: Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). Karen has an Associate’s degree in Accounting, a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management, and will begin a Master’s degree in Data Analytics in July 2020 through Western Governors University.
Karen is a member of SCTE (Society of Telecommunications Engineers) and NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications).
Karen joined WICT in 2017, and has taken full advantage of the offerings provided by the organization. Karen attended the PMDS (Premier Management Development Series) through the WICT Midwest Chapter in 2018, and was recognized during the program graduation as the quickest to implement the learnings from the program. In 2019, Karen was selected to attend the WICT Rising Leaders Program, and would recommend this life and career changing program to anyone seeking to grow on a professional and personal level.
Karen currently serves on the WICT Midwest Chapter Board of Directors in the role of IT Webmaster.