2020 Leadership Conference Agenda

We are pleased to share the program for the 2020 WICT Leadership Conference.

The virtual WICT Leadership Conference may be over, but you can still access ALL of its stellar lineup. Learn from dozens of leading experts, key industry executives, premier academics, authors and thought leaders who came together for the historic virtual event. Best of all, the entire program was recorded to ensure you can experience every single moment through on demand playback.

Access Now

Registrants for the live conference can access the full recorded program by logging into the event portal here, using their username and password from the event.

Monday, October 5

Time Event
9:00 – 11:00 am ET
LIVE: One-on-One Executive Coaching

Advance sign-up required

Meet the coaches here

A Leadership Conference crowd favorite, WICT’s one-on-one coaching sessions offer customized guidance on your area of interest with a professional executive coach. Based on participant feedback, we have expanded the length of each session from 25 to 45 minutes, allowing you more time to explore with your coach any leadership or management issues relevant to your career. Time slots will be available at various points across both days of the conference, enabling more choices and flexibility. The number of appointments is limited, however, and we expect the sessions to sell-out. Don’t miss your chance to sign up for one of these exclusive sessions.

Sponsored by: Precision Optical Transceivers

11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET
Opening Entertainment – Amanda Gorman, U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate and Activist

Sponsored by: Afiniti


  • Maria E. Brennan, CAE, President & CEO, WICT
  • Sandra Howe, WICT Global Chair, EVP & President, Americas, Technetix, Inc
  • Karen Buchholz, Chief Diversity Officer & EVP, Administration, Comcast
  • Sheinelle Jones, Co-Host, 3rd House of TODAY
  • Ebonne L. Ruffins, VP, Local Media Development, Comcast

Join us as we kick-off the WICT Leadership Conference and all of the Diversity Week activities!
This dynamic opening session will set the tone for the next two days, as we collectively explore The Power of Resilience.

We are thrilled to welcome Sheinelle Jones as she takes center stage for an intimate fireside chat with Ebonne Ruffins. Be inspired by Sheinelle’s stories of her life and career journey that speak to her own resilience.

Sponsored by: Comcast NBCUniversal

12:05 – 12:50 pm ET
Keynote Session – Acting with Power, Purpose and Resilience

Presented by Stanford Graduate School of Business

In most realms, men still hold greater power than women. Yet research shows women wield power more responsibly than men. As fear and uncertainty rise in society and in our workplaces, now more than ever, so does the need for responsible leaders who are not afraid to claim and use power. In this session, Stanford Professor Deborah Gruenfeld, author of the new book Acting with Power: Why We Are More Powerful Than We Believe, addresses how what we need from our leaders is changing, and how women leaders, in particular, can rise to the occasion, by learning to wield power without fear.

  • Deborah Gruenfeld, Ph.D., Joseph McDonald Professor, Professor of Organizational Behavior and Co-Director, Executive Program in Women’s Leadership, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Sponsored by: WarnerMedia

    12:50 – 1:10 pm ET
    WICT Recognizes the PAR Top Companies

    We are pleased to recognize companies that embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion as a business imperative. Welcome to the redesigned Signature Luncheon, brought to you as a video celebration. The virtual program showcases the exemplary work of the PAR Top Companies for Women to Work. Simply click the link below, and join us as we salute all the PAR Top Companies in honor of their efforts to build a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Let the celebration begin!

    1:10 – 1:25 pm ET FAST BREAK
    1:25 – 2:25 pm ET CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    track1 Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life

    There’s a rebel in each of us. We live in turbulent times and the world seems more divided than ever. In this competitive environment, cultivating rebel talent is what allows businesses to evolve and prosper. And rebellion has an added benefit beyond the workplace: it leads to a more vital, engaged and fulfilling life. Sharing insights from her research on why, when and how to break the rules, Dr. Francesca Gino will provide the tools to take a different look at how you approach work and life.

  • Francesca Gino, Ph.D., Author & Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Chair, Negotiation, Organizations and Markets (NOM) Unit
  • Sponsored by: Cable One

    track2 Managing Up: Proven Strategies to Manage Management

    Whether we like it or not, our bosses have enormous influence over our ability to succeed, thrive and advance in our organizations, our careers and ultimately, our leadership journey. Managing up helps you build relationships that foster more communication and understanding between people with varying levels of power, skills and perspectives. This lively and interactive presentation provides proven strategies and techniques to increase cooperation and collaboration with everyone on your team, regardless of position. Learning to effectively manage up is good for you, your boss and your organization.

    • Mary Abbajay, Author, Managing Up and President, Careerstone Group, LLC
    track1 Staying Financially Fit Through a Downturn

    This unprecedented period has found us all reacting at record speeds to protect our people and our companies while continuing to serve our customers. And although the circumstances are extraordinary, for many of us, this is not the first economic downturn we’ve faced. This session will explore the impact on financial reporting and some of the unique considerations the downturn presents. From potential post-election taxes and regulations to new pricing strategies necessitated by changing customer demands, our presenters will highlight the opportunities and challenges leaders should monitor as we adjust to the new normal.

    • Nichole Jordan, Regional Managing Partner, Central Region, Grant Thornton
    • Janet Malzone, Regional Audit Leader-Midwest, Grant Thornton
    2:30 – 3:10 pm ET
    Beyond the Hashtag: Moving from Grassroots to Grand Landscapes

    As we attempt to heal the deep wounds affecting our society, businesses have a moral obligation to hold themselves accountable and evaluate how they contribute to the tangled web of systemic racism. Our industry is one that wields great economic power, and we have tremendous social influence as content creators and conduits of information for billions around the world. Almost every major business has made a public commitment to diversity and inclusion following the recent social justice movement; however, we need to move past statements and spring into action if we are going to make real and measurable progress.

    • Lori Hall, Co-Founder & Head of Creative, Pop’N Creative
    • Michael K. Powell, President & CEO, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association

    Sponsored by: AMC Networks

    About WICT’s #BeyondTheHashtag Series
    This series was established at the WICT Leadership Conference in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which ignited a global campaign about the obstacles women encounter routinely in their professional lives. WICT’s #BeyondTheHashtag Series seeks to present real-world solutions by moving workplaces from dialog to action in an effort to build inclusive and equitable workplace cultures that end bias, bigotry and prejudice.

    3:15 – 4:15 pm ET
    Navigating Chaos in a COVID World

    Unprecedented times call for unprecedented leadership. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has experienced civil, economic and political upheaval like nothing in recent history. However, even in the midst of turmoil, strong leaders find creative ways to pivot and support their organizations and teams in spite of it—while continuing to work toward their own professional goals. Listen in on this frank panel discussion and learn practical tools, ideas and lessons to guide you through the still evolving COVID crisis, and ensure you are prepared for the next big challenge that comes our way. Come prepared with your burning questions for our experts.

    • Kathleen Finch, Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer, Discovery, Inc.
    • Joseph Fuller, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School (moderator)
    • Soraya Loerts, VP, Product Quality, Liberty Global, Inc.
    • Michelle Rice, General Manager, TV One

    Sponsored by: Google Cloud

    4:20 – 5:20 pm ET
    Profiles of Champions Panel: Becoming a Corporate Athlete

    Athletes possess specific traits developed over years of competitive sports that translate well into a corporate culture. From perseverance and discipline to teamwork and reliance, these attributes are what make or break winners during their career. Among the highest-rated conference sessions, this encore panel presentation explores the intersectionality between high-performing athletes and high-performing executives. Learn invaluable strategies from these top players as they share their personal stories of trials and triumphs, empowering you to create your own corporate playbook.

    • Laura Gentile, SVP, Marketing, ESPN (Moderator)
    • Amanda McGrory, Digital Archivist, Paralympian & Team USA Athlete
    • Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Medalist, World Champion Skater & Founder, Always Dream Foundation

    Sponsored by: Accenture Consulting

    5:30 – 6:30 pm ET
    Fun with Fitness – Pilates

    De-stress while you work on strengthening and lengthening your whole body during a Mat Pilates fitness class exclusively for WICT Leadership Conference attendees – open to all levels, from beginner to advanced.

    5:30 – 6:30 pm ET
    LIVE: Virtual Networking Roundtables: Time to Unwind and Exhale

    Advance sign-up required

    BYOB (or not) and connect with leaders across the industry as you engage in a targeted discussion on a topic relevant to you. Space is limited and seats are expected to fill quickly, so register early.

    Sponsored by: A+E Networks

    Tuesday, October 6

    Time Event
    9:00 – 10:00 am ET
    Fun with Fitness – Yoga

    Create harmony within your body and mind during a yoga class exclusively for WICT Leadership Conference attendees – open to all levels, from beginner to advanced.

    9:00 – 11:00 am ET
    LIVE: One-on-One Executive Coaching

    Advance sign-up required

    Sponsored by: Precision Optical Transceivers

    10:00 – 10:55 am ET CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    track1 Preparing for Tomorrow’s Jobs Today, The Futurist’s Perspective

    There is little doubt that our workplaces are currently undergoing extraordinary transformation, expedited by the pandemic. These changes may be undermining our sense of identity and challenging our ability to adapt. Where so many see change as threatening, futurists Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley see it as an opportunity to open the flood gates of human potential and shift the way we think about work and leadership. Join us for this candid discussion about adaptation, and learn ways to detach your sense of pride and personal identity from a job title, and connect to your sense of purpose. You will return to work with tools that will positively impact your career for years to come.

    • Heather McGowan, Future-of-work Strategist and Author, The Adaptation Advantage
    • Chris Shipley, Author, The Adaptation Advantage
    track2 Creating an Exceptional and Dynamic Culture

    There can be a disconnect between a leader’s perception of an organization’s culture and that of rank-and-file employees’ perceptions. These disconnects can create miscommunication, sometimes resulting in reduced trust and confidence in leadership. Creating a people-centered culture has a positive impact on an organization’s effectiveness and bottom line, however, changing mindsets and behaviors doesn’t happen all at once. Culture transformation takes time and commitment from all levels of the organization. Join us for this session and learn how to involve your entire team in creating a dynamic culture that will benefit your company in the long term.

    • Nicole Turner, Founder/Principal, Nicole L. Turner Consulting

    Sponsored by: Red Hat

    track3 Increasing Your Impact and Influence in the Virtual World

    Our current environment requires us to find ways to stay relevant as the industry and the world around us undergo dramatic changes. Experience a seismic shift in the way you think about yourself and your ability to lead during this energizing and insightful Plan to be Amazing!TM call-to-action for leaders at all levels. You will learn to ensure your voice is heard and your impact is felt in our virtual world, while you expand your understanding of what truly constitutes amazing leadership in the eyes of others. Presenter Carol Isozaki will help you develop a plan to bring your best, most authentic self to the table, especially when outside your comfort zone. You will return to the workplace rooted in enhanced intentionality, leadership clarity, and personal accountability.

    • Carol Isozaki, Founder & President, Strategic Brand Intelligence

    Sponsored by: Crown Media

    11:00 – 11:55 am ET

    Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance

    Grit – a unique combination of passion and long-term resolve – is the hallmark of high achievers in every domain, according to Angela Duckworth, best-selling author of Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance. Duckworth’s book serves as a roadmap to understanding and building resilience in tough times. We invite you to join us for this personal, insightful and transformative conversation about what happens psychologically when an individual falters, and how perseverance — especially when faced with challenging conditions — determines one’s level of success.

    • Angela Duckworth, Author of “Grit”; Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania and Founder & CEO, Character Lab
    • Michelle Ray, Executive Director, Walter Kaitz Foundation (Moderator)
    12:00 – 1:00 pm ET
    (Re)Creating Successful Employee Resource Groups

    A Joint Session with NAMIC

    Once considered simply social networks to support underrepresented groups, ERGs are now recognized as drivers of greater workplace inclusion. Successful ERGs are a living, breathing example of how diversity drives business results. Attend this panel discussion of industry leaders and HR experts to learn best practices on building or fortifying your company’s ERG.

    • Jennifer Caserta, Chief Transformation and People Officer, AMC Networks
    • Joiava Philpott, VP, Regulatory Affairs, Cox Communications (moderator)
    • Lee Schroeder, EVP, Government & Community Affairs & Chief Diversity Officer, Altice USA
    • Mini Timmaraju, Executive Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Comcast
    1:00 – 2:00 pm ET
    LIVE: One-on-One Executive Coaching

    Advance sign-up required

    Sponsored by: Precision Optical Transceivers

    1:00 – 2:00 pm ET Break for NAMIC’s L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Session: The Value of Mentoring

    Free to WLC attendees
    This noteworthy conversation between Christy Haubegger and Ed Lewis will explore key aspects of successful mentoring, and its ability to build leaders, launch dream careers and create legacies. You don’t want to miss this conversation!

    • James Anderson, SVP, Enterprise Inclusion, Marketing and Communications, WarnerMedia (moderator)
    • Christy Haubegger, EVP, Chief Enterprise Inclusion Officer, WarnerMedia
    • Ed Lewis, Co-Founder, CEO and Publisher, Essence Communications, Inc.
    2:10 – 3:10 pm ET CONCURRENT SESSIONS
    track1 Trendspotting: Embracing Emerging Technologies

    While we can’t predict the future, we can envision what’s possible, thanks to the latest technology. Join this panel discussion of senior-level industry leaders as they dive into the tech trends on the horizon. Learn how these trends will drive significant change and transform our ever-evolving business.

    • Noopur Davis, EVP, Chief Product and Information Security Officer, Comcast
    • Orlando Hampton, General Manager, USA, Afiniti
    • Stephanie Mitchko-Beale, CTO & EVP, Charter Communications

    Sponsored by: AWS

    track2 The Activation of Courage in Leaders: What the Science Says

    What causes fear? What does it mean to act with courage? This session will address those questions and more as we explore the neuro-behavior of fear and bravery. You will come away from this fascinating session armed with tools and techniques that you can utilize to stay in control and lead with courage in the face of fear.

    • Dr. Arin Reeves, President & Managing Director, Nextions LLC

    Sponsored by: TV One

    track3 Financial Acumen for the Non-Accountants

    Understanding financial statements and cash flow charts are vital skills for anyone who intends to move upward in leadership. Successful executives understand and use financial data to help inform sound decision making and tap into their fiscal acumen routinely to succeed. This session will give you a primer on understanding financial reporting basics, like reading income statements and cash flow reports, helping you to gain confidence in understanding how financial data and non-financial metrics interact. Learn to forecast events and determine the best financial strategy to position your organization for financial stability and growth.

    • Thomas Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Practice of Finance, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
    3:25 – 4:15 pm ET
    Pearls of Wisdom: Defining Moments

    This annual capstone session takes a page from the famed TED Talks, bringing together influential thought leaders to impart their wisdom in several mini-keynotes. Speakers will share their inspiring and powerful journeys and seminal moments, which will leave you energized and empowered to take what you’ve learned and turn it into an action plan.

    • Jane Latman, President, HGTV
    • Randy Ross, bestselling author, CEO of Remarkable, and former Chief People Officer
    • Saleema Vellani, Founder & CEO, Ripple Impact
    • Eboni K. Williams, Host & Executive Producer, REVOLT Black News
    • Tiffany Yu, CEO & Founder, Diversability; Founder, Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter

    Sponsored by: Charter Communications

    5:00 – 6:00 pm ET
    LIVE: One-on-One Executive Coaching

    Advance sign-up required

    Sponsored by: Precision Optical Transceivers

    WICT gratefully acknowledges the sponsors of the
    2020 Leadership Conference