​​​​​​For over 35 years, WICT has worked diligently to help advance women in the cable industry. One of the ways we do this is by shining a spotlight on some of cable’s most influential women.


WICT’s highest honor is the Woman of the Year Award. This honor is bestowed on a woman who has made increasingly significant contributions throughout her career to her company and the cable industry. She embodies WICT’s Touchstones of Leadership, and is at the top of her game. She also shows great resolve to help others along their career path.


The esteemed Woman to Watch Award is bestowed on two women who show tremendous promise for transforming the industry through their professional accomplishments. These women have already demonstrated exemplary leadership skills, as well as a strong dedication to the industry and their organizations.


This year’s honorees will be celebrated at the 2015 WICT Touchstones Luncheon held during the WICT Leadership Conference, September 28-29, at the New York Marriott Marquis, during Diversity Week.




2015 Woman of the Year


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Ellen East
Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer
Time Warner Cable


Ellen East is Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Time Warner Cable, where she provides strategic counsel on companywide public relations, corporate communications and industry affairs. East oversees a nationwide staff responsible for media relations, issues management, product communication, financial and public policy communication, employee and leadership communication, community relations and corporate social responsibility. East joined Time Warner Cable in October 2007 from Cox Communications.


East is a member of the boards of the Families and Work Institute, the Arthur Page Society, The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences. She also serves on the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Public Affairs committee, which she formerly chaired. Previously, she was a member of the boards of the T. Howard Foundation and the Association for Cable Communicators, where she served as chair. She served on the national board of directors for WICT for 10 years, including two years as chair. East was a member of the 2001 class of WICT's Betsy Magness Leadership Institute, and subsequently served as chair of that program.


In 2013, East was inducted into the PR News Hall of Fame. She has been the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the 2002 Vanguard Award for Young Leadership and the 2013 Vanguard Award for Community and Government Relations, bestowed by the National Cable Telecommunications Association. She has been honored as a "Woman to Watch" by WICT and a "Wonder Woman" by Multichannel News, and is listed each year among the most powerful women in cable by Cablefax: The Magazine.


2015 Woman to Watch - Programmer


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Bernadette Aulestia
Executive Vice President of Global Distribution Operations


Bernadette Aulestia is Executive Vice President of Global Distribution Operations for HBO. She oversees all distribution operations of the company's services and platforms worldwide. Internationally, she is responsible for the operations of HBO branded networks in 67 countries. Domestically, she leads distribution efforts for HBO and Cinemax through cable, satellite and telco companies and in the critical lodging business. Aulestia also heads digital distribution efforts. In addition, she currently oversees HBO's affiliate marketing group, which is responsible for the acquisition and retention of subscribers across all distribution partners. Aulestia joined HBO in 1997, having previously worked at Univision and Turner Broadcasting.


Aulestia currently serves on the board of the T. Howard Foundation. She also sits on the Brown University president appointed Women's Leadership Council who, through leadership, philanthropy and volunteerism mentor and develop the next generation of women leaders. Aulestia was previously recognized as a "40 Under 40" by Multichannel News and as a "NAMIC Luminary" by the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications.




2015 Woman to Watch - Operator

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Rachel Welch
Group Vice President of Government Relations, Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable


Rachel Welch is a Group Vice President in Time Warner Cable's Government Relations department.  In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing Time Warner Cable's policy strategy before Congress and the Administration on a wide range of communications issues affecting the company. Welch began her career in the communications industry over 20 years ago. Prior to joining Time Warner Cable, she was Vice President, Global Public Policy at Time Warner Inc., where she was responsible for legislative affairs and worked closely with Time Warner's business units, including HBO, Time Warner Cable and Turner Broadcasting.


Welch is an active member of WICT and has been awarded the WICT Touchstones of Leadership Communicator Award by the Baltimore/Washington, DC Chapter. She also serves as a board member of Global WIN (Women's Innovation Network). Welch was a member of class 24 of WICT's Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.